Tuesday, March 25, 2008

921-Session 9--Wikis---The Ultimate Collaborative Tool

This session will find us broadening the scope of our view of wikis. We will begin by taking a look at the benefits of wikis, and other Web 2.0 tools, for students, teachers, and the entire educational community. We'll view some screencasts and videos that give us students' perspectives, as well as hear from teachers from across the K-12 spectrum. All will be focused upon how Web 2.0 tools have changed the way they teach and learn. And lastly, we'll end by discussing the fluid definition of the word, "literacy" and try to pin it down in a 21st century classroom---a classroom where the walls have come down and the world is flat. After reading your comments, it has become clear that there are lots of different interpretations out there.

Good luck and I look forward to reading your comments, insights, and reflections.


Anonymous said...

Questions and Comments:

I thought that Kathy Cassidy’s video on technology in the classroom was especially helpful. She’s incorporating everything we’ve (at least I’ve) been struggling with this semester: fun and meaningful blogging – she even has the kids blogging with other kids in New Zealand – ; flicker to post pictures (why doesn’t she just post pixs using Blogmeister? ) kidpixs: a tool for kids to create their own pictures; podcasting using Audacity (she doesn’t mention which “host” she uses – you can’t directly post an mp3 file to Blogmeister, right? You need to put “somewhere” on the Internet first? I've been trying to do my own podcast and have run into some problems. I'll post my experience on the Podcasting session later) She also incorporates Bubbleshare where she can put pictures of kids in a kind of slide show fashion (aren’t most districts concerned about posting kids faces all over the Internet? She must have gotten parents’ permission?) She also discusses using a Wiki to write cooperative stories and is currently experimenting with a “dinosaur” wiki.
I quickly looked at her blog where you can actually see all these in action. Wow!!! She makes it look easy. What did you (anyone) think?

Mary O'Neill

Donna McMullin said...

Kathy Cassidy's blog is so cool, and her use of web 2.0 applications outstanding. I wondered if all the teachers in her school so good with technology or if Kathy was just the exception? So … I explored her school website and was surprised to see only two other bloggers – the VP ( I think he made his for a course on blogging!) and the 4th grade teacher.

Most of the teachers at Westmount Elementary have only very basic homepages. However, students in the district have their own email accounts and can access them from the school website. I'm in a middle school and students cannot check any email while in school. I wonder who the tech supporter is in the district since I could find no computer teacher or technology person in any capacity listed on the school homepage.

Things are different in Moose Jaw, SK than they are in suburban New Jersey. We can't even post student work without a parental copyright release.

Mrs. Cassidy’s blog is definitely a Web 2.0 “best practice” especially compared to some of the other blogs I’ve seen.

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,

I just found this online community for people interested in Library 2.0: http://library20.ning.com/

Does anyone know anything about this?


Dave Fontaine said...

Hi Mary,

I am aware of that Ning social networking group. There is also a new one that you may be interested in:

They are like myspace for adults and professionals. One of the major distinctions is that you voluntarily join the social network and don't become part of the entire community like myspace.


Donna McMullin said...

Thanks for sharing teacherlibrarian.ning. I find social networking so "digital native" that I just had to join for the experience. "Adding friends" is wild - I only knew one other person so, of course, I invited her to be my friend.

Of course, my page is pretty bare since I really should be doing other things online than that so I logged out.

What exactly is a "ning" Is it like a public blog?

Ms. Dawn Manchester said...

I had the same thoughts that Donna had about how advanced the New Jersey school system that Kathy Cassidy worked in was. The whole time watching her class in action I couldn't help but think "Why is Warwick's Tech Dept. so behind the times? And what a dissappointment for our students." It also reminded me of our first session when we discussed how to appropriately expose students to the internet and all that comes with it, without shutting them off from it instead teaching them what to do with the material inwhich they come across. I have really enjoyed using my blog to comunicate with my parents and students, however it is also disappointing that I can not allow my students to interact with it, post work on it, or truly use it in the manner it could be utilized. It is time for a change and I am hoping it is coming sooner than later!


D. Cunha said...

I am also doing a lot of thinking about how to get our students actually on the web. When I was thinking about our deliverables 3&4 written to the administration, I needed to start with presenting the ideas of how literacy is changing and what that means for our students, and how powerful the web can be as a tool. (I thought the video on that subject was very well done.) I could present my ideas I have for my students, blogging, podcasting etc. but at this time it will be in a very restricted format with limited possibilities to be viewed by "outsiders." The administration wants to keep the students' work on our server. I will work with the IT person to put together a more comprehensive program to teach internet safety and use, that the administration can feel comforatable with. There is so much fear...

teklove33 said...

Kathy's video was very interesting and her wiki pages are wonderful. I agree with Dawn- it makes me wonder why so many districts are so far behind..... but..(and maybe I'm opening a big can of worms here) maybe they're just lost... there's so much out there! I've been teaching technology for 10 years and we've come a long way, but I had no idea how much I was missing...web 2.0..wow. There are so many opportunities but then again...so much policy that has to go along with them. I think districts and tech departments are just trying to keep their heads above water. It's so hard to keep up...hardware, software, training, policy. Add budget cuts on and !wow!.... that's where my district is. Also- for myself-- there's so much to do... I really want to continue my blog but it seems I'm caught up in all the other projects the kids are working on and all the skills I haven't gotten to yet. This is what holds a lot of classrooms teachers back too. Still- seeing Kathy's work- it's definitely inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Session 9 Comments: “Wikis: The Ultimate Tool for Online Collaboration”

This presentation further solidified my growing belief that Blogs and Wikis can be of significant use in teaching and learning. The clips of Sharon Peters’, Mrs. Cassidy’s and others’ classes engaged in using wikis is proof positive. As a high school educator/administrator, I would like to see more examples of older students involved in the use of blogs and wikis.

The very issue of the world as a whole, and educators in particular, redefining literacy is interesting and challenging to us at the same time. This new and growing “post typographic literacy” is certainly the wave. Although the components, as stated in the presentation, of comprehending information, producing a message, and interacting between/among communicators, have not changed, the methodology of doing so has. We need to get in front of this growing movement and use it to better reach our audiences (students, parents, educators, communities, etc.).

