Tuesday, July 8, 2008

921-Session 10-Collective Intelligence

You may read past participants' comments from previous semesters here.

You may have noticed that I have added a cool feature to the blog. You can now double click on any word on the blog and you will be prompted with more details. The possibilities for a tool like this are astronomical when using edublogs in the classroom. Any word used by the 'blog author' or 'comment poster' can be defined w/o a student leaving the page. Give it a try.

I thought I'd take a moment to go over the schedule for the rest of the semester.

  • Session 11 will be posted on 7/15

  • Session 12----on 7/22

  • Deliverable #3 should be completed and posted under S12's comments before 7/29 (as well as placed on the wiki)

  • Session 13----will be comprised of your finshed projects which are due by midnight, Friday, Aug. 1st.

Please don't wait until the last minute to contact me if you have any questions.

There is a renewed movement underway from schools, businesses, and universities. They are giving 'Collective Intelligence' a closer look. From MIT's new 'Center for Collective Intelligence,' to businesses using wikis within their internal networks, to schools using Collective Intelligence resources and tools in the K-12 setting---we will look at all of these examples, as well as discuss their long term implications during this session.

Keep in mind while you are viewing this session that your Deliverable 3 will be due, and posted, under the comment section of Session 12, as well as posted to the wiki. Additionally, keep in mind that the deadline for your Final Project is fast approaching.

As always, feel free to contact me if you ever have additional questions or comments.



CHSEinfo said...

Ami Sinclair
Session #10

I skimmed through this session because I am leaving on vacation and will not have access to a computer until the end of next week. I will have to dive into it deeper when I return. After learning about all these different resources it is going to be strange not being able to access the Internet. Collective Intelligence makes so much sense because there is so much on the computer that helps us out on an everyday basis. Being on vacation and not having access almost makes me feel lost since I go on the Internet every day.

It really was unbelievable that an agency like the CIA would have a wiki. It is great to see that agencies like the CIA and schools like Stanford are using wikis because these would be great sites to show administrators how wikis and blogs could be helpful in school.

I really enjoyed curriki.org. I ended up spending more time then I wanted to. I really enjoyed the AAAmath, AAAspelling, and AAAwhere-geography. I am always trying to find educational sites for the students to use when they say they have nothing to do and that they will find enjoyable. I never have a problem at home when accessing sites like this. I will most likely have a problem when I try them at school. I am going to have to try all these sites out in the fall.

Thinking of deliverable #3 and having all these great sites and resources will hopefully make it easier when trying to explain to the administrators about how these tolls will be used in the classroom and how helpful and educational they can be.

Brooke said...

As I read through the materials this week I felt as Amy does that Collective Intelligence makes sense. We want our students to interact with the ideas and materials we provide them in order to understand new concepts at a deeper level. I know for myself that I learn best when I process new ideas with other people. Before I post a comment here, I usually read what others have written, because it makes me think about the material from a different point of view. Wikis, more so than blogs, seem to foster this collaborative approach.

I was all set this morning to write about the different ways in which I might use this with my students, but as I watched the teacher tube video posted on the blog and reflected back on session 10, I was struck by how useful they would be for some of the professional associations to which I belong. In all fairness, some of them have been using wikis for awhile but I haven't fully realized their potential. I am thinking it would be extremely useful when we are updating a mission statement or working on other shared documents. I could also see it being useful when you live in a large state (unlike RI) where it is difficult to meet in person or for a regional/national organization.

jack'sblog said...

