Tuesday, February 17, 2009

921-Session 5 "The World of Wikis!!!"

Welcome to Section 2 of our course

"The World of Wikis!"

This second part of the semester will take us down 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 5.

Good luck and take plenty of notes because I don't want to miss any of your ideas, excitement, or 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:

Fall '08

Summer '08.

Have fun!


Backup copies of sessions can be found on Authorstream.com  Just do a search for edc921 and view the appropriate session.


vivrelelivre said...

Wow, I'm not sure right now if I am awed or overwhelmed so I'm going to go with what I've got at the moment.
The wiki video was very informative and provided a lot of good background information for using wikis as a part of class life. What really got me was the wiki versus blog part. Wikis for factual information..which is constantly being revised and updated and blogs for opinions...static and unchanged although new opinions can be added at a later point in time.
It really drove home for me how teachers could "easily" make both wikis and blogs an active part of the classroom community.
I strongly believe that the active participation gives students a much stronger motivation to succeed and collaborate. When you own a part of something you want it to be as good as it can be. You don't spend all of your free time trying to sabotage it.
I also wasn't surprised by the statement that students would wiki classwork from home. Why not? They may be taking time out from their busy schedules but it IS to work on something that the world can see, not just their teacher.

I'm also falling more in love with the flexibility of the wikis. At fist, the idea of a teacher using the same wiiki with their changing classes year after year seemed a bit odd. After thinking about it for a little while it began to make more sense. Each new class wasn't recreating the wiki, they were building on it, improving and refining the earlier work. Each generation learns something from the previous and leaves something behind for the next.
Awe-inspiring to think that our first graders could be leaving a permanent mark on the electronic world.

Maura McGill said...

Again, I feel like there is a lot of information to digest. I am clearer about the uses of blogs vs wikis. Blogs are usually set up for students to voice their opinions whereas wikis are based on facts. Blogs are owned by one person and wikis are a collaboration between different people.
After watching the powerpoint and video it seems to me that wikis are the wave of the future for high school and college learning. The fact that students can benefit from knowledge of participants in the same course or collaborate together on a project is an eye-opener to me as an educator and a student.[first online class] Are schools in the future going to be online?
I especially liked the idea of the Library Success:Best Practice Wiki, where librarians could share successful programs and innovative ideas. What a terrific way of sharing! Instead, of waiting to get together for meetings...just post your ideas to a wiki.
I enjoyed the video and it was very informative. I liked the idea of the "Hall of Fame" as a reward for students who did excellent work on their wiki. It seems to be a great motivator. Maybe, because I am an elementary teacher and young children love rewards.
The video showed how students learn to collaborate, explain, and synthesize information when working on a wiki. These are the skills students need to become independent learners. Wikis teach students how to learn from one another. I also liked the part about giving the students an assignment to teach the class. It turned the students into teachers and they truly understood the material when they had to teach it to someone else.
There were so many ideas for using and managing a wiki. I like that you can manage the editing and viewing of your wiki. It gives the teacher some control.
My wonder question is how to use a wiki in a third grade classroom? Would a blog be more appropiate?
I like the idea of students adding information from home, but it would need to be supervised. So I'll listen to the advice from the video... you cannot swallow a watermelon whole, so start out with small bites...I'll start small!

Mrs. Cappadona said...

Carol Cappadona
Well I waded through the introduction to wikis. There are so many links, pages and sections to each wiki that I find them confusing. I guess I’m a linear person and jumping around from hyperlink to hyperlink I lose the original page and concept that I was pursuing. I do like that you can link to find more information on the topic which lends some kind of authority to what is written.
I looked at the three different wikis from the wiki walkthrough and noticed that Wetpaint users must have an email account and all student users must be 13 or older. Further investigation showed PBwiki generates a list of usernames and passwords for you. Wikispaces has a note that if students change their password, you will not know. These seem problematic when setting up a wiki, choosing one that works and has the features you need.
I really enjoyed Vicki Davis’ video (and it’s only her second one!). She was clear, concise and enthusiastic about using Web 2.0 tools in her classroom. I particularly liked her reminder that “you can’t swallow a watermelon whole, take it in small bites.” I think that using these tools with a classroom requires small steps at first and the enthusiasm created by the students will carry it forward. Her grading rubric, given before the assignment, was very good holding students accountable for all aspects of a project. She also stated that on-line is an extension of our off-line world, holding all students to a standard as if they were in the classroom even during the summer or after school hours. Her comments about ethics were also good: posting answers to a test is unethical; creating study guides for the test is acceptable use.
I do think that using wikis enables students to use synthesis and evaluation skills constantly. A wiki will build connections between old and new knowledge and create a true team effort by engaging all learners. The most challenging phase of writing is revision and a wiki will help students not only revise their own words but help them to critically assess another student’s work. This brings up the problem of vandalizing and the difference between criticism and making changes to improve content. Before any wiki use could happen, class policies need to be very clear and consequences spelled out and enforced.
I liked the wiki warranty which spelled it out.
I would like to understand more about the Creative Commons license. It keeps getting mentioned but does everyone need one? I understand that Fair Use does not permit you to place items on the web unless they are yours. How do you let students post a video they find on the web to their blog or wiki? Can you cite your source, provide a hyperlink to the page or do you need a license? How does that work?
In summary: blog for opinion, wiki for sharing facts