We need to use whatever means available to prepare our students to understand and react to complex issues. The new types of text (print, video, animation, and music), when combined with the more traditional teaching methodologies should facilitate this effort. Students today are already into this mode of communication. We need to shape it to help us “teach” these students what they need to know and be able to do to be successful after their formal education days are done.

I am concerned as to how we are going to inform and then train our faculties to be able to take advantage of these new tools to educate students. For the older folks (myself definitely included) this is going to be a struggle. The younger teachers and those who take the opportunity to get involved with the changes of society will have no problem using wikis, blogs or any other Web 2.0 programs. I am concerned about the rest. I am also still concerned about the openness and lack of controls with wikis as stated in my Session 8 comments.

John Lalli

MDavis said...

I think Dave's explanation of the Web 2.0 benefits based on "online collaborative learning projects" explains my motivation for this course and the reason I believe so strongly in incorporating technology in the classroom. I was always impressed by the constructive classroom derived from Lev Vygotsky and followed by our current standards-based education. The understanding by design work by Wiggins and McTighe has really changed the way I prepare and lessons for myself and my co-teachers. The focus is on the goals and strategies of lesson and not on simply the activity or skill being taught. Most of all, the standards are incorporated as an integral part of the plan, not an afterthought or documentation to please administrators. As a
result, I think that when my fellow teachers think of technology, they are not always focusing on the strategy, but more the activity. Yes students will be motivated and receive some direct
instruction, but it's what they construct and derive from the technology that is impressive. The
strategies of problem solving and mathematics that are often encouraged in programmers and
technicians are just as valuable as deriving important information from online texts, discussing
these points with others, and collaborating appropriate to find solutions or making connections
between the material and themselves. I dearly hope that these technologies will be used
appropriately by more teachers because the basic premise of the network will become stronger.
Using the Internet and it's tools effectively is still in its infancy at the educational level,
even when many consumers and businesses consider it to be integral to their livelihood. MOst of all, I know many of our parents would like to be participants in the community of learning, but
often go about it in a less than desirable fashion. These tools could be just one of many opportunities to bridge that relationship, if everyone is willing and comfortable in
participating. I think some aspects of the Fisher video culminates these ideas well and I hope to share it with my administrators for future professional development opportunities in classrooms.
The "access" and "comprehension" parts of the literacy definition make it useful for discussion
points (perhaps on a blog?!) and could be a valuable part of fining a mission statement or set of goals for a technology plan in a school.

carol fishbein said...

I think that Dave's basic tenet for this lesson, that what it means to be a literate person in the 21st century is constantly changing, is eye opening. I remember hearing the words, "the read/write web" at the beginning of the course, and now we have the 'speak and listen web' to add to it.
Both Sharon Peters and Kathy Cassidy are wonderful role models for showing how to integrate these new technologies into the education scene. I kept thinking to myself, "How can these women know so much about so many of these tools that, until a few weeks ago, I had never even heard about?" My assumption is that they just get their hands dirty, by researching what's out there, staying connected with other technology oriented educators (ie thru the K-12 Conferences), and continually trying as many new tools as they can in their own classrooms. I found Kathy's explanations of how to use some of the programs out there, such as KidPix and Bubbleshare to be so casual and simplified, that, for the first time, I not only didn't feel intimidated by the technology, but actually became anxious to try some of the ones she mentioned- (or at least check out the sites and more examples of their use on the web.) I did realize however, after reading my classmate, Mary On'Neill's comments, that I am still at the bottom of the information food chain, as she was able to ask questions about Kathy's procedures and reasoning for using certain programs, that I don't even have the knowledge to be able to ask about....yet!
I liked Sharon Peter's reasoning for introducing her students to the internet projects, such as podcasting and videoblogs, as letting her students have an authentic audience, become 'connected' through personal involvement, take ownership of their own education and become empowered. I can really see how powerful this would be at the upper school level, especially. I thought it was absolutely awesome that her students were sharing book reviews with international students. Talk about getting multiple perspectives!!
What really fascinated me most, however, were the students' comments about their experiences. I liked the words of one of Ms. Peter's class members who noted that being able to communicate all over the world "makes us collectively smarter." What a neat concept! But I think the comments that really hit home most with me were from the boy who talked about the immediacy of the internet being a means to help you connect your subject learning with the way it applies in the real world. He could see that, even if you were studying something as remote as algebra, there are things available to you on the internet to help you understand your purpose in learning it, and thus give the in-class learning more meaning. After all, learning in context, is really what it's all about.

Dave Fontaine said...


Jennifer said...

Please see my blog for comments on this session! www.madamdefarge.blogspot.com

Pam B said...

First of all, thanks to Jennifer for helping me locate the history link on PB Wiki. I did find it and did see how it was possible to go back to earlier versions of the page. I also see the comment link. I’m not sure if it was there before. I’m guessing my understanding of wikis was too limited to know what I should be looking for! I’m going to spend a little more time with PB Wiki in the near future as well as wikispaces. Again thanks for your input!

This week’s session highlighted wikis and collaboration. After the readings and PowerPoint links, I also marvel at how wikis are connecting the world and the speed it’s capable of doing that. In the reading, How Wikis are Changing Our View of the World; the article mentioned how quickly news about Hurricane Katrina was shared via wikis and blogs. In fact, it was reported that news is one of the most effective uses for a wiki. No longer do we need to wait for a newscast or special bulletin to know what’s going on, but through the writings and yes collaboration of many people, we are connected immediately to what’s happening in our world.

Sharon Peter’s wiki illustrated connectedness as well. Students in her classroom are connected to other students all over the world. In the video, one of her students commented about how amazing it was to be able to communicate with people all over the world. Using MySpace has allowed one of her students to connect with friends and friends of friends. Some of the links on Sharon Peter’s page called International Projects provided Global Project Portals. I recognized Global SchoolNet from years ago, so the concept of students connecting with students from around the world is not new and the Internet has certainly aided students in that endeavor in the past. However, with wikis and other social computing tools, the connection and collaboration is much easier than ever before. The technology just keeps changing and making the world flatter and flatter. Kathy Cassidy’s first graders also were able to connect with students outside their classroom in New Zealand and it created curiosity about what life what like across the globe.

