Tuesday, July 1, 2008

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

You may access past participants' comments here.

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. Each and every one 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.


jack'sblog said...

I am more enthusiastic about using wikis in the classroom and with my colleagues than I am about employing blogs, podcasts and videocasts. The collaborative aspects of wikis make them conducive to group research projects as well as individual entries. For instance, for a potential group research project, I was planning on having my students get in small groups to collaboratively research and write about the history and development of a technological device of their choosing (digital camera, IPod, the ever-infuriating voice mail, high-tech surveillance devices for the NSA and CIA, etc.). They could post their expository compositions to a class wiki. This project would be integrated into an extended unit that would include teaching Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano in tandem (more on this in a minute). However, before doing that, I thought I would cut my teeth with wikis by establishing a page for the English Department, on which my colleagues could post "Best Practices for teaching: Grammar, Indirect Characterization, etc. Or they could include book reviews, suggestions on how not to fall asleep during faculty meetings, etc. There are endless possiblities, and I'm sure my colleagues will love me ;) for that. Back to Bradbury and Vonnegut, who must be rolling over in their graves, God bless them, and I am about to enter an early grave if I keep trying to understand and use this technology. I tried to post, per Dave's request, a paragraph or two on my lesson/unit ideas on the wikidave, English, Grade 10 section but, alas, nothing doing. I did something wrong. My tombstone's epitaph is going to read: "He did something wrong." I also tried to view all of those videos but, alas, "Windows cannot open this file" appeared each time. Surprise, surprise. I know I'm being dragged kicking, screaming, and WHINING into the 21st Century, but if there's one thing I know about technology is that it breaks down frequently, and it often does not work like you would like it to. Makes me long for a No. 2 pencil and a plastic, hand-held sharpener or, better yet, a quill and ink well. Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio? The good news is that I'm as stubborn as I am ignorant, so sooner or later...Most likely later.

jack'sblog said...

Sorry, Mr. Bradbury. You are still living, and the world is better for it. I posted the blog comment before double-checking -- a cardinal sin indeed. It won't happen again.

Lynne Deakers said...

I just wanted to check comments before I listen to Sessions 8 & 9 and I am laughing OUT LOUD!! Every class needs a Jack!! Your comments are right on!(must be my age!!+60) Thanks for the chuckle. I did check out the High School Online Collaborative Writing Wiki referenced on p. 68 of text. I could not resist joining because I had to edit the grammar of a thoughtful post from a student on obesity discrimination. Our principal is a real stickler on grammar and spelling and I see that as part of the learning process for our students. I will be editing 72 students before their post goes live. Maybe I will assign partners to edit each others for spelling and grammar before I review.

Mrs. Matarese said...

Session 9

In the Student Benefits segment of this session, I was very impressed by Sharon Peters, the teacher from Lower Canada College who uses moodle. Her students are clearly engaged and “connected.” I especially enjoyed her interview with Sonny. It reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a friend who works in human resources in the corporate world. In a training session to learn about the new generation of new hires, the facilitator asked the h.r. staff how many friends they have. The answers all ranged from 5 – 25. When asking most people who are 30 or younger, the facilitator said, they answer with numbers ranging from 200 – 500. There is a difference in what one considers “a friend” and social networking sites like myspace are changing the tradition definition of “friend.” Interesting.
I was inspired by Mrs. Cassidy, who was featured in the Teacher Benefits segment. Her primary students even have personal blogs!
I visited wikidave and added a video under the elementary science section. You can see it here: www.learningdemo.com/noaa/lesson07.html
I will be away and will not have access to a computer. I look forward to catching up with everyone next week.

Erin Wright said...

Erin Wright
Reading Specialist
Currently Unemployed (looking!)

Week 8 Comments:

I am intrigued by the idea of using wikis. I think it would be a good practice for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that kids will feel a sense of pride and ownership with a wiki, more so than with a classroom blog. I also don’t see assessment as a big problem. While I do see the truth in the statement that not everything needs to be assessed, I also think it would be easy enough to assess based on the effort level of the kids’ work.

One idea I had about use of wiki was as a novel database. It would be great to take a novel and then have students create a wiki based on the novel and all of its themes and subjects. For example, If we did a wiki on “Breathing Underwater” by Alex Flynn, students could add information about domestic abuse, such as pertinent website resources and help hotlines.

