Tuesday, March 18, 2008

921-Session 8 "The World of Wikis!!!"

Welcome to Section 2 of our course

"The World of Wikis!"

This second half of the semester will take us onto a new path!

A path that leads to more collaboration--

more cooperative learning---

and more opportunities to create differentiated instruction and visual learning---all with the goal of helping foster literacy, and learning, for our students.

Don't worry if you have barely heard of the word, 'Wiki'. Here is a taste of the excitement that awaits you when you download session 8.

Good luck and take plenty of notes because I don't want to miss any of your ideas, excitement, and insights when you post your comments!

If you're eager to get started, but still have some apprehension then maybe some tutorials might help. I've added some beneath the blog tutorials on the left.

Have fun!



ClareO said...

There is so much information to take in about Wikis. I wasn't sure what one was until this session. At first I was feeling a bit skeptical. I, of course, was and still am worried about the security of it all. Being a 4th grade teacher, I think it is an awful lot of freedom and I would worry about what some of my little cherubs might put on the site. I did, however, come up with a lot of great ways that I could use a wiki if I was able to get past the trust issue.

Grade 4 social studies curriculum is Rhode Island, and the United States regions. I recently created a state book with my class, where each student researched a state and put together a page. This seems like a project for a wiki. Each student could have their own hyper link to their state. They could then link to other pages, facts, places, videos, etc. about their state. We could start this in September and conclude it at the end of the year. It could be as big or as small as they choose. Maybe it could even be an on going project from year to year, with future classes adding information to the wiki as they find out more about thier assigned state.

We of course also do the ever popular brochure project for Rhode Island. This too could become a wiki project. The brochure could encompass so many aspects of RI. It could become a tool for those people really coming here for a vacation. Talk about real world application of what you are teaching in class.

A professional wiki would be great to help develop rubrics. In my building we all use and develop our own rubrics and of course few of them ever are shared with others. Imagine how great our rubrics could be if they had the input of our colleagues. Instead of that once a month meeting to discuss such things it could be on going and immediate.

I can certainly imagine the possiblities. Again, the freedom for 9 year olds worries me. The access that others would have makes me a little nervous as well. I definately have to check a few more out before I can make a judgement on how I feel. I just find learning about all of this overwhelming and exciting all at the same time.

carol fishbein said...

I thought this session was a wonderful intro into wikis, and I have a feeling that I will be returning to some of the sights later in this course, or this summer, when I have more time to play around with wikis. I really liked how Sharon Peters made the contrast between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 so clear. It made me really think about how all of my district's emphasis on which reading text to acquire or which particular person's or theoretical writing program to endorse is, perhaps,an inappropriate use of resources. So much time and money goes into each new experimental program, and most are abandonned within 2-4 years, leaving little continuity or expertise among either students or faculty.More importantly, these choices are just one piece of what we need to teach our kids about literacy in the new 'flat world'. Sharon notes that children need to see how what they're learning will apply in their future life. This, to me, seems so important. Who of us has not sat through a boring calculus lecture and wondered what this will ever have to do with our futures? So much of formal education today is still based (as in my district) on closed classrooms, where the closest students come to sharing their work is when, and if, it is posted on hallway walls, which has become even more limited than before due to new fire safety regulations. How thrilling for them to know that others, perhaps even in other countries, are reading their words.
Most students are now introduced to the internet in schools, and it has, rightly or wrongly become a primary source of their knowledge base.Kids in my classes love to use the computer, so researching on it is considered more fun and exciting, whereas looking it up in regular texts is more monotonous and boring for them. Still, Ms. Peters reminds us that this passive, receptive use of the internet is just Web 1.0, and today we have passed that stage and are connecting more interactively thru Web 2.0. Her video showing how her students connected with Israeli students to share perceptions of reading texts- is awesome. Not only did her students see, first hand, the differences between themselves and others in another culture, but more importantly learned about the thematic similarities they shared in their education. Sharon also spoke about the importance of letting students have a voice in their learning,as well as "an authentic audience." It made me wonder how my district's students will fare when they integrate into high school and colleges in which students from other districts have already had multiple opportunities to widely use these other internet tools. I hope that they will not feel like 'fish out of water', as myself, and many other of my peers who grew up in the days before personal computers were available, do. I guess I will just have to change things!!

In reading Clare's review, I so related to her situation where several people are in separate rooms so near to each other, reinventing the wheel. Her ideas about using wikis as a means of establishing better rubrics is excellent. The more teachers in a grade level, school, district, state, etc. share in their outcome expectations, the more likely they are to ensure that their classes are all getting the same important skills, information, and opportunities to achieve those outcomes.
Finally, I so related to that young red-haired boy in Ms. Peters' slide who talks about being such a neophyte in the realm of computer information, and how learning all of the new technology (blogs, wikis, etc.) that his teacher has shared with him has opened up his world. I am sooo him.

Anonymous said...

Session 8 Comments: The World of Wikis

Learning about “Wikis” briefly brought me back to my four years in Hawaii in the mid 80’s. I knew the term ‘wiki wiki” meant hurry, but we rarely did so in Hawaii. Anyway, once again, I found out a lot about a subject of which I knew so little.

I “get” what wikis are now, but I am still a little uncomfortable with the idea that anyone can add anything to any site.

• I worry about things being correct w/o some major checking of the sources. I hope that students do not just call up a wiki site and take what is there as the truth. Many students are still not prepared completely for true research. They seem to prefer reading something on the internet and taking it as gospel.
• The whole notion of no true “ownership” worries me. I am not trying to be pessimistic, but I see a real potential for incorrect, inflammatory, negative information being posted and eventually being taken as “gospel” or causing trouble amongst readers.