Abbe said...

Wikis are a great fit for the library. I started a wiki (using PB wiki) with another teacher. We are in constant contact regarding the wiki and it’s really exciting to work in collaboration with another person to this extent. Any changes that are made to the wiki get emailed to me. I wanted to try PB wiki because of the username/password option that you can use, rather than having student email logins. I think that adjustments like this make people feel more comfortable about offering students this opportunity. I keep thinking of the Vicki Davis video and how it will be a great example to show people who doubt the impact of Web 2.0 applications. I love how people are so open about offering tips about how to make your wiki (or blog) better. It’s refreshing to have such openness. On PB wiki after you sign up you receive an email a day for 7 days, which are tips on how to use your wiki. I would like to make all of my current pathfinders into wikis so that it is easier to manage. Another teacher is creating a book response wiki for a class. She created a permission slip for students to participate because we’ve never done anything like this. I wondered what other schools do to cover blogging/wiki/online responses from students. Any ideas? I’ve found a couple of references online. I am also interested in learning more about Creative Commons. The Libsuccess wiki is a great resource. I would love to create a information literacy wiki for our school. I read that some schools have their handbooks as a wiki. I imagine that there isn’t a lot of access to changing it online. I wondered how putting a handbook in wiki form would change policy or the meaning of the handbook.

Mrs. K said...

Wow! Who knew that there is so much more information out there? I am finally getting comfortable blogging with my students. I am really looking forward to going back to school on Monday and showing them all of the new additions I have made to our class blog. I am going to send home a note to parents to get them involved in the communication portion and I’m really excited to start the problem of the week. As I was watching the online video, my vision for the Problem of the Week portion of my blog began to change. I started envisioning what a wiki would like - having the students work in groups to solve a problem and then have them teach the class the strategy they used to solve it. I was also envisioning the students creating their own word problems and having them evaluate the “student” work for their problem. I think they would really have ownership in that respect. That is one thing that I love about math – there is only 1 right answer but there are many different avenues to get there.

I am slightly overwhelmed and excited to begin a wiki with my class. I still have so much to learn and explore. I guess I have to look at my blog differently – I was posting factual information on it – what we were learning in class, homework reminders, math help, and I guess some opinions in the book discussion. I have to wrap my mind around letting go of some of the control. I guess that is why I like blogging – I post and everyone comments – No one can change what I have written. I have to really plan ahead and get used to the idea of people – my students, editing what I have written. I can see what everyone is talking about with blogs becoming static – there is only a change when the owner/author – me, makes a post. But, with a wiki, there are changes going on continuously which in return results in learning? I think.

As I said in the beginning, I have a lot to learn and a lot to explore – but I am excited about it and I guess that is half the battle – to be willing to learn and to try to incorporate new ideas in to teaching. I think the idea of a class wiki will definitely help to motivate my students. I would really like to plan on a problem solving wiki – I will have to try it out – soon I hope – and let you know how it goes. I have to say that I feel like there is not enough time to get everything done. My mind is racing with the possibilities that I can explore with my students. That k12 online conference video was very informative and gave me many ideas - I really enjoyed the clarity and ease of the information presented and I look forward to trying them out with my “Guinea Pigs”!

juliep said...

While reading, I found the article Blog or Wiki – which tool to use? very helpful. The article was very concise. This would be a great article to share with my staff and administration. It had a nice table in it for comparing the uses of blogs and wikis. The wiki video was helpful and I liked that Vickie talked about how you can adjust the settings of who can edit the wiki. I believe when I get a wiki up and running for my library I will be using one that will allow me to invite members only for the editing.

Some of the pros to using a wiki are that information can be added and changed very easily by anyone. This allows the most current and correct information to be available. However along with the pros there are also cons that you have to consider if you want to utilize a wiki. Along with the ability to add information to a wiki quickly, there is also the ability to add incorrect or inappropriate information to that same wiki without any way to edit what is being added. But it does appear that you can revert to an older page somehow and possibly this is a way to delete incorrect information. Without actually setting up a wiki yet, which I haven’t done yet, it is hard to totally understand how they work for that problem.

One really big plus for having students use a wiki is their ability to access it from home. And it is on the computer, once you say that word to the kids these days they immediately tune in to what you are saying. If you say “Read a book”, they seem to be asleep before you have finished the sentence. But say “OK, we are going to be using the internet for research”, they are all about that. It is a great way to get the students excited about things in your class or library. I also see that there is a social component to using a wiki. If you needed to communicate with multiple people about an event and you need to inform many people and ask for suggestions or comments then a wiki would be a quick and easy way to communicate with those people. Also as an open form it would allow a dialog to continue depending on the issue.

I am a little concerned how the parents in my school will deal with all of this new technology. I have asked the 5th graders in my library to try posting to my blog on anything they are reading and if they want me to order new books for the library. Our county is really pushing blogging and using our new school fusion website to communicate with the families in our community instead of e-mails and newsletters. There is a slight revolt currently so I wonder how this will be received. Like Vickie said, “we don’t eat an entire watermelon by swallowing the whole thing” this is something to think of for us but also the parents. Kids are quick to adapt with technology, parents on the other hand, not so quick.

Mrs. Patricia Colonnese said...

Wiki’s. The technology group banned the use of wikis in the Ridgefield School system, in particular Wikipedia. There were inappropriate comments from the high school, so all students paid the price. I have always heard such negative comments about wiki’s and I don’t allow it as a resource in school because I have always thought that no one knew for sure if the information was accurate. After going through the power point, I am totally amazed at the potential for use in school , in particular collaboration with teachers on any topic or just for a collaboration with students. We want them to work independently and in groups and what better way. I found myself spending a tremendous amount of time going back and forth on this powerpoint, trying to grasp the uses. Why do wiki's conjure up such negative connotations especially when I can have a private wiki and private editing.
I think I could have watched the wiki video five times because I would have learned something new. I liked the way wiki and blogs were described and how they were used and compared. Wiki’s are used for facts and blogs for opinions. I am sure that my first wiki will be private both in viewing and editing. I am working on a summer reading list for the district. It involves working with the six elementary school library media specialists, plus the Ridgefield public library with additional input from the town library. We need to create a summer reading list for K-5. The thought of numerous meeting is not my cup of tea, so if we are dealing with facts, a wiki could work. I jumped in feet first. I started a wiki and added six users or the district elementary LMS. I am sure they are skeptical, but assured them it was private and asked that they don’t edit our work yet. I am using PBwiki which I don’t know if it was a good choice for a start, but I don’t have anything to compare. The site is at http://rpeswiki.pbwiki.com/
which stands for Ridgefield Public Elementary school wiki. I received an email from pbwiki support to get additional support and they have another training video and pbwiki manual that I am working my way through. I think they are going to send me an email for seven days to teach me something new. It is free and I can upgrade for a fee of course. I find it all very time consuming but I love it too, so it keeps me very interested. I am still have problems viewing Realplayer, but I will try it in school. I sent an email off to the other LMS to join the wiki and collaborate on "document editing" our summer reading lists, so I will let you know how it goes.

Katie Wright said...

Once again I agree with everyone's comments about how amazing and overwhelming the wiki info was as I read and visited different sites and then watched the first wiki video. It seems very possible to start a wiki while I watched it and I kept thinking I can do this. Edit, write and Save, add Links. But then I looked at some of the wikis and I'm really glad we are going to have more time to investigate.

Yet, I found that while viewing the different applications I did keep thinking of ways to use it, especially for professional applications within the building, but I don't want to loose focus that used properly with elementary students it could be incredibly motivating. I worked in the past at an elementary school that had its own computer lab and wish now that my present school just had three or four student computers in each classroom. Our SPED classes and reading programs are top heavy with boys and we need to find ways like this to engage and motivate their literacy learning.

There were many questions in the comments about when to choose a blog or a wikis, and whethter wikis were better for facts. But that brings us to teaching the difference between fact and opinion. For the younger students it is often very hard to distinguish. In the past we were cautioned to know our source, now we need to do that, but also go beyond and teach a different kind of online comprehension. I heard Dr. Leu from UCONN discuss the new technologies and how students who can comprehend in a tratitioanl setting, need different skills for online reading and comprehension.

I was really intrigued reading the collaborative first grade story. But the whole Wiki Walk through section was so different- like another world-- easy to roll along, very organized, and filled with choices. I liked the Wetpaint choice - until I read the comparison section and thought it might not be best with younger students, but there was so much to consider and some choices I didn't understand. The ability to discuss a topic would really add dimension to using the wiki in PD within the building.

It made me wonder how many clasees currently use wikis in the state, etc and at what levels. Plus will we become divided again into those who do and those that don't?

Amy Kalif said...

I also agree that all this information is exciting and overwhelming. Just when I feel I have a basic understanding, more information and options come my way. As a Spanish teacher, I found the portion of the Web 2.0 in the classroom article about foreign language applications particularly useful. I checked out www.odeo.com to have my students record their voices and then create a podcast. It all sounds wonderful. I also find the Wiki scoring rubric useful. I already have a wiki, but I don't know quite what to do with it yet. The rubric helps me understand what to expect from the students.

jimmyt said...

Blogs. Wikis. Wikis. Blogs. A lot of information. Which one to use? I was just starting to get used to blogging and then along comes wikis. One thing I know for sure is that I’m not ready to jump into wikis (at least not yet).

When I used to bring my classes to the computer room, the teacher always guided the students away from Wikipedia. They said the information might not be reliable, and the students were always redirected to sites that were already verified.

After the readings and browsing around, I see that Wikipedia offers a wealth of information. It was fascinating to read how after the tsunami in the Indian Ocean hit, how it became an entry on Wikipedia. What was more fascinating was to see how many and how quickly people added to the entry. This was a primary source document in the making.

I was impressed with the ease of setting up and editing a wiki. I also liked the idea how the administrator of the wiki could control who could edit the information. Although it takes away from the potential of a wiki, in the classroom, I feel you need to have control over who is editing, so you don’t end up with objectionable information. You want parents and students to feel safe when using the internet. It also leads to more collaboration among the students, which will increase their learning.

Blogs and wikis both seem to have huge educational value in the classroom. For me to implement wikis, I need time to have a well thought out plan on how I would use it in my classroom. I’m the type of person who likes to have as much planned out as possible, so the bumps in the road are small. Wikis open up a huge wealth of potential in the classroom for the teacher and the student. I just want to make sure I’m prepared when I jump in.

Suzanne said...

I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed with all of the information this week. I have, however, met one of my goals for this class – I now know what a wiki is. I can see pros and cons to using wikis vs. blogs in the classroom.

Because I am teaching fourth grade with one computer, I am again limited to the amount of time or effort that could be put into a wiki and would be a little nervous about what they would do outside of the classroom on their own. I can see how using a wiki could benefit our school, however. We have been working in teams on the School Improvement Plan and have had to revise and print our team goals each time we made a change or added something to it. I am sure each team in the building was working this way. If we used a wiki, we could just add the changes to the wiki each time we met. In addition, school handbooks and policies could be placed on a wiki.

I really enjoyed and was impressed with the Teacher Tube clip last week. I realize that we need to move our students into the 21 century and teach them the skills that they will need to be successful and safe internet users and contributors. I do think a key to the children working successfully and safely on the internet is teaching them the right way to use blogs/wikis. Taking into account some of the things that Vicki Davis mentioned, I agree that guidelines should be in place and proper training should be provided to the children prior to any postings so that they can determine what is ethical, what is not, what is plagiarizing, etc.

I especially liked that Vicki had her students use the wiki to create study guides. I too learn by doing something repetitively. Having the students outline and provide a study guide for a particular subject is a wonderful way to help them get a better understanding of what they are learning without just memorizing definitions or facts.

I like that wikis are collaborative and that the students can work in teams. I also like the idea of grading the students individually -we have probably all had some experience working on teams when someone wasn’t putting any effort forth.

The “Hall of Fame” rubric is really a fun way of grading a project and the fact that she shares with the children what steps need to be completed in order to meet that requirement gives all children a chance to revise and perfect their work.

The library wiki was a nice way for librarians to interact without having to send emails with attachments etc. Any information that they have is posted so that if someone else needs something, they can find it there. This type of wiki actually would be more useful to me in my situation. To be able to have a resource like a wiki where I could collaborate with other teachers from other schools would be very useful.

Until I took this class, I didn’t really realize what Wikipedia was and used it occasionally when I needed information. Now I am a little bit leery about using it for referencing. I wonder about the accuracy of wikis now that I know just about anyone can make a change to the information that is there. How do we know that the person who makes the change is qualified to make that change?

Denice said...