In a moment, I am going to wax rhapsodic about the multitudinous ways in which wikis can be used in the classroom, but I cannot let two quotes from Session 10 slip by without commenting on them. First is Dave's eloquent observation that collective intelligence "restores the power of the people over their society and neutralizes the power of vested interests that manipulate information to concentrate wealth." Regardless of whether that belief is quixotic (I believe those same vested interests are the driving force behind Web 2.0 --speculate, invest, promote, profit, concentrate wealth) or pragmatic, it is the most convincing argument I've heard yet to delve fully into these practices. Second is the Teacher Tube narrator's comment that in homogenuous groups "Everybody thinks alike and ideas are the same." That comment is not only blatantly apocryphal, but it epitomizes the shameless, spurious, propaganda those very same "vested interests" regularly employ for their profit, and I found it to be an insult to my intelligence, ergo offensive. Finally, the soporific Friedman podcast is helpful if you can hang in, but if it's an example of the "new pedagogy" replacing the old, than I have to cite a lyric from the Who: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...We won't get fooled again." Maybe some editing would be helpful. There were some excellent tips in there, however.
I have many ideas for using wikis in the classroom. For instance, students can create word banks from their assigned readings, complete with definitions, parts of speech, synonyms, and sentences inclusive of the vocabulary on the wikis. They can research historical figures, events, themes, etc. related to novels they read and include that information, in the form of an expository composition, on the wiki. Other writing projects could include researching local businesses, such as health clubs, salons, restaurants, etc. and writing reviews pertaining to best bargains, products, services, etc. They could write and post on class wikis book, cd, and DVD reviews. They could also create a similar informational page about their school or school in general -- write about the most effective way to choose the right college or find and procure college grants and scholarships; what all incoming freshman should know about school policies and procedures, etc. There are endless possibilities, and I'm sure more ideas will surface as each school year progresses. The most important point is that students will be researching and writing. Whether or not this is all logistically possible with the technological limitations in both the school and classroom, and with administrative restrictions and mandates, is another issue which will have to be tackled later.

Mrs. Matarese said...

Session 10 Comments

The Washington Post article, “A Brave New Wikiworld,” by C. R. Sunstein referred to the “unstoppable movement toward shared production of information, as diverse groups of people in multiple fields pool their knowledge and draw from each other’s resources.” That comment sums up the notion of a wiki perfectly. The fact that organizations such as the CIA and NASA, as well as prestigious universities, employ wikis adds to the credibility of them. Like Brooke, I could see myself using wikis with colleagues for professional development purposes. Additionally, I can think of many classroom uses too. A wiki, in my mind, is a new and improved, high tech version of “chalk talk.” It is deeper, more interactive and the possibilities are endless!

I do, however, have reservations about wikis, as they are subject to manipulation and “vandalism” as Sunstein says. To some extent, all of the wiki users act as watchdogs in a checks-and-balances way. However, since there are no real fact checkers for a wiki, users must be critical evaluators of the information found on a wiki. While this may be a natural part of the information gathering process for an adult, students must be taught explicitly how to be discerning learners.

Erin Wright said...

Reading Specialist
Coventry: Grades 3-5 (Got the job!)

Session 10 Comments:

Collective intelligence is a new idea to me. I have always thought it referred to the way ants or bees seemed to all share thoughts; like if you angered one bee, the whole bunch would materialize out of nowhere-each one with an attitude. I guess it’s kind of like the same thing with CI. When we use wikis, we can share in the collective knowledge of people who share the same interests quickly and easily.

Jack had some great ideas for the use of wikis to create CI. I especially liked the idea of the word banks. I might use this idea when working on a particular book. We could even create a mini-wikipedia encyclopedia type and call it “The Everything (insert book title here) Wiki.”

Many reading specialists are being asked to present resources for the classroom teachers. A wiki set up by a reading specialist would be an excellent information port that teachers could reference and contribiute to. The collective intelligence of the whole faculty would greatly surpass the knowledge of any one teacher. The potential for this type of tool is limitless.


Joanne D. said...

This session included several thought provoking example of wikis used for a variety of purposes. Although I did find value in most of them, I also found some flaws. I have a bit of trouble with the idea of collective intelligence encouraging a not-so-creative population of web users. For example, on the Stanford University wiki there is a link to ideas for dates. I couldn't help thinking how this collected intelligence could backfire. Not to mention that knowing how most students at Stanford are bright, motivated young people who are encouraged--actually required-- to think on their own, this wiki to be less appealing and beneficial.

