Monday, March 8, 2010

921--Session 6

You may access past participants' comments here and this Summer's 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.

PS-As always, there is a back-up copy of this presentation on Just search for edc921.


The Naz Family said...

Staci Nazareth
Session 6
Not sure what to put for a comment here, so I am replicating what I put on the wikidave wiki.

Africa: These links may be of help to those who would like information related to the study of Africa, more specifically the crisis in the Sudan/Darfur region.
Wikipedia Article : explains the background of the game Darfur is Dying
Darfur is Dying Game : can be played in a browser window
Lesson Plan from National Geographic for teaching about Darfur
Crisis in Darfur Video : mini-lesson with a short video
Darfur in the Classroom : huge repository of lesson plans, 1 page summary sheets of the crisis, online games and much more.

Cheryl said...

I'm still working my way through the vast material from last week and this week. I'm still doing way more exploring than I probably should perhaps because I am expanding my search to wikis relating to my field of adult literacy.

During this search I found a site which might be interesting, especially for your colleagues. To assess your Technology skills and professional development needs in this area - check out

On this site you can take a tech assessment and even create a PD plan around technology.

Dana Dones said...

Session 6

This is the first session where it was heartfelt to see first grade students writing and recording their voices as they read stories. At first I could not understand their penmanship but as I looked at the grade level it made sense. What also made sense was the fact that if these students are engaged in writing in blogs now, as they move throughout schools their writing should improve significantly. It is imperative that corrections from classmates and teachers need to occur as well. This form of blog utilization is powerful and beneficial.

As for adding content to Dave's Wiki I am not sure if I added the content in the correct place, but I did add a few sentences about my trip to Australia and meeting the Aborigines while over there.

Mrs. McAllister said...

I liked reading “Are textbooks becoming extinct?” as Web 2.0 is creating a new kind of student learning with different online resource such as social networking sites, blogs, wikis and virtual communities. I also like the idea of having online texts and resources especially in the field of science in terms of information always being up to date as well as less expensive. Limiting the number of trees being used for paper is another reason I like online textbooks – as well as students not having an excuse of not doing their homework because “they left their textbook at school.”
I was very happy to see that Wikidave has two Earth science resources that I will be using this year. One has an interactive display of plate tectonics. One is a great online quiz that students can use for reviewing. Posting information onto Wikidave was also interesting. I was able to add text and link it to another site, but when I tried to add an attachment (a picture of a surfing Polynesian), the system wouldn’t let me double click to insert it. If anyone was able to add a picture from an online source, please let me know how you did it. I appreciate Wikipedia even more after Session 6 and all the professionals and researchers that edit information that readers are able to add. Below is the section I added:
Polynesian tribes differ widely in number of members and in degree of segmentation: from a hundred or so members to many thousands, from a single community to scores of them. In many Polynesian societies , their communities are composed of members of branches of two or more tribes under the authority of one chief or a combination of chiefs, whose respective landholdings remained separate. But even in communities containing branches of different clans the local members of all of them would combine on occasions to do something together – such as participate in large scale fishing drives, dance fest or sporting events. The ancient Polynesians of Tahiti and Hawaii have been engaging in the art of surfing for centuries. The chief of the Polynesian tribe would have been the best surfer and would have ridden the best board. Over time, the surfing culture has spread from Hawaii and Tahiti to Australia and eventually to every continent in the world.
The wiki I started last week was a great success. At first, some students didn’t go the page I wanted them to post on and instead used the Front page in the comments section but it got the job done. I would say that 80% of my students did the assignment while the rest did the paper version as this was a test drive. In order to really make the team wiki useful in the future, I will be using the Wiki for group project collaboration. I love the idea of having all students access attachments, images and sound bites from one location that all their group members can edit.

M.Searle said...