I guess that I value more using a blog to distribute information and engage students/other school community members. The control of the information on a blog is appealing to me. The blog also allows, even invites feedback, but in a more controlled, organized, managed manner.

I also believe that blogs can prepare our students for the meaningful and effective internet communication that will be necessary for their success as mentioned in the ”How Schools Use Wikis” video we watched. If teachers guide and instruct their students through the use of blogs, they can indeed improve student skills around such areas as synthesizing, collaborating, and explaining. The techno-personal skills will be developed, but in a more guided manner.

Having said this about the use of wikis, I do believe that the 30 minute video is a “keeper” for me; possibly to be used as a primer in the future if wikis are to be used to any degree at NKHS. I do see a value in using a wiki to address some of the community actions that we have done in the traditional manner of holding committee meetings. I think a wiki would be helpful in engendering comments and input from faculty in revising our student and faculty handbooks each year. Wikis might also be used to develop future professional development sessions, as well as starting a vibrant “best practices” program in the school. I believe that there will have to be a lot of professional development before we begin a wide-spread use of blogs and wikis at NKHS.

In retrospect, I believe that wikis can be a positive addition to our school. This can be especially true at the level of faculty and administration where adults input freely as mature members of the school community. If used as such, my concerns about ownership, openness, and factuality would be diminished.

John Lalli

MDavis said...

I think John did a great job summing up the concerns I have with Wikis. I have been encouraging students to look at Wikipedia (just as any encyclopedia) with caution and for background information. At the high school level, we never accept encyclopedia citations because of the "3rd person" perspective that makes accuracy difficult. The positive aspect of having immediate access to new information has the counterpoint of lacking a solid fact check in advance. As I explain to students, you wouldn't trust word of mouth from a friend or a breaking news flash as the "gospel" of truth or whole story. A wiki resource should not be considered solid unless it is also validated.

On the other hand, I liked the idea of the Davis resident wiki (not because of my namesake)
because it did make the community of discussion seem easy and enjoyable. Imagine a democratic (hopefully) environment where students can offer ideas and suggestions and feel free to add on theirs? I remember using the "parking lot" activity where students posts their questions on the board and then are collected and discussed as a whole. A wiki can serve as a similiar manner for
allowing discussions to flow freely, but unlike a blog, the community can correct or append the material as it changes. I would always argue, and feel free to criticize, that a certain amount of control is necessary to keep things civil (as Clare alluded regarding her "cherubs"). But the idea has worked well with my students in the past, especially in summer school. I often test these things with the summer kids because motivation is at such a low point. I let them choose a music artist and write a brief biography. Then, each student must choose someone else's bio to edit and append. In all cases, they are excited to offer new annecdotes and be recognized for their contribution, while some even benefit from learning about a new artist they want to listen to. I look forward to the rest of discussion points to see how they are being used by others and
see what types of inclusions others have used with wikis.

Amy said...

I think Wiki’s can be affectively used in the classroom. Even though there are the downfalls of some vandalism and spam, there can be disorganization and there is no ownership to the information like a blog. You can still have a clarified Wiki that is monitored and restricted. After viewing the video about Westwood Schools with Vicki Davis, I was more convinced that a Wiki could be a positive addition.

Wiki’s are easy to maneuver through. The tabs at the top are easily identifiable and the tools within the Wiki are simple to use.

I checked out WetPaint and was interested to see that all the contributions were clean and related to the Wiki. There was everything from recipes, to photography, to medicine. It was very unique and I could distinguish between a blog and a Wiki.

I really liked WikiSpaces because there was a tour that they gave you to setup your own Wiki, and it was step by step. This was a great feature that I thought would be simple for most teachers and our students.

I think this idea of the Wiki would be a great addition to the BEST Program for beginning teachers in CT. We are forced to attend session after session on learning how to write a “great” portfolio. In the end we spend countless hours editing this portfolio that is due in the second year of us teaching. How I would suggest the Wiki to be used is by allowing teacher to post their portfolio drafts and have teachers in CT be able to view and help correct and change or make suggestions to the new teachers. That way you avoid setting up meetings all the time and it is easily accessible. It also allows the new teacher to have more than one veteran teacher to view their work and help them.

Robin Shtulman said...

What follows are just some thoughts I'm having as I learn about wikis. Be patient with me, as I am starting from 0.1 (as opposed to zero) knowledge here.

So, I've learned what everybody else probably already knows: that "wiki" comes from the Hawaiian word for quick. And wikis are quick. They're quick to set up, quick to post to, and quick to search. Those all sound like good things.

The best thing about wikis is their potential for true collaboration among people with a shared goal. Wikis can be continuously evolving while at the same time preserving each generation of each page in an archive you can refer back to. That's powerful.

The worst thing about wikis is that people who have opposing or contradictory goals can post on the same wiki. Will they undo one another? From what I've gathered, there is a way to set up a wiki so that one person receives an e-mail alert each time the wiki is edited. That person can then review the edits and either leave them alone or edit over them. I need to know more about that.

This year, when we Union 28 librarians began blogging with our students about MCBA nominees, we realized partway through that it would have been nice if we could have organized the blog by book title. That way, all of the students writing about a particular book could have their posts grouped together, rather than having the posts organized by posting date. Would a wiki solve this problem? I plan to look into this for next winter. I also want to look into whether we can have a wiki that is restricted to registered users, those users being students, staff, and parents at our four schools.

There were two kinds of wikis mentioned in our course lesson for this week that particularly intrigued me: A townwide wiki and an "institutional memory" wiki. As our school has undergone many changes over the last year, I love the idea of a place for members of our school community to post what's important to them about that community. Similarly, I could envision the townwide wiki as a way for us to share vital information, something that's not always easy in a rural place with no central gathering spot. (Caveat: I was in love with the idea of the town wiki and then -- I clicked on one of the contributors' "about me" links and was taken directly to pictures of the citizen in her underwear. Not quite the civic-minded use I had envisioned.)