I did find useful information in the Mark Wagner video and in the Freedman podcast. I know that I will be using the Freedman ideas when I draft and edit Deliverable #3. I appreciate the ideas that Freedman passes and agree that having a structure plan that can be presented to busy people in a brief meeting is the best way to advocate for using web 2.0 tools in the classroom. I also appreciate Freedman passing on the importance of planning ahead using a pilot program and objection analysis.

I'll wrap up with a question about something mentioned in the Wagner video. One of Wagner's colleagues was talking about using protected pages on wiki. How do you design a "protected" page on a wiki?

Dave Fontaine said...

In response to Joanne's question above about how to 'protect a wiki page' each wiki service has the ability, but each is a little different. In wikispaces, after you have logged in you can look to the right and see a 'manage space' option; from there choose 'list pages' and this gives you (the administrator) the ability to 'lock' a page. You can also 'protect' an entire wiki, but this option is given when you signup for an account.

Jeannine said...

Session 10 Comments
Collective Intelligence
In the Washington Post article Cass R. Sustein stated that falsehoods are no laughing matter and can cause serious mistakes. To avoid pranks or vandals from causing damages to the medical and biotech sites why not do some sort of background check on an individual before they are allowed to contribute or edit information? It seems crazy and scary to me that they would allow just anyone to edit their wiki sites. I know it was mentioned a few times that there are many people who monitor and reverse incorrect information but some things are bound to slip through, human error.

The Terry Freedman podcast and Mark Wagner video were very helpful. I found it easier to focus on the video, which was comical and informative, than the podcast. This is something I will keep in mind when working with teachers and students in my district. I liked Mark Wagner’s wife, Eva’s, ideas on how she uses wikis. She uses it to place all the online information that supports their reading program in one area. This is what I plan to do in my district as a way of introduction staff to wikis.

I have a question for anyone - How do you work, prepare for tomorrow’s lesson/presentations, clean the house, feed the family, raise small children who always want your undivided attention, etc. and then still find the time to work on a wiki/blog? I personally don’t get to the computer until ten at night, when my brain is fried and I’m fighting to keep my head up. I’m not whining, just curious. Any suggestions on how to fit it all in? How do you Dave, or Mark or Terry do it? Looking for any suggestions short of sending my nine month old off to camp.

Ms. DiTusa said...

Comments for session 10

I’d like to comment on the text reading first. The numbers on page 125 are absolutely staggering – 10 billion pages on the web, plans to scan 50 million books from five of the largest research libraries, plans to do the same to 500 million volumes in the Library of Congress… I am just awed by all that we and our students can access within seconds. I just wish that teachers had more time and that students had the necessary equipment and the proper guidance to explore and utilize what is available.

With increased use of technology, I wonder how schools will use their funding in the future. Since an increasing number of teachers seems to be moving toward a paperless classroom, some of the money typically spent on lined paper, journals, exam booklets, pens, pencils, erasers, etc. can be channeled into computers, MP-3s, iPods, webcams, and other tools. Since so much information can be obtained through on-line resources, then textbooks might one day become obsolete, and again, the money spent in a textbook line or on photocopying could enhance a Web 2.0 classroom. However, will this movement toward a more technologically-enhanced classroom expand the existing gap between children of different economic levels? Will students with limited resources be at an even greater disadvantage in the long run if they do not have access to all of these beneficial tools at school or at home? Absolutely. Also, students will have to be prepared to use these tools in their future occupations; if they do not learn now because they do not have the opportunity or the resources, how will the work force be impacted then?

As I read this chapter and as I have gone through all the parts of this course, I have struggled with several issues, about which I have blogged in the past. While reading this chapter, I kept thinking about WHEN. When can I instruct the students about how to use these tools? When can I find more time to learn so that I will know what I’m talking about before I try to teach them (although the kids are often teaching me about technology)? When in the course of a school day will they have time to blog? When is the computer lab available in a consistent way so as to allow me to establish some kind of pattern or consistency? When will I teach all the material on which they are assessed by the state if I am using class time to incorporate technology? When? When? When? Then, as I listened to Freedman’s discussion with his wife in terms of the objection analysis, I was a bit relieved to hear them echo many of my concerns (students are not assessed in these areas, students may not be safe, these tools may not increase achievement, there is an initiative overload, teachers do not have the time or the skills), yet I was impressed by their responses to those concerns. As Freedman explained what to keep in mind while convincing administration about Web 2.0, he said to think about the opposing comments in advance and to be prepared to address them. Well, since the beginning of this course, I have thought and written the opposing comments, so now I will consider how to address those comments, and I will incorporate what I heard in the podcast. Although I am not completely convinced about the use of all Web 2.0 tools and do not yet feel that I should "sell" the concept to my school, I can at least look from a different perspective.

Side comments: As I listened to Freedman’s podcast, which was lengthy, I realized that instruction through a podcast might be a challenge for visual learners, such as myself. I felt the need to see something as I listened, so I took many notes. If I were to use podcasts for instruction, I would probably provide an outline or graphic organizer. Also, as a teacher, I thought about how he delivered information within the podcast in order to enable to listener to follow his train of thought. He provided an overview at the beginning, included transition between subjects, mentioned the number of points about which he’d be speaking within each segment, and provided closure at the end of each. I will try to structure a podcast, or any lesson, for that matter, so that my students can follow along easily. Being a student from time to time tends to remind me about how to be a more effective teacher.

Ms. DiTusa said...

I was so impressed by Mark Wagner's presentation about wikis. It was entertaining as well as informative, and the topic came to life. My reading the same words from a book would not have made the same impact as my viewing the video did - powerful teaching tool. I found the step-by-step information about setting up the wiki especially helpful since I'm a beginner. I definitely appreciate the fact that with a tool such as a wiki, I can go back to it if I missed information the first time around. A presenter's information does not just vanish, never to be used again, as a teacher’s words often do as they waft in one ear and out the other. What a beneficial tool for students to be able to hear or see instructional information as many times as they need.

With anyone having the ability to edit, though, a teacher must constantly check! Quite a chore! As Dave mentioned in the video, he poses questions to students. If he were to add the questions Tuesday morning, a mischievous student could change them or remove them Tuesday afternoon. If Dave doesn't check the wiki again until Thursday, many students could have responded to incorrect questions or might not have responded at all since questions were not even there! Use of wikis requires constantly policing; Dave said he checks daily, but not all teachers can do that.

At the end of the presentation, Mark discussed the benefits and the drawbacks. I agree that engagement and motivation are huge selling points for wikis - I know that I am engaged by all the new Web 2.0 tools and have explored for hours at a time without realizing it - but I can't ignore the fact that the drawbacks that he included are significantly more numerous than the benefits at this point.

Mr. Dudley... said...

Session #10

As many others have commented, I was surprised and amused to find that organizations like NASA and particularly the CIA have wikis. I also was chuckling recently when I discovered that there is a Star Wars wiki called "Wookiepedia."

There have been a number of comments regarding the issue of how a teacher could find the time to manage web 2.0 tools in additional to all of the normal classroom demands. I view this class as a buffet, offering up many web 2.0 tools. However, I don't think that the intent is for every classroom teacher to place every item from the buffet on his/her plate.

Personally speaking, I'm planning on using a blog to be my communication center for myself, my students, and their parents this upcoming school year. I'm not a big fan of podcasts due to their strictly auditory nature, but I would like to incorporate some screencasts into my lessons. Using a classroom wiki for group projects will probably be something that I play with later on down the line -- after I get feel for how much time maintaining a blog will take!

I was pleased to add curriki to my bookmarks.