Watching Vicki’s video was a bit overwhelming. It was so packed full of info that I’m sure I will want to refer back to at a later date. I am not prepared to create a wiki space yet. I would rather wait to see what kind of a teaching position I’ll have next and assess the best use of a wiki there before I start. I am going to hang on to Vicki’s advice from South Georgia (I love Southern Wisdom): “You can’t eat a watermelon in one swallow”. But at least I have the watermelon to refer back to later!

Brooke said...

After reading through Session 9, I am intrigued by the use of wiki's in the classroom. I agree with Jack, that I like the fact that they are even more interactive. I am an elementary school librarian and Jack's idea of using wikis to have students work collaboratively on research sounds like a fantastic idea. I have a 5th grade teacher that may be willing to experiment with a research wiki.

As far as posting to Dave's wiki goes. I wrote a paragraph under Elementary English as though I was writing to teachers and faculty about the library curriculum. It's not exactly like the items already posted in that section, so feel free to delete it Dave if this wasn't what you were looking for. It's posted under:http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Elem-English

I have to admit I found it easier than I thought it would be to post links and videos. I am glad I had the practice.

CHSEinfo said...

Ami Sinclair

Reading all the information on this section I really learned what a wiki is and how it can be used in the classroom. This is a great way to have students check other students writing to practice editing. Teachers can type something on the wiki that is incorrect and have the students go on and try to correct it. So many students are afraid of writing. The more practice that students have writing and editing the more comfortable they will become with their own writing.

Wikipedia is a site that many teachers do not allow the students to use for papers and reports. The students love this site because there is so much information on most topics and it is easy for them to understand. I feel that it could be used as long as you teach the students about all websites and finding reliable information.

I went to add to Dave’s wiki and was not sure what I wanted to add. I decided that I would add to the Algebra section. I had a hard time getting it to look like I wanted it to so I only put very little information on the page. This is the like to what I added – Solving Proportions http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/ALGEBRA+l.

Joanne D. said...

Like so many of you have already commented, the prospect of using wikis is exciting and this technology does seem to create a more collaborative environment.

I, too, enjoyed watching the videos by Sharon Peters, Cathy Cassidy and Clarence Fisher( finally got his name this time!) I spent a lot of time thinking about some of the points that Fisher made about literacy in modern times. I agree with his viewpoint, but am a little trouble about one aspect that he mentions--Jack you may appreciate this--the problem I have is with Fisher's call to teach our students to read online. Yes, the difference is clear and the need to skim is clear, but I am not convinced that my students will ever actually "read" from a computer screen. Fisher says that we must teach our students to skim then once they have located what they need we must teach them to participate in "focused reading."

This, I believe, is far more difficult than Fisher proposes. I have difficulty moving from a skimming mode to a focused mode, and I would consider myself an experienced reader using both text and online formats. Any thoughts on this new reading skill Fisher mentions?

I went a little overboard on my post to wikidave. Disclaimer: Even though I included a lot of links many of them are to Wikipedia. This I would definitely change given more time. I expanded on my idea of defining the American Dream. You will find my link-filled paragraph at: http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/English.

Jeannine said...

Session 8 & 9 Comments:

I enjoyed the Grade One classroom wiki, the hockey story. It was great to see how primary elementary students could possibly use wikis in the classroom. The students are using higher level thinking skills such as synthesis and evaluation. I think the discussion aspect is an important element.
The “Why a Wiki” presentation answered many questions I had but I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed with this new area. I feel like I’ve just got a grasp of blogs and am now lost with wikis. Vicki Davis mentioned at the end of her video, “don’t feel overwhelmed with wikis, do something, start somewhere”. I plan on starting in September with blogs and then play with wikis until I feel more comfortable.

I am very curious how the younger students will feel about having their writing changed. The red marking pen is gone from the elementary schools. Is editing or deleting their post similar to the dreaded red pen? How do you keep it fair? Will the advanced students consistently change or edit their struggling peers work? Maybe these questions will get worked out once I begin working with and delving closer into wikis.

I was able to post to two wiki sites. I can’t remember the first one I did, there were so many I looked at. I did add a note and posted a fun video on the evolution of dance from You Tube. If you haven’t seen it, it’s great! It was very user friendly. I also posted a link from Reading Rockets on wikidave- elementary English at http://wikidave.wikispaces.com/Elem-English

Mrs. Kiernan said...