Pam B said...

I started my own wiki last December. I’m primarily using the pages as a subject guide with links to information teachers would find useful. I did create one page for group collaboration. Since we have three offices from which we circulate media resources, I was hoping a wiki would help the group more efficiently and effectively catalog purchased materials. It didn’t work as well as I hoped, but not because I don’t think it couldn’t have worked, I just think the personalities involved weren’t ready for wikis. I used PBWiki as my provider, but after viewing the PowerPoint presentation and viewing the video, I do want to spend some time exploring wikispaces. From what I can tell, PBWikis doesn’t allow you to use history to go back to earlier versions of a page. There also isn’t a place for discussions either. I think there is a way to add an RSS feed, but it doesn’t look as simple as the notify me tab. Perhaps, it’s the way I have set my wiki up or perhaps it’s my limited knowledge, but this is how it appears to me. I recently did receive an email telling me about five new features available from PBWiki, so I need to spend some additional time getting caught up with what I can do with my wiki.

It certainly does appear that wikis have great potential for educators once we learn how to utilize their capabilities. It seems that collaboration is near the top of the list. Wikis are different from conventional web sties in a number of ways. First, web sites in the past have usually been authored or created by one or few people; wikis are edited and created by many. With a wiki everyone is the final arbiter. Wikis can help students create content instead of consuming that content and because of that students are no longer passive learners. Like blogs, wikis provide an avenue for an authentic audience. Wikis depend on the collective knowledge of many. That’s why Wikipedia works. If misinformation is added to the content, it will sooner or later (and hopefully sooner) come to light when a member of the collaborative community realizes it. Yet, this openness is one of the reasons, Wikipedia is viewed by many educators as being unreliable. For example, this past year the AEA distributed a poster to our schools that was created by Iowa Public Television. One of the sources listed on the poster was Wikipedia. Shortly after receiving the poster, a teacher librarian emailed me to protest the use of Wikipedia as a source. She doesn’t let her students use it. Yet, the comment about peer reviewed journals being the most trusted of education journals, would also seem to apply to Wikipedia as well. Now, I’m not advocating that students only use Wikipedia, or believe everything they read there either. Again, one of those 21st skills we need to teach students is the ability to analyze and evaluate information.

I, like Robin, liked the idea of the community wiki as well. I also liked the observation that the community wiki presented the same information as community brochures that have been created by students in many schools for many years. This ties in very closely to the comment made by the presenter (I think) of the Wiki While You Work video. The comment went something like, “…. We might have consistency of content from year to year, but we often see a variability of tools used to relay the content.” Again, as educators we need to select the best tool possible to make learning relevant and exciting for students. Thomas Friedman’s comment mentioned in that same video echoes that sentiment. Curiosity quotient + passion quotient > than intelligence quotient. In the past weeks, I have heard a number of comments from educators praising the “transforming” power blogs and wikis have had on their classrooms. By all means, let’s add curiosity and passion in our classroom if we can!

Finally I have one last comment. Part of the reason blogs and wikis haven’t been used in the classroom is fear of inappropriate content and safety of our students. I know of schools that have filters in place to block any blog content. I do agree that we must protect our students, but we must also prepare students to “protect themselves.” The analogy of the saltwater fish was great. If the intent is to release the fish into the ocean, the longer the fish remains in the fishbowl, the more difficult it will be for that animal to make it in the ocean where there are predators. If indeed our goal for our students is to be productive citizens in the global world, we need to give them the skills to live in that world.

Karen said...

This session was wonderful. I had no idea what a Wiki was or where the word came from. I do have trouble with the fact that any one can edit what some one else has written. The tabs make it so easy to use you can go in and fix anything that was changed if necessary. I also like the was it tells you who edited the work and the time and date it was done. I have been spending time on seeing if there are any other programs that will read the information to my students while they can view the text of the wiki or blog. They need to see the text not have just voice and a series of lines moving around.

msaunders said...

Whereas blog set up was straight-forward and relatively easy, after reading about WIKIs, I find the prospect of beginning one daunting. Pam, thank you for relating your experience with PBwiki and comparing PBwiki with what Wikispaces can do. I believe that I will start with Wikispaces. I think beginning with a collaborative project around the research functions of our library may be best for my fledgling attempt. I've had a look at the Phillips Andover Prep School research wiki at http://www2.noblenet.org/panwiki. Wow!
Amy, I agree that using a WIKI for the teacher orientation BEST program would be a good idea, not only for collaboration and learning, but also so that new teachers would learn to use and appreciate WIKIs as potential tools for instruction and student collaboration.
I found some advice from Lynn Spencer for elementary librarians building a wiki as part of a famous-persons-biography research unit http://www.sosspotlight.org/?t=16
"Choose a project based on a unit that is already an established and valued part of the curriculum.
Collaborate with the classroom teachers so that students come to the library with some initial work on the research already done. In this way, time can be spent more productively on the actual creation of the project.
Make available enough varied resources at the student's independent reading level.
Start small. Rather than worrying about having a complete multimedia product the first time, you may want to start out with a text-based wiki, and get involved with adding graphics and additional links further down the road."
Vicky Davis, in the video in our lesson PowerPoint says that "wikis breed experts." When I first heard her say that, I had a very negative reaction to the statement. Having explored some wikis and read some articles, I find there may be more truth in the statement than I first thought. Some of the wikis I've seen, however, have only rudimentary, surface information randomly organized. I'm eager to see what develops with more use of the tool.

pwestkott said...