I am certainly warming up to Wikis. In fact, despite my doubts after the last session, I created my first Wiki this past week. My co-worker and I attended a curriculum development training on Wednesday. We have decided that our current curriculum is in need of an overhaul. We spend a great deal of time brainstorming and coming up with all sorts of ideas. As we were scratching our thoughts down on several sheets of paper, I realized that this would be a perfect opportunity to give Wikis a try. I gave my co-worker a crash course on and we are now collaborating on curriculum development at I also invited the assistant superintendant to join the space as well. She was so thrilled at the idea that she suggested that myself and other faculty members who have completed this course do a mini Wiki training for other departments.
This week’s session was even more convincing. I was not surprised by the responses of the students in the video. I know that my students are always more engaged and create better projects when they find them fun and enjoyable. Incorporating technology is an easy way of doing this. I hadn’t really considered the idea of using a Wiki as a sort of interactive textbook. I currently don’t have a textbook in my animal science or floriculture class. In some ways, textbooks have become extinct in my classroom but unfortunately more as a result of budgetary cuts. I often rely on texts that I find online and essentially write my own. Being able to do all of this on a Wiki and including image and video links would be great! Most of the articles or written texts I hand out get left on the table when the bell rings and wind up in the recycling bin. Using a Wiki to essentially create my own textbook with all sorts of links would be fabulous. I could simply update and edit the text from year to year. I also think that it would be a great resource for working with students who have learning difficulties. We have several students at school who take a course called Learning Lab which is sort of like a guided study hall directed by a special education teacher. This a period where they can have additional time to work on assignments or make up work when they are falling behind. A learning lab teacher could better assist my students if my text was accessible online. I could also refer parents who are looking to help their students at home to the site as well. I practiced adding to an existing wiki at

I also found the last video to be interesting. Although I realize that our world is drastically changing as we increase our reliance on technology, I guess I had never really stopped to think about how this changes our definition of literacy. If we expect our students to be literate, then we must think about what that will mean for them in the future. I can honestly say that I have begun to realize that using all of these tools is a must if we plan on truly preparing our students to be successful in the future.

Dana Dones said...

Session 6 correction/addition

Ok with Dave's help and patience I figured it out. So I edited the Wiki page and it was quite easy. Here is the sentence that I added along with the link to

Once I visited Australia. I actually encountered several Aborigines people on the subways and along the shipping docks. While on the docks they performed and played music with local musical equipment that they carved by hand. The Aborigines seemed to dwell in clusters. I did not notice any of them working in the corporate offices or in retail. They seem to be the forgotten people.

Cheryl said...

I decided to add some information to a blank page set up for Math. The information I added can be found on wikidave.wikipages/GEOMETRY

SueKelly said...

I can’t believe all the material there is out there on wiki’s. There is so much material to go through! I have always been told by other teachers, and school librarians, to NEVER have my students use a wiki for any type of work. They are so unreliable. They can be changed at any time, for good or bad purposes. Because of this negativity, I have steered clear of them. However, after delving somewhat successfully into the world of blogs, I am beginning to imagine having a wiki that my classes can use. I went to wikidave and joined. I even edited the middle school English page by adding a line to “Middle School Grammar”, a site that offers a ton of grammar help to those of us English teachers who do not love grammar. I didn’t edit the history page because I don’t teach history. I only posted the link, I wasn’t sure if I had to post anything else.
When I can see the first graders being successful in their wiki, I am encouraged that I, too, may be able to do it. I love the idea of having wiki pals from other schools. My main concern is that kids are going to misuse the wiki. I teach 8th grade, and that age group can be very unpredictable. What if someone edits the page inappropriately and I can’t get to it in time to remove it? I don’t want angry parents calling or emailing me demanding to know what I am doing in my classroom! There is so much to think about in regards to wiki’s.

Alexandra Phelan said...

I think that I would still struggle with an accurate definition for literacy; the scope and complexity make it difficult to be succinct. The video was very interesting. The evolution of literacy is so complex and yes, ever changing. The idea of offering guidance about how to decipher the electronic text is a new phenomenon. The complicated view of the multiple modalities can be confusing but clearly the school should be guiding and teaching the proper use and manners for effective use rather than the children learning it all on their own. It is about the literacy and the complex skills required are daunting to stay on top of. His point of incorporating these resources and choice into the literacy, was very clear and so vital to the growth of schools; it is a shame we are not doing more to keep up.
I am in agreement with the quote that begin the power point this week. These changes are difficult to keep up with and feel comfortable using effectively. We have an interactive white board in our math class and the capabilities are endless and we are just using it minimally while we figure, plan and learn its capabilities.
In the video did I hear the word VLOG? Is it safe to assume that is like a video blog? We are advised to encourage students to ‘find root sites’ and ‘back up URL’s which makes perfect sense, but I am at a loss, and would not be able to offer that instruction. I do not know how to do that and, I am embarrassed to say, do typically begin searches on the web with “GOOGLE” (I am trying to broaden my scope).
Okay, I was excited about the practice with the Wiki but I watched the video most recently. I added to Dave’s Wiki page, adding some information that might be helpful for middle school literature circle. I am excited to have access to all of these resources