Continuing with my theme of connectedness, one of the things I pulled from the Global Literacy video this time was the idea of networks. We interact by connecting through networks, Networks drive us forward, and the interaction they provide opens our classroom to new ideas. It just reaffirms my belief that our classroom must go beyond the four walls of a building. Not only can students learn from others around the world, but they can also share with others as well! The beauty of Web 2.0! We just need to make sure we provide students with the skills they need to communicate their message to the world!

Speaking of tools, one of the things I enjoyed in Kathy Cassidy’s wiki as well as Sharon Peter’s wiki was their utilization of all the many social computing tools. Some of the tools mentioned included Skype, Moodle, Audacity, Fickr, Bubblshare and Google.docs. I’ve heard of many of these tools and I’ve even registered to use some of them. It is amazing to discover how much software is available to use in the classroom, many at no cost to the educator. I have yet to really utilize these tools, but plan to investigate when I have the time. Open source software in itself is an interesting phenomenon. I admit my understanding of this is limited, but I think open source software is created and updated because the code is open and allows anyone to modify it. Again, many of these previously mentioned tools could aid in connecting people and also collaboration.

So, as I continue with this class I’m excited at all the possibilities, but a little overwhelmed with all the things I want to learn.

Amy said...

I love the fact that there are so many examples of blogs and wikis being used now a days from Grade One to College. It is amazing that so many teachers have found ways to incorporate the use of web 2.0 tools and create these magical spaces for our students to call their own. Mrs. Cassidy said it best along with other comments I have read along the way of this course. Students gain ownership and pride from their work because other people outside of their peers and the teacher are paying attention to them. It is miraculous to see the change in attitude a student can take when they have faith and pride in something that they have contributed. Even more importantly to show it. Everyday a student walks into a classroom they should be excited and ready for something new, but today’s kids are tired and bored, disinterested and moody. We as educators have to work triple, to find the on button for many of our kids. Linking outside of the classroom in. This technology that has been given to us is so worthy of exposure in our classrooms. Giving the child the power to create something and continue to build it along the learning process is assessment all in itself. Allowing for a parent to jump in at any time and view and comment on a child’s work is even more beneficial than sitting face to face and just talking.

My one area of concern, and I am sure this is something we all face, some more than others. I understand that wikis and blogs can be just classroom activities, yet having that home connection is so imperative with our communities. But…what happens when the student doesn’t have technology at home and yes, I know there is the library, but what parent will take their kids on free time to the library every week? I am faced with this problem in my school. I don’t even have parents that show up for conferences and school activities. I feel bad that these kids don’t get certain recognition and praise outside of their midterms and report cards. I might sound cliché, but what a bubble they live in. I want so bad to explore and utilize these tools such as flikr, skype, bubblshare, etc. to create fun, educational sites for our students and then be able to share out and give parents the ideal opportunity to be involved. But I am not miracle worker and to me this might not see daylight in my district. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions to help me?

Scott Rollins said...

This week’s lesson definitely had some good examples of blogs and Wikis. I enjoy looking at a variety of examples; I find that it spurs some ideas for how I could use them in my classroom. (My wife happens to be a second grade teacher, and she is enjoying the elementary school examples!!)

The Sharon Cassidy video definitely showed how appreciative the students were to be able to do such creative lessons. I think back to when I was this age, and how much more fun this type of learning would have been. The students had full ownership of their work, got to communicate in a very cool medium and also got to be part of a very different type of classroom atmosphere. The use of blogs, Wikis, podcasts, etc. just gives us teachers another way of reaching all of our students. I’m sure the students, like all, will have some complaints with this type of classroom but they definitely can’t say it’s boring! Having access to a computer lab just about every period, will make it a bit easier for me to include these types of technology into my lessons.

I think blogs and Wikis will also make communication with parents so much easier. I know that this is a major problem for me at the HS. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to make parent calls and return calls. I find most of my free time taken up with lesson planning, photocopying or actually getting a snack break. I know that this year having school email addresses, that parents were aware of definitely made communication easier. I believe that blogs and Wikis will have the same affect. I’m already thinking of how I can make it easier for parents to ask questions, post comments and most importantly to me, find out how their child is doing in class through a classroom blog.

I’m definitely excited with the possibilities but I’m also cautious about how it might work with my students. I’m hoping that the school filters will allow me to take full advantage of what I’ve learned throughout the class. You were not kidding Dave when you said time can get away from you. I’ve already logged a few more hours than I anticipated trying to create my blog!

pwestkott said...

I find myself doing just what Clarence Fisher described as literacy: accessing information to find what I need for my set purpose; applying strategies for understanding different forms of "texts": evaluating and questioning content and its reliability and then considering choices I have about how to use what I'm comprehending for my own teaching and learning and what I might produce to represent my understanding. As the journey continues, this literacy asks me to interact with my students, their parents, my colleagues and a global audience. I keep thinking about Kathy Cassidy's 1st graders interacting with kids in North Carolina and New Zealand.

All the readings, the PPT and its links are helpful for empowering me to help better determine how to proceed -refining my thinking as we continue through the course. Sharon Peters video, her Wiki and Kathy's Website help with his process.

As a primary teacher, I especially like how Kathy has organized things, permitting students, their parents and the educational community access all her "appropriate internet links" - her Blog, contnet areas, students reflections and work. I noticed how she delinated Student and Teacher entries.( I thought her last day of school on June 28th looked like fun! Do you think they had snow days??!!!?)

Friedmann's question is the essential one: "What does it mean to be literate today?" I'm wondering if the two most important constants are: 1. Literacy has always been changing, along with everything else. and 2. I need to be sure I'm guiding students to learn and utilize higher level thinking skills for acessing, understanding, evaluating and responding to information in its varied forms and then creating thier own work. Oh, and to then respond appropriately. It is really about thinking.

Anonymous said...

from joe...

Just went thru some of the info on session 9; and I am slowly coming around
to the positive outcomes of wikis and blogs. Seeing what other teachers do and how far along they are using technology is inspiring. Again, one of the nice things about this, and other courses like this….are the links and new resources teachers can use for the future

Dave Fontaine said...

This is in response to Amy's posting above. She mentioned, "My one area of concern, and I am sure this is something we all face, some more than others. I understand that wikis and blogs can be just classroom activities, yet having that home connection is so imperative with our communities. But…what happens when the student doesn’t have technology at home and yes, I know there is the library, but what parent will take their kids on free time to the library every week? I am faced with this problem in my school. I don’t even have parents that show up for conferences and school activities. I feel bad that these kids don’t get certain recognition and praise outside of their midterms and report cards. I might sound cliché, but what a bubble they live in. I want so bad to explore and utilize these tools such as flikr, skype, bubblshare, etc. to create fun, educational sites for our students and then be able to share out and give parents the ideal opportunity to be involved. But I am not miracle worker and to me this might not see daylight in my district. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions to help me?"