Session 9
Comments & I wonders

I have created a wiki, blog, updated my own website... I think I need to weed out some of the technology I implore in my classroom. After reading through everything this week I think that a wiki may be a little more useful for me than a blog. From what I’ve gathered so far, there is more room for students to be an interactive participant in a wiki than a blog. One "I wonder" question I had in the beginning of the class was how could I phase out my web page and include all the information I post into a blog. Once I understood the uses of a blog I realized that wasn't possible. However, posting all my information into wikispaces seems more feasible. One comment I heard on the video that I liked was to use a wiki for facts and a blog for opinion. I think this will put how to use each piece of technology into perspective for not only students but for other educators who are unfamiliar with this technology.

I added a link to a multiplication video game, Timez Attack, that has helped my students learn their times tables. The base program is a free download but you can pay to upgrade to a version with more levels.

Lynne Deakers said...

Thank you Jeannine for reading rockets website. I love it and will use it with teachers and parents.. Regarding Joanne d's "I wonder" about Fisher's comment about teaching kids to read online. I interpret that to mean we need to teach them a new skills in addition to reading print text and that is how to read a website. There is often a ton of information on a website. We need to help them decide where to begin: how to decide what is important for their particular project, what to read and what they can skim and when to go out to a link and when to play the video or audio. It is a new type of reading not in place of how we now teach them to read. As a librarian I reiterate once again how important it is to get kids reading tons of books for fun/pleasure when they are young so they develop the reading skills necessary to tackle the new multimedia experiences they will have online with Web 2.0 and beyond. I thought Fisher's presentation was very thought provoking. He said outright "basic reading skills are vital!" We now need to give them additional strategies to comprehend a web page with a variety of objects on one page (maps, RSS, audio, video, etc). He has added production and interaction to information literacy skills we need to teach our students.

Ms. DiTusa said...

Blog comments session 8 wikis

I am not yet sold on wikis, and the concerns are not unique to me; they were acknowledged the text as well. I am worried mainly about the accuracy of the information and reliability of the sources. First, kids believe what they read. I know that part of my job is to teach them how to read critically, to question and challenge the text; however, many younger students do not have extensive background information and real-life learning experiences, so they are not always capable of discerning what is accurate and what is not. Also, students tend to work from sites that use more simplistic language and have brief, succinct answers, such as wikipedia; as a result, they do not attempt to read and comprehend challenging expository text, and they do not always go the extra mile to verify their information by visiting other sites. In terms of checking for accuracy, that task, which should be handled by the students, will likely become yet another extensive, time-consuming chore for the teacher. If students are doing research, I would feel more comfortable with reliable, research-based sources; I think that of the 10 billion pages that are out there, students can readily access factual information that has not been “exposed” to the general public.

Once again, I’m beginning with the negative, and although I have several other comments along that line, I’d like to focus on how some of the positive aspects of using wikis.
•I love the idea of using wiki for group projects. This way, one student cannot dominate while others just sit around and watch.
•Our school will soon be implementing an enrichment piece into our schedule. Students on our team could create a team wiki, which will consist of input from our grade 7 and grade 8 students. Students on our split team have commented on the fact that they seem separate from those of the other grade level; a wiki could help to build team identity and unity.
•I am interesting in using a wiki for faculty communication. We are a 5-8 school, yet I rarely meet with, or even see, teachers from grades 5 and 6. A wiki could assist in curriculum discussions, especially since we are rewriting the ELA curriculum, use of our new texts, reading requirements, writing prompts, etc.
•I’d also like to be able to coordinate with teachers on the same grade level in order to improve continuity of instruction.

While I am more willing to use blogs and podcasts, I am still quite hesitant about wikis. It's very interesting that Jack feels the opposite way!

Erin Wright said...

Here is (finally) the page edit for wikidave. I added the purple section with the two videos. They are two examples of art as inspiration. I chose this catagory because there was no catagory for reading, specifically, and I am also interested in art.

Mr. Dudley... said...

I was very interested in the first grade class wiki. I know a second grade teacher who initially signed up for this class -- only to be told by her administrator that the content was too complex for second graders (thereby sabotaging some subsidizing of the fee that was supposed to take place). I'll make sure to pass along the session 9 powerpoint!

Taking a cue from Sharon Peters, I signed up for a moodle account.

I also added a video clip from teachertube to the wiki: