Tuesday, October 21, 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.

You may also read past participants' comments here.

Have fun!


Backup Session 8 is having trouble loading. Please download from original link above.


dgcap said...

Session 8 Comments
I will admit that I had heard a little bit about wiki's before this session. Our school librarian has created a wiki in order to allow our staff to collaborate on the Responsive Classroom program. While the idea looked good I had some initial bad feeling about it. I didn't like that it was so open to the fact that everyone can edit the page (teachers are notorious for deleting things accidently) and it wasn't very well explained.

I was happy to have both those issues resolved with this week's session. While the other teachers may not have any better idea about wikis, I do :) I was also happy to learn a few things, both through listening/reading and building my own wiki (which I'll be having my students use to help keep their Battle of the Books teams organized). The first important thing was that I can limit the amount of traffic coming to my wiki by setting it to let only people I've invited to view/edit. I also learned that there's a history portion within the wiki that allows users to go back and view all the changes that have been made (this is great for that oops moment when someone deletes an entire page of comments by accident).

Through my quick explorations I noticed that wetpaint has quite a few ads to support their pages. I don't have a problem with this, but occasionally I've seen ads that I would rather my students not see. Therefore, I settled on using wikispaces. Wikispaces has an adfree option for educators (usually its a 5$ option). So I went with wikispaces to set up our class Battle of the Books information.

I am now a fan of using wikis, since I've learned that the purpose of them is so that people can edit and change things! I'll just continue to use my website when I just can't give up the control. Until then I've also though of using a wiki to have students create a travel log.. each student or group of students could be in charge of researching a state and putting up info/pictures about their state. By the end of their research we could have several pages that have a ton of information about different states. Just an initial idea... I can't wait to see what some other ideas are (that I could "borrow.")

KAS Librarian said...

It isn’t a wiki, but out of all the sources, I enjoyed the WikiWhileYouWork video particularly. I was thinking this would be a great way for me to share training sessions that I give to teachers. The only time we have is after school and everyone is so tired and not inclined to attend an optional workshop, but maybe they would play a little video/powerpoint combination. Although I won’t have a bird squawking in the background like in the film. A bit distracting.

I really like the idea of keeping a class wiki throughout the year as a compendium of everything that has been studied throughout the year. It would be a true collaborative effort that would also be a great review tool. Currently I have a class who is doing Isearch papers and as I was teaching them about the Big6 steps I mentioned that they were sort of creating a “Wikipedia” of knowledge since they were all studying different things. They were astounded by that idea, which led me to ask the teacher if we could create a wiki with all the research projects. They could even contribute to Wikipedia.

A community wiki would also be a lot of fun. I was thinking of suggesting a community wiki for students, faculties and parents about Sudan. Locating things and services can be very challenging here. A yellow pages type wiki guide to Khartoum would be very handy for visitors.

Last year I had a wiki on wikispaces for book reviews. I started it towards the end of the school year and it never really got off the ground. Students would write reviews when reminded, but they didn’t use it as a recommendation tool for good reads, as I had hoped. I did put in a weekly poll on the first page and this got the highest interest. If I began it earlier, I think it would have been more effective.

pstevens said...

One very interesting approaches to wikis that I had not known about was the discussion tab’s real purpose: debating and discussing the content and edits on the page. I have only used the discussion tab as sort of a wiki/blog for students. I found the “Minds on Fire” article very timely; in fact, I quoted the passage about Wikipedia and following the discussions on my PA CFF listserv today. At one time, when I did not know enough about wikis, I recommended that my students avoid using Wikipedia as a source of reliable information. Now, I go to Wikipedia first and will encourage my own students to experience this new form of critical reading.
Additionally, the whole concept of Demand-Pull versus Supply-Push supports everything I am learning about Authentic and Intellectual learning and Project-, Inquiry-, and Problem-based learning. I have shared the information with my fellow students in another class. It seems as if everything I am learning just falls in place next to or in support of Web 2.0, collaboration, social learning, and the transformation of education. I took to heart the change from I think, therefore I am, to We participate, therefore we are.
When I told my husband that MIT and other schools offered their curriculum online…for free, he was amazed. I shared that information with a science teacher in my school who said that she planned to have her AP Biology students go to the site to explore what would be expected of a student in the class. And I laugh aloud every time I review my notes and see the image from CyberOne Classroom in Second Life. The avatar of the wolf (?) is just so funny juxtaposed among the other students!
Our librarian and I (with the blessings of our administration) want to create a high school wiki (Well, she could just be going along with me!:-). Our plan is to invite all of the staff to join and link their existing Edline pages, wikis, and blogs to that wiki. We would like to see the space be used as a collaborative school resource of shared files, images, tools, announcements, and the like.
I am most familiar with Wikispaces, but I like the look of Wetpaint. They both offer ad-free spaces for educators.
In particular, I like Wetpaint’s history feature. Seeing and image of exactly what was added or deleted is so much easier than just knowing a change was made on the page. Then you have to use another color-coded feature to find the changes. At least that is what I see on my history page.
Some of the screen shots, Dave, from the resources you have offered look very different from mine. Is it because my space is a free educational space?
I’m hoping that you have a magic hat filled with cool wiki widgets and HTML (like how do I and can I modify the template in my wiki?)
I also found TeacherFirst a valuable site. I spent quite a bit of time exploring there, comparing the different types of wikis. The material and resources are excellent documents that I can share with the teachers and administrators during training sessions.
I appreciate the tips for setting up an effective wiki, too. I plan to make quite a few changes to my own wiki and will incorporate some new features in the high school wiki. For one I plan to include a humor page. We have so little time to laugh, but laugh I did on the one wiki humor page.
Thanks, Dave, for such great links, readings, and examples! You are doing a fantastic job transforming our classrooms!

PDLibrarian said...

I had only learned about and began using (in a very limited, basic way) wiki's after seeing Dave's presentation at a conference- and I now use that 3 minute video with my students to explain what wiki's are
(http://ribep.wikispaces.com/). Subsequently created a wiki website, like dgcap, to organize documents that we use in our district's 4th grade Battle of the Books. It is perfect to store the most updated (each year the documents must be updated) version of documents that all participating librarians need to use-(the list, invitations, general information notices, etc.).

It was inspiring to get an idea of some other uses for wikis- most exciting to me was the idea of creating a vocabulary wiki- for words that we learn during the library sessions. I also liked the "Where's Wanda idea". Along those lines, our school building is large, with 24 classrooms. Perhaps we could have an "in-building" scavenger hunt where we give students clues, and all the classrooms have to post clues or information so the school can solve the mystery together- have to think more about specifics for this- could be very cool. Additionally, thought of dividing the fifth grade into groups, each group taking one class of the Dewey Decimal and doing a "commerical" for it (I had pirated that idea from somewhere-can't remember). Once all the ten groups have posted, there would be a central place where students could watch each other videos ("wikis breed experts"), thereby gaining information about all the ten Dewey classes. We could even keep these on the wiki and each year have other students view these, but try to present the Dewey classes in a different way that hasn't been done before...

One more idea sprang to mind. Our "By Kids, 4 Kids" student newspaper just started up- currently it is published on paper. How awesome would it be to help them get it online as a wiki (or perhaps a blog- need to think a little more about this one).

I really like the idea of the 6 Pillars of web use (security, information literacy, web citizenship, teamwork, international web activities and accountability. I think I like this idea especially because I think it is important to introduce the ideas of "right and wrong" and the elementary school age. I know this is tricky territory sometimes, but what I mean is that I think it is still important to hold up good behavior and ethics (a-hem...Wall Street???) as things that we value, and it is kind of neat to do it in the context of technology. I think it would be teaching valuable skills that the students need while emphasizing that it is important to be a good (global, internet) citizen. In these interesting times, where our well-being depends on our ability to cooperate and solve problems collectively (across teams, companies, countries, etc.), the wiki is a great tool, particularly suited for where we are in history!

One final thought- viewing Vicki Davis' video made me change my mind about one aspect of the new Battle of the Books Blog that I just created for students. Instead of having them use their real first names and last initial (I was thinking that because several schools participate, it would be fun for the kids to talk about books with kids from other schools, so we'd have to know their real first names and last initial as well as their school.) However, I am rethinking this after watching the video; what is most important are the ideas and the communication between the students. May be a much safer and better idea to just have them use pseudonyms..I can always keep a list of the students real names, so that if it becomes important, we can trace who students really are...

Also, on a related note, our district recommends "ISafe", which is a non-profit organization that makes teaching materials available at no cost to teachers to teach internet safety at all age levels. Visit their site http://www.isafe.org to learn more. Teachers can opt to become trained online (it is painless- you just log in and watch a series of very short videos), after which iSafe gives you free materials to use...I am training now to do a lesson on safety before asking the children to participate in the blog (pillar #1=safety!) Check it out- it is pretty cool and it free!!

J Wilson said...

Session 8 Comments
My eighth grades students are frequent users of Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia. They didn’t realize that these websites were special because of Web 2.0 technology. They liked blogging on our class blog and some have even created their own personal blogs at home. However, they were most impressed with wikis and Wikipedia being the most famous one. The concept of a group of people attempting to open an Internet encyclopedia which started from nothing and has grown to be the “go-to place for information” seemed to almost shock them. They couldn’t believe that someone would want people to edit anything anytime. For the most part they sheepishly knew they weren’t supposed to use Wikipedia for research because it wasn’t always reliable, but they didn’t understand how a wiki worked or how inaccurate information could be on it. When we looked at the history tab they could see how current and how frequently the site was updated and by whom. The user names associated with the postings sounded like ordinary people; certainly not college professor sounding. Unfortunately when I tried the edit tab, we were blocked from accessing it. I was hoping to add our school name and as a class contribute to Wikipedia! We talked about since it is so open, that some schools are filtered out due to inappropriate postings. I likened it to vandalism.
The students in my computer classes have each created a page on our class wiki. They have customized them with text, pictures, examples of their work, and widgets (most have embedded YouTube videos). The students are very enthusiastic about working on their wiki pages. Unfortunately, we have encountered vandalism too, since a few students deleted other’s work or typed or pasted things on other people’s pages that were annoying to say the least.
Terry Freeman interviewed John Bidder about his Wikiville project. Bidder commented that “wiki is a much mistrusted and misunderstood technology because of its openness-ironic really that we mistrust that which is so open”. I think this is very true. The reservations about Wikipedia are a great example. Another reason is from my viewpoint as a teacher; it is much easier to moderate blog comments than monitor a growing wiki with many students collaborating on it. My greatest fear is that one student could ruin the experience for someone by posting something hurtful. I do have a few students who like to push the boundary on appropriateness. But I took a risk and next marking period, I plan to continue using wikis and build on what I have learned. Wikis are fun and a great way to work together on a project.

Anonymous said...

Pam Hurt

Session 8

Although I was introduced to Wikis last year and actually have created a Wiki on Wikispaces.com (well…really a wiki page with links to blogs and a few assignments) with help from Pam Stevens, my CFF coach, I haven’t truly developed or used this tool. Since I’ve been pleased with students’ responses on my basic blogs, I have been hesitant to use Wikis because of their “open” content and respondents’ ability to alter subject matter. Because of these concerns and limited time to explore Wikis, I admit I’ve questioned their value, except for small group collaborative projects (where I see them as helpful for developing, organizing, and proofing / perfecting group projects). I’ve been looking forward to this portion of our class since Pam and some of my coworkers use and “swear by” Wikis, praising their format (listing of members & postings) and interactive nature…beyond blogs!

The information in this session regarding Wiki discussion, editing, watches, and recent changes reassured me about my ability to monitor responses, especially since I have learned how I can easily revert to a comment to a previous post if I find a revision inappropriate. I was impressed, too, with the interest a Wiki generates. For example, when I checked Davis Wiki, I noted 37 “full” comments today in addition to a number of quick edits and mini changes…some posted just minutes ago! Dave’s commentary about starting a Wiki to upgrade the standby “brochure” project, thus garnering posts, links, edits, photos, community comments, etc., especially, makes clear the potential of this technology to engage and instill pride in stakeholders of our district – students, teachers, administrators, parents, residents, & business owners. With its interactive nature, a Wiki would certainly generate more interest and involvement than a monthly calendar! What could be better?…especially since I’m learning more fully how I can monitor and “edit” a Wiki in well-timed and organized fashion through watches.

For teachers, I envision how a Wiki would be useful in organizing programs and in professional development. With the former, collaboration for development would be simplified, enabling individuals to share views, comments, and revisions as time permits, thus reducing after-school meetings as a whole. As we’re looking to enhance instruction, posing questions, offering suggestions and guides, and sharing successes on a Wiki can reinforce instruction and methodology, boost communication, morale, and minimize frustrations.

I was particularly interested in the Wiki rubric, http://k12wiki. wikispaces.com, and http://coolcat teacher.blogspot.com as they offer models I find “user friendly” as I look ahead to developing, using, and evaluating students’ participation in this technology. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to access all of the sites listed, but I’ll try again,hoping to stretch my background and understanding.

As I’m reviewing this information, I see the potential to improve the distribution of information, generate collaboration and pride, and engage students’ learning…all awesome yet realistic goals! Clearly, we’re using more and more technology to facilitate these objectives in education…and helping students to prepare more polished and professional products and to prepare for meeting upcoming academic and workplace challenges. More and more we’re turning from a paper-based society because of the availability, excellence, diversity, and minimal expense of technology-based books, journals, discussion boards, portfolios, etc. Will “curling up with a good book” become only a memory? I’m wondering how quickly and widely such a technological transition will progress…

Finally, like Pam, typically I’ve redirected my students from Wikipedia, “knowing” that this online encyclopedia can be visited and edited by “anyone.” Knowing that it’s monitored regularly now (even though I’ve heard some horror stories about individuals posting as misled “experts”), I’m pleased to learn that information is reviewed / and “revised” as needed by Wikipedia’s staff.

T Weinberg said...

Session #7 comments
I started experimenting with wikis last year, and have tended to use them instead of web pages sometimes because they are so easy to create and the collaborative aspect encourages other teachers to contribute. Our most successful wiki project was creating a web quest on a wiki, so that the classroom teachers, the tech resource teacher and myself could all contribute resources, instead of creating it all myself. I also tried creating a wiki for a technology PD, posting my handouts and examples of projects. My hope was that the participating teachers would eventually post their own lessons, but this hasn’t happened yet.

There were many ideas in this week’s resources that I would like to eventually try out, such as using a wiki for student book reviews and book discussions and creating a knowledge base for a class project. I would also like to try to have students create a wiki to share their learning about the topic as well as their experiences with research, e.g., noting which resources were helpful and why, and whether they had to change the direction of their research at any time.

I have been trying to find more ways to use blogs and wikis with teachers this year, and I found the article comparing blogs and wikis to be very helpful in making decisions about some of those borderline cases. For example, our school tech committee met today and agreed to try to use one of these tools to share our meeting notes and solicit comments from teachers about the issues under consideration. After reading Blog or wiki--which tool to use? it seems clear to me that the appropriate communication tool would be a blog, so that committee members can post various issues and let others comment on them The chronological ordering would make it easier to keep up to date with the newest debates. I think that if we were trying to build a body of knowledge about technology resources in the school, a wiki would be more appropriate.

I was extremely interested in the comments about Wikipedia in the readings. I have been gradually evolving my position on this resource, from prohibiting its use for research to using it as one source but requiring corroboration. It has always been frustrating to spend time finding appropriate sources for students, and then having them ignore instructions and head directly to Wikipedia for the majority of their research. Students never seemed to understand my concerns about possible misinformation (although perhaps my fears were exaggerated given some of the recent statistics on the accuracy of Wikipedia). For one project last year, I decided to have the students construct their own wiki to share the results of their research, with the intent that they would learn about the nature of a wiki and begin to realize that just because information is found on the internet, it isn’t guaranteed to be accurate. I’m not sure it was entirely successful due to some flaws in the design of the project. In our project the teachers developed the wiki guidelines, and we limited the ability to edit to a few trustworthy students in each class. After this week’s readings I realized that we should have allowed the students to have more control over the wiki so that they would have developed a greater degree of ownership. It will be interesting to modify the project this year to see if it is more successful.

Anonymous said...

Matt Records
World of Wiki
The potential idea of adding wiki’s into my computer science curriculum is very exciting. Students creating an online text book for my class’s curriculum would be tremendous. Future students can read and learn from experiences of students from the past adding to or editing their information. During the 1st quarter I only had 2 weeks to teach excel to students who have hardly ever used the application. I will be able to refer students to the “excel wiki’s” page as they do an assignment. This idea will save a whole lot of time not having to lecture, give notes, or have students take notes which is where class time goes down the drain fast. Plus the ability to collaborate with people outside our school, potentially experts on the particular topic, can post information we are studying. Or they may add a key piece of information to make the page better. I

I may not even have to make the excel page it may be already be out there.

I would trust giving my students some extra reign in adding new material to the Wiki’s page. I feel as a teacher I have to give students the opportunity to make decisions, having to make every decision for them is counterproductive educationally in my opinion. Students at the middle school level understand right from wrong, and consequences that come along with them.

At the middle school I teach at Wikipedia has been drilled into my students head as bad, bad, bad. Their elementary teachers for most part would not let students use Wikipedia for any type of research. I feel ridding my students of this perception will be the most difficult part about adding this to my everyday curriculum. However, misperceptions are usually formed by individuals who lack of knowledge on the particular topic. Providing students with the enlightenment on how Wiki’s and Wikipedia are constantly edited along with how wikis web sites are maintained may help me destroy this poor perception.

My primary goal is having a blog which focuses on recent info in my class, such as parent communication on what our current topic is, an assignments link so if a student misses a day of school that can catch up from home. Also, having a frequently asked questions link, as well as a question asking forum. I also want students to be able to research and access information using wikis from our class blog.

I’m wondering if that would all be possible.

My main question is can you access a wikis page to a blog?

jfayne said...

I really enjoy reading and learning about the technology from each session. We learned about blogs in EDC920 but Wikis were new to me. I never realized how Wikipedia was formed. I knew it was made from people on the internet adding information but i didn't know the actual process to make it.

Sometimes I am very intimidated taking these classes because I am a substitute elementary teacher. I don't have a classroom to use these ideas we are learning about. I think the most technological savvy teachers I have worked with have a website. I haven't seen any blogs or wikis, let alone podcasts or vodcasts.I have seen many teachers using journals which could be very easily adapted into a blog or wiki. My goal this year is to assist a teacher into using a wiki in his/her classroom.

I am particularly intrigued by the discussion aspect of the wiki. we all know kids know how to communicate. The only problem is getting them to write rather than text these communications. Seeing why the edits to the blog are made can be very informative to the teachers.

I think I am now going to form my own Wiki. I am still trying to come up with a subject for my first podcast.

yipf said...

Frank Yip
Lincoln High School

This session gives a nice introduction to the world of wikis. It certainly makes them sound approachable. One of the issues people my age have with using all this technology in the classroom is that the kids often have more knowledge or experience than the teachers and this can be intimidating for the teachers. I like the assurance that anyone who can word process can wiki. (Don’t you love the new words that enter our lexicon through new technology!)

The next issue is then to figure out what and how we can utilize this technology in the classroom. As a teacher in Social Studies, one of the changes in the past 6-8 years that has occurred is teaching certain skills at the expense of other skills. And one of the main skills lost is writing research papers. Teaching kids how to do research (particularly trying to weed through all the information at their disposal – certainly a “double-edged sword”), organize their information in a meaningful way, and write and edit their paper is time consuming. So I see the use of wikis in my class as a way to introduce at least a few aspects of the lost art of writing research papers. Doing research through wikis can help students work collaboratively to complete some research and at least develop the rudimentary skills necessary to successfully complete larger projects. I am thinking specifically giving them the skills to complete Exhibition or Capstone projects.

A quick comment on the Davis, California wiki – this is an outstanding use of this technology. I received an e-mail from a student from California in September doing a project on RI (how did she get my e-mail?) asking for info on RI for a project. A community wiki with information on its history, culture, etc. is a wonderful resource for both citizens and visitors. It would create a clearinghouse of information for students and other interested parties that is relevant and up-to-date. That student from California could probably get more complete information from such a site than relying on over-worked and stresses teachers to fill in some general information on RI.