This comment is a bit late. I was away for vacation and it has taken me a few days to get caught up with things. I have been exploring the world of Web 2.0 on my own over the last couple of years. I have already collaborated with one English teacher who calls herself my “technology guinea pig.” Part of this reference is to my 29 years as a Biology teacher before becoming a LMS.
Anyways, the video was great! I am going to refer to it when I begin my once a month attendance at department meetings. I viewed a similar matrix providing a comparison between blogs and wikis a year ago and I wish I had saved it to share with the class. I have found that my adventurous English teacher likes to incorporate a blog with the wiki she is working on so that the students can share in the questions and answers being asked about the current project. The use of email questions and answers, even with the use of a class list, does not allow the students to provide answers to the questions being asked. The blog allows everyone to contribute answers to the questions being asked as well as sharing helpful links and other suggestions.
Another item I have observed with the collaboration feature of a wiki, is whenever student are placed into groups for a project, the history feature of a wiki allows the group members to monitor the editing actions of the other. I have overheard members of a group asking another member, “Why haven’t you been contributing information?” “I don’t think it is fair if you get the same grade as the rest of us,” etc.
Also, the teacher is able to view the progress of each group’s project within a few minutes and then make comments on the wiki stating what is good or lacking. This kind of feedback was not available when the class was doing a typical project unless the teacher required many “Draft” submissions during the course of a project. I have also noticed that when we create a wiki with an “at-risk” group of students, these students reluctantly begin the project but by the second day are working harder than they have on regular projects. These students will check out their classmates’ pages and decide that their page needs more photos, or more information or links, etc.
My only problem with blogs and wikis is our IT DEPARTMENT and the FILTER. Occasionally, all blogs and wikis are blocked and occasionally YouTube and MySpace are accessible. There is no consistency in the filtering. I have had to “yell” for them to unblock my teachers’ blogs and wikis on more than one occasion and the head IT person will ask me “Why do you need to use these blogs and wikis for school work?’ I cannot believe their mindset!

Charlotte Lesser said...

Sorry for the late posting... vacation you know... Yes, I did my homework/reading partially during vacation!

oh.. the wide world of wikis! I got a pretty good overview of wikis, how they work and pros & cons from this week’s readings & viewings. Richardson, as usual, is succinct and clear and his focus is on educational settings which I really appreciate. I love his comment that “everyone together is smarter than anyone alone” and his statement that wikis are a “very democratic process of knowledge creation”. I can see real student buy-in into creating content and making sure that it is accurate. I think the trust issue is huge – you have to trust everyone else that is creating and editing content.

As wiki while you work said– “the white hats outweigh the black hats” but again there has to be participant buy-in and the willingness to keep an eye on revisions and make sure they are accurate. I particularly like the idea of the discussion page, where you can set rules, definitions and set some standards before you create content and I think that piece particularly works in an educational setting. Wikis are in a constant state of revision – reminds me of early Internet page design where peoples pages were adorned with the “under construction” images!

The Davis Community Wiki was amazing, just tons of information added by clubs, groups, departments, businesses – what a great resource! I loved seeing the Antioch U. library manual online because Antioch is in the town that I live in and I have friends who work there. That librarian just won an award for all her work. What a fantastic resource she has created.

However my inspiration of the week has to be Vicki Davis! What an amazing teaching turn-around and in such a short space of time. She just transformed her teaching and her classroom with the use of wikis. When I have time I want to take a look at the 6 pillars of an effective classroom that she references many times – sounds useful. I liked her video a whole lot better than Wiki while you work. I have to say that I lost patience with the presenter and got annoyed at his change of
clothing, location and chit-chat. I think he could have covered what he needed to in half the time. It was frustrating to listen to him talk without seeing any examples.

The Teachers First wiki walk through was a helpful site – looks like something I might use if I do a workshop on wikis and blogs – very clear and great graphics. I will definitely use the chart
comparing blogs & wikis (which tool to use) – it lays out the differences pretty clearly.

I guess my biggest dilemma at the moment is that I have no clear idea of what kind of project to do with a wiki. There were some great examples in this week’s readings – subject pathfinders, curriculum revision work, author studies, library manuals, collective storytelling that seemed appealing. My favorite idea for students was writing local history – what a great project especially if you work in a smaller town, as is true in many of my schools. A classroom teacher could work with the local historical society and I think there would be student interest in a project like this.

BUT for now I need to focus on how I will use one in my job. I'm leaning towards curriculum re-write since that is what I'm in the middle of at the moment. Staff meeting on Tuesday - I think I'll bring up the idea!

all for now folks.... now on to the next batch of homework!