My response is: "These are issues and concerns that we all face. But the truth is that we can't stop this technology. Even pre-teens now have cell phones and with their ubiquity the price has become more reasonable. I see students on free-and-reduced hot lunch status that have cell phones that can access the web. I was honored by the request to be the Keynote speaker at graduation this year and one of the topics I spoke about was the prevalence of handheld technology at the higher ed. level and referenced how handhelds are becoming more useful than computers. Soon students won't need computers to cross the 'digital-divide' they will all just use their 'smart phones.' I give many more examples in my speech it is published and accessible at: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dgpppkm4_205hrxns

It is true that not all parents will take their child to the library once a week, but shouldn't we set the example, give them the prompt, and the impetus to do just that? I know I live in an ideal world, but if we don't work towards this utopia we are assured of never getting there."
Just a little of my soapbox speaking :-)

Robin Shtulman said...

This may seem like a small thing, but I'm excited about ways to use bubbleshare. Kids at our school have already used Google images and flickr to get images, and classes have digital cameras. I can already picture one particular class using bubbleshare to create oral presentations with their own photos and the audio caption feature. I think this would be a great way to summarize science learning, or even illustrate student poetry. I'm sure my classroom teachers will have even more ideas once I show them the tool.

The question someone posted about access is an important one. Some schools have libraries and computer labs that are open before and after school, allowing kids to use them outside of class. Some places also allow parents and the wider community to use their computers. I think that is a decent solution.

Here's my question: How do you keep on top of new tools that are coming out? I do by taking classes, but I feel a bit behind the curve. How do all these other teachers find out what's out there? Are there particular places (sites, journals) where the latest potentially wonderful things are listed?

Dave Fontaine said...

Robin brings up a basic, common question, above. She essentially is asking, "What is the most efficient and effective way for teachers to keep up with new tools and the changes in technology?"

The simplest answer is that I use my aggregator (like Bloglines)to subscribe to all the feeds from dozens of different websites and blogs. My subscription list has evolved and over time I have dumped some feeds and added others until I have now found a good balance. If you don't subscribe to too many it becomes more manageable.

That is the simple answer to a complex question b/c in reality I then have to read these blogs and assimilate all the new knowledge. Knowledge + Information = Power + Influence
I'll let you know if I ever get any 'power and influence.' :-)

msaunders said...

Isn’t it wonderful? I am approaching age 60 and there is still so much to learn. Seventeen years ago when I embarked on a career as a school librarian, I thought I had most of the skills needed and what I chose to learn would be facts in new and ongoing areas of interest, not new basic skills. It has been, and continues to be fun.
I agree with Jennifer (Madame Defarge) that the components of literacy apply in all media. Clarence Fisher talks about teaching students to evaluate online sources. Librarians have been doing this for years with all sorts of resources, including books. Because Internet access is considered risky, the importance of regularly teaching those skills is finally being recognized. What is wonderful is that Internet access also gives us more resources for checking sources.
Collective wisdom using Internet publishing is exciting, but also very risky. Consider, for example, a high school student in Maine who is getting some notoriety for her rebuttal of arguments by scientists for human activity causing climate change. http://home.earthlink.net/~ponderthemaunder/index.html The pages that link to her paper praise her (along the lines of “out of the mouth of babes comes this wisdom”). I see the ~ in her Web address and she is very open about the fact that this is just paper for a school assignment, but I read about the Web site in our local weekly paper in an article by an engineer who lives in our small town. Contrasting conclusions are found on many reputable sites. http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/ But the hype, on blogs, about her Web site carries unfortunate weight. Scientific knowledge advances through publication of experimental results and the interpretation of those results. But publication is in peer-reviewed journals by credentialed scientists. Students and the general public (maybe even our president) don’t always know the difference.
Gloucester schools are struggling with teaching literacy. Thanks to mandated testing, we have documented the fact that many of our entering freshmen have difficulty comprehending what they read. The teachers already knew this. The push is to teach reading comprehension skills across the curriculum. I’d like to help with skills for reading Web pages. Clarence Fisher talks about teaching students how to approach pages that have print, images, sound, video, etc. My question is how should one read such pages? Is there consensus on the best approach? I would think that different learners would benefit from different approaches. Up to now, mostly, I scan headings, read the print in the center first, and then use any media that I can get to work. Does anyone know any definitive approaches?

Tom Carney said...

I would like to reiterate part of Joe’s comment about how great it is to have these sessions and links all saved for future use. The wealth of information that we have been provided with in this class is much more than can be fully digested in one summer session. I am grateful that I have all of these resources to go back through as I can implement more and more in my classroom.

It amazes me just how much is going on in educational uses of the internet. I am barely scratching the surface, and the examples of what other teachers have done already is helping me to realize just how far I can and should go with all of this information.

Michael Skeldon said...

There are so many ways I think I could take this into my daily practice that I almost don't know where to start.

For weeks now I have been working on developing our school's Capstone course into an online collaboration exercise.

I think the first place I see wikis at Beacon is as a tool for professional development, especially as a significant upgrade to Common Planning Time.

With a faculty of barely over a dozen, we have the opportunity to discuss and share things that many larger faculties do not. However, I have begun to imagine the depth of the examination of teacher plans and student work through a tool like a wiki. The example of best practices of librarians would work well for teachers, even among different subject areas. Imagine taking plans and tasks from a science class and implementing them in a culinary classroom! It would allow for stronger interdisciplinary learning for all students and improved practce for faculty.

On another note, our faculty is very young and, I presume, more comfortable (for the most part) with technology. As the Academic Dean at Beacon, I intend to make wikis an integral part of Common Planning Time.

Dave Fontaine said...


Anonymous said...

