Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

Excellent (& Accessible) Webquests


Kelli Sandman-Hurley worked with the San Diego Public Library to develop some webquests (though I have to admit that I’m probably not entirely clear on the differences between a webquest and an Internet “scavenger hunt”) that I think are the most “English Language Learner accessible” ones I’ve ever seen.

(Note: Please take a look at the comments section of this post, where Bernie Dodge, who has done more than anybody to develop and popularize Webquests,  clarifies their definition.  Whatever you call it, though, this exercise is an excellent one for English Language Learners.)

They’re still refining it, but it’s certainly usable now. They have separate ones on workplace literacy, health literacy, and family literacy.

I’ll certainly have my students trying out the one on workplace literacy during our summer-school economics class.

There’s one slightly tricky thing to remember, though, when you’re using it. The way it’s set-up now students will need to keep two “windows” open and visible on their screen during parts of the activity. There are instructions for what to do on sites linked to the webquest, but sometimes they’re too lengthy for students to just remember. But it will be easy enough to show students how to set-up their window configuration so they can read the instructions on the webquest site at the same time they are interacting with another one.

Kelli’s also developing a teacher manual to go along with the Webquest. You can find contact information on the Webquest site.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. The site has the capability to have the entire screen read to them. If you click on the real media button on the upper right hand side it will begin to read. This is to make it more accessible to the lowest level learners. Also, I want to give some credit to the web designer, Max Ferman, at

  2. These are highly accessible, excellent web-based exercises but they are not WebQuests. Not even close.

    A critical attribute of a WebQuest is that it engages higher level thinking, the upper part of Bloom’s taxonomy. Things like creativity, analysis, synthesis. judgment. These exercises have none of that.

    A WebQuest is also wrapped around a single challenging task, not a sequence of separate activities like these “WebQuests”.

    Here are a few examples:

    A WebQuest isn’t a scavenger hunt and it isn’t a worksheet with links. It’s not hard to learn what a WebQuest actually is. Googling the word will take you directly to where you’ll find resources and lots of examples.

    Sorry to be so picky, but if we use the word “WebQuest” to include everything, it loses all meaning.

  3. As the creator of WebQuests, I respect Bernie’s opinion and even asked for his opinion about a year ago. Are there any suggestions about what this actually is? I would not call it a scavenger hunt because I am not asking them to look for things.
    My intent was to have low literate adults with very limited computer skills and very limitied literacy learn to use the computer while learning content. The number of websites accessible to them is almost zero. So, my intent was not to misrepresent what a WebQuest is, but to provide a way for them to become familiar with the internet. I am open to suggestions about how to make this a true WebQuest.

    I would like to add that the users are asked to anlyze the sites they visit and make judgments about those websites.

    I hope this website can still be immensely useful to adult learners and their tutors/teaachers regardless of what it is named.

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