This week's session has certainly opened up for me more insight into a Web 2.0 classroom's learning and expectations. Vicky Davis's work is impressive. (Thank you for sharing it with us, Dave!)

She clearly expects her students to routinely respond to, "So what do you think?" And, not only in terms of collaborating on inclass/ on-line projects. I believe her students will wisely consider what they "publish" so they won't be questioned or dismissed by potential employers for foolish behavior. Through her "6 Pillars" and the rubric, Vicky clearly spells out expectaions for us all.
I especially like how she calls the Web 2 classroom, an "adaptive classroom".

The Wiki process demands synthesis and evaluation. Maybe that's what Vicky meant when she said, "Wikis breed experts". I, too, considered her comment, MSaunders. Thank you for sharing how Lynn Spencer advised developing wikis. I think her wisdom will be helpful to me.

In addition to baby steps, Wikis require accountability by noting time and date something is edited and by whom.

I've tried thinking of ways to bring this to my own practice. I'm considering how students can develop a math dictionary - text initially and then adding graphics. Also, I'm planning in my head how to establish an online PLC for writing through a Wiki. The intended audience is my colleagues at school and beyond. That beats trying to coordiante everyone's schedules to meet regularly in person.

In closing, I forgot to mention, Pam B., how you noted that we need to prepare students to "protect themselves", not only in reaction to what they can access now but to what hasn't even been imagined. I wonder, too, if the greatest dilemma we "adults" face isn't hiding behind the limitations (lack of available technology, filtering what kids access, etc.) but our own discomfort of how rapidly things keep changing and the fear of "can we keep up". Well, we keep trying!!!!

Scott Rollins said...

I will be the first to admit that I had no idea what a Wiki was, so I found this session extremely informative! I’ve used Wikipedia several hundred times and I never made the connection. I do enjoy the freedom that Wikipedia offers us as users, but as a teacher I’m also a bit skeptical of this freedom. I mentioned on the EDC 920 blog, about a 60 Minutes segment I saw about Wikipedia. In a nutshell it mentioned a few times where incorrect facts were posted and not changed for several days/weeks. I know that Wikipedia is constantly adding fact checkers, so hopefully this won’t be an issue in the future. I was amazed this year by how many of my students went to Wikipedia immediately for facts; it’s definitely becoming a household word, kind of like how Google has become the popular search engine for kids. Has anyone else noticed this?

I will also admit that I’m drawing a bit of a blank on how I could use one for my classes. I’m sure that as the school year begins and I research a few other Wikis I’ll develop some ideas. I’m sure my “summer vacation” mentality is not helping!! I do however see a Wikis as something my department could put to good use. Being an elective, we are constantly adding and revising courses. This usually takes place in very long meetings, mostly for hours after school. I think that if we created a department Wiki, we could do the revising and adjusting from the comforts of our own house…would probably cut down on some of the arguing as well!

Building on some of my classmates ideas, I think a Wiki for new teachers would be a great idea. It might be something that could be introduced at New Teacher Orientation. I remember coming from a high school in NY to one in RI; I had a ton of questions about state education policies, trends, learning standards, etc. It would have been great to have a place to ask questions, read up on policies, and collaborate with other new and veteran teachers at SK. As anyone who has worked in a large HS knows, sometimes you go weeks without seeing some other colleagues.

I’ve definitely become a believer in how a blog will work for my classes, so I’m optimistic that the Wiki idea will work for me as well.

Jennifer Geller said...

I spent some time today setting up a wiki for my crew team that rows out of the Narragansett Boat Club. I thought we could use a wiki for scheduling because we're a six person team for a four person boat. After reviewing several options which I'll summarize below, I used pb wiki. Our address is http://eveningmasters.pbwiki.com. I didn't know if everyone would think it was overly geeky but most of the team has tried it and found it really easy and fun. I'm actually feeling like wikis have just as many if not more possibilities than blogs. There seem to be a few, routine ways of using blogs whereas I am starting to think of a million ways to use a wiki. Everything could be a wiki! Also, I think they won't be blocked the way blogs are in my district. He he.

Anyway, I chose pb wiki after looking at wet paint, wiki spaces and seedwiki. I started with wet paint and actually registered for an account, but I didn't like that our wiki had to be a sub page of wet paint. It also seemed too commercial for my taste. Seedwiki's site was very messy and difficult even to look at on the screen. I was concerned at first about using pb wiki because of the cautions Pam mentioned, but the new release addresses all of them. It also seemed from Will's description that it was going to involve some coding, but I guess that is what the new "click and point" editor eliminates because I didn't have to do any of the things Will describes. PB does have an RSS feed and any changes made to the site are emailed to me. You are also able to look back at the history of the pages, though it is easy to overlook this feature if you don't know to look for it because it is in a very light font at the bottom of the page. All in all creating the wiki was very intuitive.

Earlier in the course someone mentioned something to the effect of kids already collaborate too much...I hope I'm not misquoting because I cannot remember who said it or where I read it. I would argue that I have seen fairly few instances of students truly collaborating even though I provide those opportunities as a matter of course in my classes. "Group work" is not necessarily collaborating. I think wikis could help group work become more collaborative by making the collaboration more concrete. Each member could have a space on the wiki and having to collaborate through writing rather than talking, which devolves so quickly into gossiping, might make the process more tangible for students.

Anonymous said...

Tom Carney

This session was a clear and informative explanation about the difference between a wiki and a blog. I know that I keep heading back to the same place with each session (how can I use this in my own classroom) but that’s what we’re here for, right? I immediately thought about the potential uses for a wiki in my reading classes. Last school year I found myself wishing that I had perfect recollection of some of the insightful discussions that we have had about novels like The Outsiders and The Giver in the past. This session made me wonder if it would be beneficial to keep a wiki running for certain novels that I teach year to year. Wouldn’t it be great if the students could have access (after reading to a certain point first) to the comments made by previous students? Then they could edit and post their own thoughts and ideas, research/links they’ve uncovered, and themes to explore. I’m not sure exactly how this would work out, but it seems that a continual post would enhance common ideas and encourage deeper insights.