Lisa Casey
I think that I might try as a project to start a Jamestown Wiki. It is the 350th anniversary and the historical society has given me “postcards” for the children to write and illustrate. The project centers more about what they love best about town or what they predict for the future, as these postcards will go into a time capsule to be opened in 50 years. But having the kid’s research and do projects for a wiki is great. I could use the Davis wiki as an example. But I wonder…
Will parents approve? Will they participate? Will they not want to post something that can change? Even though it’s everyone’s collaboration who exactly gets the e-mail? I’m still not clear on that. Everyone? Last editor? After reading the teacher wiki I see that you can ask to be notified but again, the responsibility is not collaborative. More work for me. I would like to assign the students to research present Jamestown, like Davis, with restaurants, shops, landmarks, points of interest, things to do, etc. And have them do a component on past Jamestown. I made a QuickTime movie from a tape about survivors of the 1938 hurricane on Jamestown and we could insert that into the wiki. Photos, too, a connection to the library, Jamestown press – could be great! Between Davis and wikiwalk and Hoffman I think I probably have most of what I need to know to start the project.

Loved the wiki walk. Great stuff! Except stuff done by elementary schools is inferior. That first grade page and story – a waste of cyberspace. I think that maybe to create an interesting product you need to be a bit more mature. My opinion, and no offense meant. Some things are better left to adults or more mature students.

I have been scribbling questions and comments and scratching them out. Okay I see the answers to many of my questions under the Twiki page – it seems to me that if you collaborate on a “real world” wiki you are freer than a school wiki for the obvious reasons. It may be a “creative collaboration” but not really – the teacher is ultimately responsible.

About teachers using wikis internally – my husband Mike just bought some new software for his server and it came with wiki feature for interoffice correspondence. He didn’t even know what a wiki was until I explained them, but of course he has run across Wikipedia. He is a scientist and was looking for some information on metallurgy that was pretty professional and he checked out wikipedia and his opinion was that some one who was pretty expert on the subject wrote the material, which he felt, was quite safe to use.

Some ponderings: about Davis: I just a certain population of Davis is on this. I mean, Davis has a large index but hardly the population. Should it list gay bars? Do people of color contribute? (I didn’t exhaustively examine the wiki but it seems pretty white bread. I don’t feel the multiculturalism of the world reflected in the wikiworld. Yet having said that, when Jamestown appears it will be white bread cause that’s all there is! So perhaps it’s just reflective of it’s environment.

How much time do we have to keep up with everything? Soon I wonder if we will be wired, sending our thoughts out by will to broadcast our every idea and whim. See, what you are showing us is the best of, bypassing the bedlam and slum streets that clog up the Internet.

I wonder why the World Wide Web is going by the wayside. Do you notice many URLs are sans www?

Can you believe the vandalism comment on the libsucces wiki? Checked it out and there is nothing there not found in Futas’s Collection Management. Hmm tried three interesting links and none worked. Reminds me of many webpages. Too bad you don’t get a ding if your link doesn’t work! Did like the ideas on what to do with used books

Collective intelligence can only be created with collective interest and collective goodwill. It’s interesting to think that a community of strangers can create such sites and yet there will be those who do not want to be a part of it. Some may tire of it.

I wonder about my students and their span of attention. To start a page might be all fun and fine but after the excitement of the flavor of the month goes away will it be maintained? Everything about wikis is exciting because of its collaborative and dynamic nature but it must become static without input; it becomes a webpage.

End note: Hard to believe Vicki was a “”scared mouse; she may never have wiki’ed before but she was seasoned tech pro. Hence one month to award winning status. Funny she used a blog, not a wiki, eh? And the obvious reason for that is…and Hoffman uses PowerPoint for her tutorial. I think that “easy” as everyone seems to make it sound, it’s going to take some time and effort and that it is not always the platform of choice – but choice is what it’s all about.

Here’s an I wonder; I wonder how the hell all these people have the time to sit and create all this? Time is such a luxury. I plan and think and get inspired but to have the time to myself to sit and plan is next to impossible. But I’ll do it!

Melissa Horton said...

I loved this week's lessons, and videos. I teach middle school, and the students in Sharon Peter's video were so full of energy. They were typical students, trying to be serious about their projects, but still kids at heart - goofy and silly underneath it all. That's what I love about teaching this age group.

I hate to keep bringing up similar topics, but again as I was watching the videos, the ideas began to flow. I even looked ahead to Deliverable #3 and the Final project. The anxiety begins to build again...

I simply do not have the technology in my classroom to impliment most of these activities. I will spend time preparing the next two large assignments for this class, knowing full well they will not be used in my classroom... so depressing.

I know that planning these proposals and activities will be worthwhile and a great exercise, but I want to use them after I am done.

I was wondering if anyone else feels this way? I don't want to be negative, but I am realistic also.

On a more positive note, I have posted earlier that I am using Wikispaces with my students to create online Portfolios. We am nearing the end of the first Trimester, and students are starting to finish up their first Trimester requirements. Many of them look great!!

It should be noted however, that I decided to use an online tool this year, because it allowed student with Internet access at home to work out of my classroom. I know my classroom computers are getting dated. This is not really the "in-class" creation project I hoped it would be, but I am trying to work around by technology deficit.

Maria said...

This week's session was another interesting and eye-opening one for me. I look forward to learning about web 2.0 technologies each week and thinking about how I can use them in my own teaching.

I agree with you Lisa, it's tough to find the time to sit and plan how to use these tools. I liken this kind of planning to first-year teacher lesson planning. I remember how long it took me to figure out what I needed to do and how to go about it. Now, it's a breeze (most of the time). With these new technologies, incorporating them will take a lot more planning, (and of course, more learing by the teacher), but will probably become easier over time and more second-nature.

I've taken lots of time to read the material for this course, follow the links and view the videos as well as try to incorporate some of these great web 2.0 tools in my daily work. It takes time to get to know something new, probably just as much time as those who created all of this stuff took. The benefits of trial and error are worth it in my eyes though.

I do have to say that Melissa is right about how depressing it is to not be able to really use these technologies in the classroom. I'd really like to have a school blog associated with our web page. Right now blog sites continue to be blocked by our server.
(Wikispaces isn't though - as I found out last week when I tried creating a wiki at school :) Maybe I'll just have to go with this plan instead.) How can all of these technologies exist out there and schools and teachers not be able to access them or use them? I understand that CIPA demands the use of filtering software in schools (just to get the eRate) but in my eyes, it's gone a little too far. Too much of the good stuff is being blocked in the process. There seems to be a really long waiting process to get these "good sites" cleared for surfing in my district. I still haven't heard the decision to allow access to my blog yet and this course is almost over! There needs to be a better line of communication between the Tech Departments and teachers, librarians and administrators who are trying to use technology in their teaching.

Enough of the ranting...I also want to comment on the examples of wikis in this session. Using them with older students, colleagues and in the community seems to make the most sense. Sharon Peters wiki was a great example of using a wiki to foster literacy in the classroom. I've been reading a bit more about her work as well on "women of web 2.0" www.womenofweb2.com/index.htm
Check it out if you have some time. I didn't like the Hockey Story and didn't think it was a great way to use a wiki. I do understand why a wiki was used since anyone could make changes to the story but still, it just seemed like a wiki was used for that project just because it could be - if you know what I mean.

About the definition of literacy and how it relates to my thoughts on my profession as a SLMS - the mission of a school library media program library is to ensure that our students and staff are effective users of ideas and information therefore helping our students master information literacy skills. With the changing definition of literacy and its components (access, comprehension, response, production, evaluation, interaction) I am really battling with how my function as a LMS needs to change to fit the times. I am trying to figure out where I fit into all of this and how I am best going to help my students and staff understand the changes that web 2.0 has brought upon education and ultimately what it means to be literate in the 21st century. I think this would be a great course in the making - if its not one already out there. I bet it could be a great wiki project too. (Dave, something to think about)

On to the next session and the final projects that are due soon. I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments and learning from all of you.

famous said...

You know what I'd like to see with regards to wikis and the classroom - a step-by-step how to guide. A wikis in the classroom for dummies.
I have the thoughts and ideas. I have a willing teacher who'd like to collaborate, but in someways, until I see it or do it, it won't work.
I started my wiki, because the service we use for my webpage doesn't allow me to create my own forms. So, I thought, I'd get to do a book sharing of thoughts using the wiki. Post about a book and have student edit the page with their comments. I never found a way to get students involved. Perhaps, I could get a teacher to do this....
One great thing about a wiki (or blog) is that students can post their ideas about a book, but it's there for the next year's students to see.

Dave Fontaine said...


FHS Library said...

Kim Crotty
Library 9-12

What has been most helpful to me is seeing the different examples of how teachers have incorporated blogs and wikis into their classrooms and how they have been able to connect to others across the world. I don't know if I missed it or not but how do we find other "classroooms" to connect with in a blog or wiki? I know I could connect locally with other high school libraries and classrooms but what is the best way to connect globally?

FHS Library said...

Kim Crotty
Library Grades 9-12

Someone had asked in the previous session if anyone had used Google docs. I have and whats great about them is it's just like working in Word but you have the option to collaborativly edit the document and see who has edited it just like in a wiki. You can also revert back to the original as well. So to put it simple. It's a wiki but in word format.

A Pisani said...

I haven't watched the 30 minute video yet, but I did enjoy the short video from Sharon Peters' students. One thing that really resonates with me is how wonderful it is for students to be able to communicate with other students from around the world. It's a tremendous tool as far as that is concerned. I also found a comment made by one student particularly interesting. He said something to the effect of," It's good to be able to express yourself without anyone interrupting you." I cringed a little bit listening to one student who was referring to safety concerns about social networking sites like MySpace as "Urban Myths." That was a bit scary to me.
I tried my hand at adding some information to the Algebra 1 link. I felt like I could have gone on and on, but cut myself off before the day passed me by! Here's the link to my additions:

Dave Fontaine said...

Kim asked about the best way to build ontacts from around the world. Well Kim, it will come down to networking. One facilitator you may want to try is Ning. It is a social networking site for professionals. They have different educators using Ning to create contacts and networks of like-minded people to build collaborations. That's what will really help catapult you into the networking arena.

Anne Howard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna said...

Session 9

As I watched the last video on literacy, I wondered how we are going to change the way we teach literacy skills to students, when most teachers and administrators don’t know that we have to change the way we teach literacy. Other than the teachers who are taking or who have taken this class and the few who are leading the way in Web 2.0 tech., the majority of teachers have no idea about the changes in literacy. Before I took this course, I too was not aware of how much literacy has changed. As a librarian, I am teaching students how to evaluate text, but who is going to teach them the first step of accessing the text – beyond searching. As a high school librarian, I only get to teach these skills to the students who come in for a particular class. I wonder who will teach the other students about RSS feeds, blogs and podcast.

After finishing this session, I also realized that I need to read the “World is Flat”. The book has been sitting on my nightstand for several months now. Maybe after this class is over, I will get to it.

joannak said...

Joanna Knott
4-6, Librarian
New Oxford, PA

Sharon Peters is my hero. Watching her students’ interviews and reactions to online collaborations was really inspiring. Not only were these students collaborating with students around the world, but they were performing authentic tasks and actually having fun while doing so. The classroom atmosphere was upbeat and energetic, and I’m sure that most of those high school kids were on task. The student responses were real, and while I agree with Andrea that the student who called MySpace predators “urban legends,” I also smiled when one student commented that wikis are “making us collectively smarter.” Aha!

Kathy Cassidy is also an inspiration to those teachers of elementary students who have claimed that their age level is too young to podcast, blog, and wiki. That age group should receive no less focus than our middle and high school-ers. It is the future of their education, and they are lucky to get a jump start on the technology and skills.

I enjoyed Cassidy’s video. I particularly appreciated seeing all the 2.0 tools coming together – she used Flickr, Kid Pix, and Audacity to create her wonderful blogs and wikis. I had never been exposed to Bubbleshare, and I look forward to playing with that. I also smiled when she described that students’ postings were commented on by parents, grandparents, and other family members. No longer do projects get posted on the refrigerator with pride, they get posted to the internet instead! I was disappointed, though, that Cassidy provided no insight to the AUP of her school. How does she legally post images of her students’ on the web? What kind of permissions did she need to get from both the school and the parents?

I have yet to begin my second part of this week’s assignment…watching the 30 minute video, my ideas on “literacy,” and posting to the Wiki. I have to admit, I went to the wiki, but was hesitant to do any editing. I still lack the confidence to post my ideas to the internet! Which leads me to believe that wikis must instill a sense of empowerment for the users. Once I get the guts to post my ideas, I’ll certainly feel empowered!

Rosemary Driscoll said...

Well, once again I'm amazed at the possibilities of using this technology. I wonder if anybody else thinks that the Canadians are so far ahead of us in using this technology. It seems that much of the literature on this is out of Canada or Australia.
Anyway, I took pages of notes while watching and reading and don't know where to begin.
I enjoyed tremendously Sharon Peters' interview with Sunny, the 16 year old student who talked about how using this technology made the content matter much more interesting for him as a learner. He could see how what he was learning related to him somehow in a global context. Also in Sharon's video, a student mentioned that using blogs was great for him because he could give his opinion without being interrupted. That's a valid reason, I think, and is useful for students who may be shy or feel intimidated.
The video on literacy was interesting too. I agree that literacy and its meaning continues to evolve. Our dependency as educators on paper text needs to change in order to keep up with the students. I think one place to start with this transformation is in the training of teachers. Colleges should put more emphasis on how teachers' students now and in the future should be choosing new "forms of production." I think if teachers continue to be taught how to teach in a paper context, then the shift towards embracing a new meaning of literacy will be resisted. Or at least delayed further.
After reading "The Textbook is Dead," I couldn't help but think that Yes, maybe soon I won't have to pay $500.00 for my son's college textbooks each semester anymore. I won't hold my breath, I guess.
I added a list of websites on country information for middle school social studies on:
http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Middle-SOCIAL STUDIES
I also added a link to NPR on Multimedia Resources.

Donna said...

One more thing...

I also went to the wiki and checked it out, but I too did not feel comfortable editing it. I'm not an expert in any of those subject areas.

Leilani Coelho said...

Session 9 was great because I learned so much! I learned that if used appropriately blogs and wikis can be beneficial to student learning. I also learned that literacy and the definition of literacy is quickly changing. I wonder how I can effictively communicate everything that I learned so far to to colleges and administrators.

Kathy Cassidy does a great job with her blog and incorporating it into her class. I like how she uses kid pix to display student work and yackpack to communicate with others. Seeing her work gave me many ideas and motivated me to keep moving forward.

The video on literacy was excellent but it brings up many controversial issues. I completely agree that literacy is changing that that teachers are falling behind and their kids are learning many things on their own with out our guidance. In the early 1990's when I firt got my own aol user id account I learned how to use it from my siblings not my teacher. Unfortunately I learned that the sole purpose of the Internet was to talk to your friends online. It wasn't until later that I learned that there is a lot of information on the Internet and it can be used to learn about a subject or help support a paper or project. I am definitly excited about the posibilities and the benifits of using the internet in the classroom.

In regard to this weeks assignment I had a difficult time uploading my video and I accidentally erased some of the work that was there. However I found it in the history and just copied and pasted it. Here is my link for the work I added http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Elem-Math

joannak said...

Joanna Knott
4-6, Media Specialist

The Changing Definition of Literacy

Fisher’s video brings up so many valid and well-thought points. Literacy is in a constant state of change; it is not static, nor is it finite. It has never been, regardless of how the educational system would like to think. It’s intriguing that literacy has always been in a state of change and that is the only constant. Truly, geography + time = literacy.

Literacy today, in my opinion, is based on the connectedness between the authors, text, and reader. What have you written or created? Surely that requires a level of literacy. Who is reading your text? Are they editing it? Do they comprehend it? Literacy is the infinite circle: text, comprehension, production, text, comprehension, production...by one person or many.

I agree with many of Fisher’s statements. I think that our level of comprehension is, indeed, much more demanding than that of years ago. Students are expected to have a level of proficiency in so many areas, whereas in our history, many students/people have been directed towards certain skills which required a pre-established level of literacy. Our media has also become much more complicated. Fisher stated that students need to be taught how to read or tackle a website, but this is a skill that must be added to a students’ skill set. We can’t replace other skills because there is still a need for them. No longer are we teaching book literacy, but also internet, video, and podcast literacy.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Berenberg
Reading Teacher
Grades 3-5
Session #9

Http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Elem-English is where my additions are located. I incorporated Literature Circles, vocabulary development, and interview skills with these new technology tools. I enjoyed looking through the videocasts in order to support instruction. It is always nice to try new things especially ones that will hold student interest.

Sharon Peter's article was interesting as it pertained to student voice and ownership of learning. Students who are a part of the learning process seem to be more successfull and positive. Lessons create meaning and are created based on the interest and learning style of each individual.

Cooperative learning projects such as the the Web Design contest really appealed to me. There was a lesson where students use a wiki to write stories and then the class voted on the best version. I think this is a great tool for the writing process.I had also enjoyed the lesson on using podcasts for interview assignments on a text. The students had to come up questions to ask a character in the book.

This weeks session showed me multiple ways to integrate wikis effectively into my classroom. I have always been a fan of collaboration and I see myself using this tool in a variety of ways.

MrsO'Halloran said...

Joan O'Halloran

I edited the Aztec section of the Social Studies information - I added some info on the circulatory system and two links. After reading everyone's comments I am not sure that was the right thing to do, and I didn't link it to this comment because I am not sure how to do that! Getting started was the hardest part - after that I really enjoyed contributing.

Kathy Cassidy's use of techonology is amazing. She did a good job of discussing software options, and her students' work makes a great case for using technology in the classroom. As I looked at what her students accomplished, I wondered if the majority of teachers/classes took advantage of web 2.0 technology. Using blogs, wikis, etc. would be much easier if all classes participated. From my own experience, anything we commit to as a middle school team takes very little time to become routine.

The video on literacy validates what I have been thinking for some time. Students view the internet as a place to socialize or copy information from - and if it's on the web it must be true. I truly believe that my most important job is to teach my students how to learn. My students are using technology to learn without the benefit of guidance. Using the internet for research has become a trial. Huge amounts of time are wasted investigating sites with unimportant information, and I am not sure how to find the time and expertise to teach these skills and my content. However, everyone needs the skills set mentioned in the video.

Dave, thanks for sharing Maria M's comment - she expressed my feelings exactly. Also, many people think of the internet as having nothing to with the 'basics.' This video shows that learning the 'basics' will soon be impossible without an in-depth understanding of web 2.0 technologies. I also really liked the paraphrase of David Warlick's comment "I am not excited about the light of technology, but rather what we can shine the light on."

I have lots of ideas for integrating this technology into a unit - I wonder if I will get to use them.

Mrs. Z. said...

I agree with Donna--I have to read The World is Flat as well. I also agree with what she said about other teachers and administrators not really knowing how literacy is changing. One concept that seems to keep repeating itself is how we are going to teach our students to evaluate information with a critical eye. In the "What is Literacy" video, one line that stood out to me was, "It's not about search, it's about find." This couldn't be more true. We really have to give our students the tools they need to "find" what will be useful to them, while at the same time understanding what is reliable.

Going along with this, I never really thought about "reading" a website. As the video questioned, How do you read a website?--top to bottom, text first, videos second? When do you click on hyperlinks? We certainly do have to re-think our definition of literacy and what it will mean for our students to be literate.

I, like Donna, also wonder how long it will take for more teachers and administrators to start changing their ideas of what it means to be literate so that our students will be prepared to face the challenges of the 21st century.
I updated the Middle School English page:


Steph Z.

Jennifer Long said...

Session 9:

While browsing the many resources this week, I was drawn to Sharon Peters’ wiki about collaborative learning projects for students. One resource I found helpful:
These are tips for educators who want to guide collaborative units with other classes from a distance. My idea for a wiki as related to this: Our district’s (and probably most others’) Social Studies curriculum includes countries; we could collaborate with a classroom from one of the countries the students are studying. I enjoyed Kathy Cassidy’s first grade blog, and found her implementation of Bubbleshare to be elegant in its simplicity. What a great way to share virtual books with others! I was also intrigued by new definitions of literacy and after viewing the literacy video, I read the insightful comments posted by my 921 colleagues.

Leilano Coelho wrote, “The video on literacy was excellent but it brings up many controversial issues. I completely agree that literacy is changing that that teachers are falling behind and their kids are learning many things on their own with out our guidance.” I agree! Just the other day, I heard one first grader ask another if she had a MySpace yet. To my relief, the second student didn’t have any idea what the first was talking about. But just when I thought only one six-year-old in the class was MySpace savvy, a few nearby girls chuckled, “She doesn’t know what MySpace is!” I admit I don’t have a MySpace. Have I fallen behind? What is such a young student posting about on MySpace, My Little Pony? On second thought, she might be posting her own Soulja Boy dance. (Oh no, I am old! I have fallen behind!)

Joanna Knott wrote, “It’s intriguing that literacy has always been in a state of change and that is the only constant. Truly, geography + time = literacy.” She continues, “No longer are we teaching book literacy, but also internet, video, and podcast literacy.” As a fellow library media specialist, I echo Joanna’s comments. When I first began my teaching career, leading students to navigate and evaluate Web 1.0 pages (then, just webpages) was a relatively new task. Now, there are myriad technologies popping up on Web 2.0 and I, the 2.0 neophyte, am charged with leading the charge into the new, wild frontier.

I now feel I have made gains: creating my blog, collaborating with colleagues on our library wiki, and for my latest effort, adding to Dave’s wiki on the Elementary English page. I linked sites about poetry, Seuss, and literacy games.

With that accomplished, I pull out my best Davy Crockett impression and sing my wild frontier song (Can you hear it? I know that you can.)!

Anne Howard said...

As everyone knows, my experience with trying to add to the wikidave wiki ended rather disastrously. It was not my lack of confidence at being able to add content but my hubris in my abilities. I broke my own first rule - save, early and often.

In brief, this is what I was planning to add: I chose to add to the middle school social studies page. I teach different skills through researching the Salem Witch Trials. I wrote several paragraphs, briefly covering the outline of what the students research, inserted links to outside sources, included an interactive from Nation Geo, and a video on the topic. I feel like Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his poem about Kubla Khan - the vision was lovely and I could never recreate it as well. Oh well, such is life. [What is really interesting is that as I wrote this I lost my internet connection. I at least was able to copy and paste into a Word document without losing what I had written. Will I never learn?!]

I found the different ways the two teachers mentioned were using blogs and wikis inspiring. I think we are only limited by our lack of imagination. For many of us, thinking outside the box is not something we do with any regularity. But, being able to see others innovations this area, hopefully more of us will be inspired and find even more ways to use these with our students, regardless of age.

One of the themes running through all the videos was the authentic learning the students were engaged in. My observations of many classrooms is that the students see no purpose to what they are learning other than the teacher requires them to learn it. How many high school students have had to suffer through reading Moby Dick or The Scarlet Letter because someone has deemed these to be classics and everyone should read them? The number of people who had to read these and other “classics” and truly enjoyed them is rather small. My daughter chose to read these and the other books required for high school AP English while she was in middle school. She is the only person I have ever known who has enjoyed the Scarlet Letter and still counts it among her top ten all time favorite books. Rebecca enjoyed this book because no one forced it upon her – she authentically wanted to read the book and gleaned so much more from it than she would have if it had been required reading. She enjoyed discussing the themes of the book when she had to discuss it in her high school classes because she got so much from it due to her pure enjoyment in the book. When students are totally engaged and can find a personal purpose for learning, as Rebecca was, then they will better retain what they have learned. We learn best what we want to know most.

I too took pages of notes about literacy. Sadly, I must admit I never gave it much thought until about three years ago. When I was a 4th grade teacher, all I could think about was that my students had to be reading and writing on grade level so that they could pass the big state-mandated tests. There was no room in my teaching for thinking about what it meant for them to be literate – I had to make sure they could perform on cue. Since becoming a media specialist I have thought about it a great deal more. I teach my students how to access information and how to evaluate it. One of my favorite information literacy lessons to teach is about dihydrogen monoxide. The website is http://www.dhmo.org. We go through all the different evaluation questions about the site. In the three years I’ve been teaching this unit, I’ve only had two students figure it out before I reveal the answer.

There were two questions I have regarding points Fisher made in his video. The first is in regards to the point he made about students competing for a worldwide audience. I question why he feels this way. I don’t believe most students think about the global impact their words could have – most of them don’t think beyond their neighborhoods and the people they know. I’m not sure they can comprehend that they can reach people who lived thousands of miles away. The second question has to do with how to read a web page. Fisher states that we should teach our students how to read a web page, but offers no suggestions as to the best way to approach this. This was never addressed in any methods or technology classes I have taken. Is there one way that is better than any another or is it better to allow students to begin with what modality they learn though best? I wonder?