The creative process which I encountered when meeting the challenge of uploading a  WebQuest to the internet was quite interesting at the very least. I have to admit that at the beginning, I kind of panicked with the idea of failing in being able to design a fairly good looking website with a luring task. My previous ideas about web design date from the times of ascci code and computer programmers. Of course I do not deny the current relevance of their work in professional web conception, but I do thank the lord for the whole web 2.0 new wave, which allows the average Joe who does not absolutely need to run a superb site, to still be able to collaborate with ideas on the internet.

I chose to write a bit about this topic in this post, because even when it does not appear to be the most original one, I intend to keep this blog active for my own personal follow-up, and I believe it is important to make a reflection about the evolution of my perception of the integration of applications and emerging technologies in the ESL classroom.

It is funny how the topic of travelling comes to my mind right away when I hear the word task. I believe that not only travelling broadens our minds as they say, but it also wakes up our senses. Problem-solving is critical as we travel and we face unknown situations in a foreign environment, where we are away from our routines and our comfort zones. We come across people who see life with a different pair of glasses, and we need to adapt our expectations and tolerate a certain degree of uncertainty. I can go on talking about the excitements of making a trip, but I believe the choice of my theme is fairly justified by now. If I wanted to keep my task manageable both for myself and my imaginary students, my first plan which consisted of making a full one-week itinerary in New York City from scratch, had to be adapted to a shorter one-day final set of activities. Even when the choice between Central Park, Times Square and The MoMA may seem non-sense if you consider that this is the type of places which an average tourist might visit on the first day in New York rather than the last one, the travelling background of these students is not necessarily specified and we may believe that this is not their first time in New York, or that they did a bunch of other things during  their previous days in the city. Once my general set up had been decided, I chose Weebly and started the research part. This is where it got fun, as while creating a worksheet and writing the process, I spent a considerable amount of time discovering New York myself, browsing through the attractions, learning about abstract artists, watching a number of trailers of independent films, reading travellers’ reviews, considering to include the Museum of Natural History, checking pictures, writing a few words to my facebook (and actually real) friend who lives in Brooklyn, remembering the times when I used to ride a bycicle in a big city, listening to Led Zeppelin (!), making my own restaurant itinerary, thinking about Polish immigrants, and so forth. This could be understood as procrastinating, but it could also be argued that I started making hyperlinks due to my level of involvement in the task. This is exactly the type of emotions which I would like to awaken in my students: an involving assignment which might evoke real feelings, real thoughts, memories, real desire to actually travel abroad and visit such a famous museum, hang around in Central Park, and have fun in Times Square. An activity which may provide them with knowledge not only to develop argumentative competencies in an English classroom environment, but which they can actually use in their lives.

The WebQuest organization related to Bernie Dodge provided me with inspiration in the design process, and it is amazing to realize how there are many teachers using them all over successfully, and how there are even metawebquests around. In general their use is very flexible and it can be adapted to different learning needs easily. In the end, I am not happy because of the quality of my quest, which I expect to improve with further practice and experience. I am happy because I did not know this, nor another bunch of applications existed, that I could manipulate them, and that they seem to work just fine.