The one concern that I am starting to have as all of these great ideas surface in these sessions is: when will I have enough time to implement all of this? I am afraid that I am going to have to pick and choose between which of these ideas that I will have time to implement next year, and the choices will be difficult ones.

Dave Fontaine said...



famous said...

I actually have been using wikis for a while, but to be honest, not to their full potential as a collaborative tool.
I think there are many uses for this in the classroom.
Originally, I set up my wiki as a "read it forward" tool, since my library's home page didn't allow me to include a form, I thought this would be a way to do it.
I never managed to implement it. It's one of the drawbacks of not having a classroom setting when trying to use new tools.
OTOH - This October was the third year I gave a workshop on Graphic Novels to NYC librarians during our fall conference. Each year, I went paperless by burning CDs with handouts, links, and the PPT presentation.
This year, I posted all the information on the wiki.
I believe it was a smart way to go.
And I've been updating it as I go along. I should invite colleagues to add information - though I would want it to be a protected environment.

Librarians said...

Famous - as Hamlet says, Aye, there's the rub! I haven't finished reading everything (I am the weekend warrior) but I find myself coming back to that thought - I do want some protection too. I like the idea of creative commons better, where you create and share. I haven't read yet about how wikis protect sabotaged comments (I assume it's some software program that pings you) but does it ping the original creator or every creator?

I kind of think that it depends on the format. Like if I created a wiki on say, Greek Mythology I might not want it touched but if I went in on a class project about Greek Myths I don't know if it would bother me as much. It really is the most out there app in Web 2.0 and it takes some getting used to - for me.
Lisa Casey aka ride7420@ride.ri.net

Reading blog said...

his session was very informative. I never realized how wikis could be used as a good thing. I have only heard about wikipedia until today. Teachers tell students not to use wikipedia for their projects because anyone can change the information. I haven’t thought how it could be used in the classroom as a learning tool. The students could have a class wiki.

I liked the example on the powerpoint about the community wiki. I thought that was a great idea. Everyone in the community could take part. It reminded me of a local newspaper, The Valley Breeze.

I’m not sure I’m ready to start a wiki yet but at least now I know the benefits to it. I also didn’t realize that you could use the “history” feature on the wiki. I think that’s a great idea. You could change the wiki back to the orginal content. I was wondering, is there a way to see who changed the information on the wiki?

It’s amazing how many tools there are that could be useful in the classroom, that I’ve never heard of.

Reading blog said...

After some initial problems I posted my comment for last week on last weeks post.

Anonymous said...

My initial reaction to using wikis with high school students was fear. Anyone can change the work of others?! I could just imagine what mayhem can ensue. I found this session very informative. There are many aspects of wikis that I did not understand (including the “history” page). I wonder if we will explore Wikipedia more in future sessions? Teachers in my school are completely anti-wikipedia. I think most have read a couple of articles about how colleges have banned the use of wikipedia and they have jumped on the bandwagon. They freak whenever they see a kid on the page and are appalled when I don’t do the same. I do advise students not to cite Wikipedia in their bibliographies, but I do think it is OK to use it as a starting place for quick background information. I really would like to do a lesson surrounding wikipedia and how editing/discussion/history pages can give us clues to the reliability of the information.

Going into this session I was pondering what the difference was between wikis and blogs. Vicki Davis’ summary was helpful (wiki=facts blog=opinion). Her video offered some interesting points. I especially took note of how she feels that computer education today doesn’t necessarily teach students to work in a world where what they post on the internet actually has an impact on their futures. Web 2.0 in the classroom can help foster responsibility and ethics. I like that Davis actually teaches wiki-ethics. She also stresses how wikis should be verifiable to some extent- by including many hyperlinks within posts as well as citation information.

The Advanced Placement teachers in my school often lament how state testing and new graduation requirements shave days and weeks off of time spent in the classroom. All of this making it difficult to get through materials students will need to know for the national AP exam. I wonder how a class wiki could “extend” the school day beyond 2:10.

Maria said...

"Curiosity Quotient + Passion Quotient > Intelligence Quotient." This was an inspiring quote from Vicky Davis's video and the book entitled "The World is Flat". I feel like with web 2.0 technologies, curiosity and passion for learning has been ignited among many students and educational leaders all around the world, including myself. (I'm interested in reading that book now. Anyone read it?)

I like the use of wikis in an educational setting as much as blogging, albeit for different uses. The video, examples and readings speak for themselves as the use of wikis was discussed and shown in depth in this session. I'd like to try a social studies focus with my grade four students and teachers and create a wiki about Rhode Island (4th grade unit of study) and its history. It'd be interesting to see how a wiki like this would develop over the course of a year or even several years. I have a few 4th grade teachers who are really interested in integrating technology in their teaching. It'd be a great first attempt to try building a wiki with them.

I also think a wiki would be a great tool for creating grade level planning "meetings" or environments since educators can add their ideas, share their difficulties and show their successes to a group of people with the same interest. Students can actively build on their learning experiences through collaboration.

Wikis could also be useful in presenting my district's professional development workshops. It would be very interesting to create an online manual for the different workshops offered each year. Being able to read what other teachers contributed in past years while actively adding or changing content to meet current needs and practices would make for an interesting learning experience.

All of these examples and readings over the course of this session make me wonder what impact web 2.0 technologies will have on curriculum development, staff development, and even teacher education programs at the college level. I know that in my own experience, I am working to change the way I teach, what I teach and how I involve my students in their own learning experiences. I'm all for a classroom 2.0 experience. Bring on the creativity and passion for learning and watch how intelligent our students (and ourselves) become!

Dave Fontaine said...


Anonymous said...

Susan Tennett Adams
I just read "Minds on Fire", and I wonder: How much time do we, classroom teachers, have before we become obsolete?

sizelanm@ride.ri.net said...

I still find it overwhelming!! The amount of information on Bloggs and Wikis!!! The video was great but so much to remember. I wonder about all the editing done by so many?

joannak said...

Joanna Knott
4-6 Librarian
New Oxford, PA

I've played around with Wikis to some extent, but nothing like the samples I've just looked through! I think wikis have such potential in the classroom, but teachers find it difficult to give up some level of quality control. In my district, at least, it's as if a wiki is the lowest of resources. Teachers shun them and snub their noses at the idea of free-reign editing. What's more, very few of them have ever actually seen, used, or contributed to a wiki.

I think wikis could be used in so many ways, particularly in the library setting. Book clubs can collaborate on a wiki, allowing viewers to search other books by the same author or other books with a similar theme. Students can also post to a "must read" or "my favorite book" wiki. The district librarians can pull resources, links, and ideas into one valuable wiki. I'm sure I could go on!

I wonder...
If a class is working collaboratively on a wiki, will editing changes be lost? For instance, can only one person edit a wiki at a time? Let's say Student A and Student B are both in a wiki's edit mode. A makes changes and uploads. B is still editing the original wiki. When B uploads, A's changes will be gone again, right?

A Pisani said...

Just as I never considered a blog as an educational tool for my classroom, I would have never thought of using a wiki in my classroom, either! However, this session completely changed my outlook. Granted, there was a great deal of information to sort through, (and I left some of that for a later date), but I was sold as soon as I looked at the suggested uses for Math at the TeachersFirst "wiki walk through." Having students collaborate to solve a challenging problem, or share proofs (just to name a couple of examples) are such terrific ways to utilize this type of technology in a math classroom.
Of course, I do also have concerns. My primary concern with using a wiki would revolve around trust and maturity. I feel that most of my high school students would be able to handle the responsibility, but not all of them are ready to be set loose on something like this. Even on my moderated blog I have had to deal with extremely inappropriate comments. (Thankfully I was moderating the blog and prevented the comments from being posted.) While certain wiki tools will allow the wiki "owner" to create complex rules governing content, I believe that that contradicts the purpose of a wiki: that being community controlled content. The way that I would "need" to use the wiki makes me feel like it would not be very different from the blog I currently have.
On another note....
In response to Joanna K.'s question regarding editing, I really think that is more of a software issue. If it is a "good" wiki, I would imagine that it would post both comments, or merge the two.

A Pisani said...

I remembered reading this a while back...thought some of you might want to take a look:

Anne Howard said...

I just read the New Yorker article Andrea recommended; thank you for the link. The author made many points , but the most damaging piece of information, and the one that is the reason most teachers hesitate to recommend Wikipedia to their students, was the addenda. One of the things we do is teach our students about internet safety and part of that instruction deals with the validity of on-line identities.

I think the greatest value and validity of a wiki is in how educators use the technology. With a teacher's oversight, a wiki can be created, edited, and used as a resource by other students. Just as I teach my students how to validate any other website, I will now include instruction on how to judge the validity of a wiki.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Okay, I can't keep track of all my accounts and logins, that is why I deleted the post above and am re-posting it under the account the I am using for this class.

After reading this week's session, I was really excited about creating a wiki for my library. I started playing around with it and I can't believe how easy it is.

I wonder if teachers will be willing to collaborate in a wiki and I wonder how students will react to a library wiki. After all, they've repeatedly been told not to use or always trust the reliablity of infomation that they get from the only wiki they know - Wikipedia.

Anne Howard said...

After all the reading I've done and the sites I've looked at, I decided to work on the wiki I started for my library. Now I could use some advice from the group. I have an 8th grade class that is getting ready to begin scriptwriting. What do you think of the idea of having them work on this through a wiki? Each group would have their own page and I wouldn't have to worry about having them give an e-mail address to be able to use some other free scriptwriting site. I would moderate it so there wouldn't be the possibility of anyone ruining what they have already done. I need them to work on this outside of class (we only meet once a week) and other than e-mailing amongst themselves, I can't think of any other way for them to collaborate off-campus.

What problems do you see with this and how might I circumvent them if they occur?

Thanks for the input.

FHS Library said...

Kim Crotty
Library Grades 9-12

I was introduced to Wiki's by another classroom teacher in my building right at the beginning of this class. I wasn't exactly sure I understood the difference between a wiki and a blog. When she showed me the wiki she created I found it to be a bit confusing. After this weeks readings I have a better understanding of the differences between blogs and wikis and how wikis can be used in a classroom. I think they are a fabulous tool for promoting collaboration; and since teaching collaboration is a key skill in the 21st century what an engaging way to promote and encourage it. I understand everyone's hesitation to use these tools and why wikipedia is frowned upon but I believe as time goes on and these tools are improved our fears and hesitations will be gone.

One heavy load I need to continually remind myself to get rid of is the burden of not using all of these tools at once. Just when I thought I knew how to teach, things are beginning to change dramatically. I often wonder how some educators and schools are so much more advanced with these tools and the Web 2.0 and how did they get there so fast? I feel like I'm working at a pretty progressive and affluent school district but when I look at what some schools and teachers are doing, I feel like we are in the caveman era compared to others.

Leilani Coelho said...

I am very excited about this session because I have little knowledge and experience with wiki's. The only wiki I know of is wikipidia and until now I was very apprehensive toward using it. Once I heard anyone could edit it's content I assumed it was not a good source and avoided it. Session 8 gave me the history and knowledge I needed to understand and value the use of wikis.

Just like anything else there are positives and negatives to wikis. What I like most about wikis is that people collaboratively create the content. What I like least is that it's a target for vandalism. However there seems to be a strong community that works against vandalism. I also like that community works to weed out biased posts.

I think I am going to take a stab at wikis by creating showcase of kindergarten work. From there I hope to explore and build a better site for students to learn collaboratively. I wonder if anyone has any ideas about how I can use a wiki in a Kindergarten class.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Berenberg
Reading Teacher
Grades 3-5
Session 8

The Minds on Fire article brought a lot of questions to mind. I wonder how higher education is going to meet the demands of today's careers. Are the higher learning institutes going to be equipped and financially backed in order to prepare today's youth for a successfull profession? Our economy is rapidly getting worse and how are new universities going to acquire the funds needed to support proper education.

Maybe the OER movement will help support the education of today's society. The Web 2.0 has created a median for social networking and has changed the path we take to learning. The material stays the same however, the means for instruction and communication is constantly changing. I wonder what Web 3.0 will have to offer. Also, if there are cyberclasses available, will the tution remain the same? How credible will these courses and degrees be to potential employers?

Cooperative learning, group work, and communication are three sucessfull components in social and academic growth. Web 2.0 has developed new technologies that encourage these areas and provide access to new knowledge and tools.

The world of Wikis also provides a way to participate on the internet. There are many tabs that integrate discussion, topic analysis, and editing.I also like the history page which allows educators to filter the material and manage the information.

Continually improving on pre-existant material is important however, I wonder what assessments have been used to evaluate Wikis. Can we evaluate Wikis with a similar checklist as a Web Page? Or should we use Wikis for different objectives opposed to looking for research?

Rosemary Driscoll said...

Once again, I'm feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information from this session.
I agree completely with Kim's comments. I too need to realize that I cannot simply start using blogs, podcasts, wikis and other web 2.0 tools with expertise overnight. The presentations we've seen and articles we've read about how these technologies are being used so successfully in the classroom are inspiring and something - for me - to aspire to. I'm certain they all started of small. Like Vicky Davis says in her excellent presentation "you can't swallow a watermelon whole."
Like Kim, I'll reming myself of this.
Before I began session 8, I wondered to myself wheter or not students really learn much content using these tools or are they more engaged by the bells and whistles.
I think, in the case of wikis anyway, it appears the answer is yes. Student's seem to not only learn but perhaps master content
while learning about the bells and whistles as well.
I'm apprehensive bit inspired to begin experimenting with wikis.

Joan O'Halloran said...

Joan O'Halloran

I'd first like to respond to Anne - I think having your students begin using a wiki in this way is wonderful. Each week, I share some bits of information that I have learned from this class. (They are amazed to learn that I am a student as well as a teacher!) This week we briefly discussed how technology is/will influence the ways that people communicate. We talked about how they may work with people that they may never actually speak with. How might that affect the way that you write? Everyone decided that this gave new meaning to the term "clarity." Several students are very interested in exploring this technology in an eduational setting. I think writing a script is a great way to use this technology. My school district blocks this technology - while this frustrates me it also removes the burden of making these decisions.

My students definitely do not see a connection between what they write and how they are perceived. To me, the most powerful reason to embrace web 2.0 technology is to make your learning collaborative as well as public. Our students are already using this technology - without the benefit of informed guidance. I make a point of providing/requiring at least two sources of information in my class - I am reasonably sure that my students do not transfer those standards to other information that they review. I struggle daily to have my student write an answer that reflects their knowledge.
My first challenge is to decide how to best use web 2.0 to prepare my students for success. With Deliverable 3 in mind, I am beginning to form a position. As a middle school, we need the ability to take advantage of all aspects of the read/write web. As a science teacher, I would like to start out using a wiki to establish an ongoing study guide for the Science NECAP testing and a blog to focus on other skills. Start small - I am learning too!

At this point, I feel comfortable dealing with most of the up and down sides of web 2.0. The unpredictability of middle school-age students concerns me. One day they seem quite mature and the next day they can be quite different.

On the up-side, I no longer fear Wikipedia!

Jennifer Long said...

Here's an interesting wiki. Thoughtful project for high school students:

Discoveryisms by Benjamin Wilkoff


Teacher challenges his gifted & talented students to define sense of self and to defend it against those with other belief systems

-student responses to teacher-generated outline, with questions for self-reflection

-student’s original seal (created at http://says-it.com/seal/)

-belief web (created at gliffy.com)- like Inspiration software; 5 free public diagrams, then fee structure

-embedded music playlists (created at http://www.projectplaylist.com/
copyright issues?)


-Clustr map of visitors to the site (created at http://clustrmaps.com/getone.php)

Questions/thoughts I had while experiencing this wiki:

Playlists-- created on a website featuring other people's playlists, not edited for content. If we guide students to make school-appropriate choices for their playlists, do we still have to worry that they can so easily browse inappropriate playlists? Also, are there copyright issues associated with playing the chosen songs?

Student seal: Very interesting idea; allows student to express him/herself through a graphic, self-created motto, and color choices. One student chose a hand pointing a handgun for a symbol-- How much freedom do we give our students? Do images chosen violate school safety policies, or since it's just an image, do we allow it as self-expression?

Mrs. Z. said...

Hello All,

I really enjoyed this session as it solved a recent problem that I had.

I have set up a wiki space for lit circles. It was initially set up because blogs aren't accessible at school, but wikispaces is. Over the last few weeks, we used the wiki more in the "discussion" mode for students to post their questions, reflections, predictions, etc. I post a heading, and they respond to each other's comments--kind of like an on-line dicussion. However, I decided to also use the collaborative tool (what it's really meant for!) by posting guiding/essential questions for their books, and having the students answer them. It was interesting because they didn't necessarily edit each other's comments (mainly because I wanted to see all of their answers), but they did correct each other. I thought this was very useful, especially for those who misinterpreted the text. These students were able to see all of the other students answers, but they didn't plagiarize. They simply referenced each other's ideas.

Also, in addition to doing some type of creative presentation (skit, commercial, talk show, etc.), I have had them use the wiki to provide story grammar--setting, characters, plot, theme, etc. They are working in groups to edit their book's page together. This is where I had my problem.

Yes, Joanna Knott, you can overwrite each other's work if on at the same time. Here's where Vicky Davis helped me out. She addressed this in her video (thanks for this, Dave!). I found that a message would pop up at times telling students that they would be overwriting the last post. We did go back to the history and were able to see what was posted, so all was not lost, but it was very confusing. At that moment, I told students to create their portion in a word document, then we cut and pasted it on the main page. I think by keeping the page open too long created some issues. Vicky suggested quick editing and using the history to cut and paste. I have to become more familiar with this, and I'm planning to "play around" with the spaces with our librarian. Vicky also suggested "refreshing" the page before editing. I have been honest with the students in letting them know that I'm learning about wikis along with them, and they are always ready to help me.

Right now, our space is private, but I have another idea in mind for an interdisciplinary unit, and I'd like to open it up for viewing if not editing by everyone.

The possibilities are great, but I still have to wrap my head around assessment. I liked Vicki's rubric, but I still wonder how I would manage it all. Also, I anticipate that adding hyperlingks to pages, etc. must be very time consuming.

I did like the idea of creating study guides. As we all know, the best way to learn something is to teach it. I have been struggling a bit this year with developing students' study skills. They don't memorize! (I don't have them do this often--vocab maybe and grammar, but they don't have great strategies.) The wiki study guide has given me some ideas.

I'll let you know how the lit circle wiki pages worked out next time; they're due tomorrow.

Steph Z.

Jennifer Long said...

In our district (Newport, R.I.), we currently have a wiki for library media specialists in the system. We're using it to post our library curriculum documents, and edit, in a collaborative effort to develop and map a K-12 library curriculum. We are focusing on K-5 now, but hope to add 6-12 in the future.

We currently use our blog to post our opinions and keep track of projects, and we use our wiki to post and edit documents. We have not used the discussion feature of the wiki.

We are using pbwiki for the curriculum project. The page is private, open only to members for viewing and editing. We have had some trouble with logins, and we are just about to exceed our free space. We're thinking of using wikispaces or Google Docs instead.

After watching the videos from Vicky Davis and Mark Wagner about wikis, it looks like wikispaces is a good choice (and I like the option of an ad-free wikispace for teachers). A colleague of mine suggested Google Docs, and we've spent only a few minutes glancing at the site. Seems intriguing. Is it a true wiki? Are there benefits or limitations associated with this service? Anyone successfully or unsuccessfully used Google docs?

JPolinick said...

I think that Wikis and blogs can be a very useful tool for teachers and students alike. It seems that I tend to lean toward blogs in regards to students for safety, control, and appropriate content reasons, but I can see wikis as a great tool for staff development and engagement. I just used a wiki for something that I would have never even thought of 2 weeks ago. I had to come up with uniform list to pass out to all of the coaches across the state. The list had to be created with another coach. I posted the main ideas and we both edited/reivised the product. It was very easy, useful and a big time saver. There was no waiting between emails. You just keep returning to the site with every new idea. I am trying to think of an interesting way to incorporate a wiki into the classroom. I have one listed on the blog, but have yet to add content. I like the idea of a classroom dictionary posted by pwestkott last semester. What I really found interesting this session was the article "Minds on Fire. The fact that a new university/college must be created each week to keep up with current demand and population was staggering. It is inevitable that online teaching and learning will take an evergrowing role in the way knowledge is dispersed. The article also stated that Second life offered courses on three levels of participation. Students could attend the class in person, enroll in the class through an extension school and interact through Second Life, and finally people could just review the lectures adn course material online at no cost. I think this is where education is heading. An educational scheme where internet based education coexist with traditional education. We are basically part of that trend while taking this class. I wonder what my job will be like in 10 years?

bream said...

I thought that I had a good handle on wikis until I got into this weeks readings and power point. I realize that I didn't know as much as I thought. I really like the idea of wikis. I understand the drawbacks, however I think that I like the idea more than blogs. With blogs a teacher might have more control, but it seems to be more teacher lead than wikis. It seems that wikis would be more appealling to students. I think there would be much more collaboration on wikis than on a blog. I have a blog set up for one of my classes and they are having trouble logging on and really aren't very excited about it. We begin new classes in a week and I would like to set up a wiki for one of my classes to see if students respond more to it than to my blog.

I have played around a little bit with wetpaint and I like the ease of it. It was very easy to set up and navigate. I have also played around with WikiSpaces during an inservice at my school. I would like to check out PBWiki before i decide which one I will use for my classroom wiki.

A Pisani said...

In response to Anne's question about using a wiki as a tool for a scriptwriting project, I think it sounds like a great format to use. I wish I had more experience using wikis so that I could think of potential problems...
For the assignment itself, I would want to make sure the group sets deadlines for submitting their parts to the wiki, while also laying some ground rules for editing. Now that I think of it, this might even be something you do in a whole class discussion so every group is working from the same set of rules decided upon and agreed upon by everyone.
I'd love to hear how this works because it sounds great!