Tuesday, June 15, 2010

921-Session 8

This week we will be dissecting a wiki. If you would like to start by reading past participants' comments then you will find them here:

Spring '09

Also, someone from class asked for more information on how to get the 'double-click on any word and then get its definition' feature, so if you are interested you may visit here for more information.

I thought a lot about how to address this session and decided to stray from the usual presentation format and teach this session entirely from the blog.

I believe that it is always easier to 'show' instead of 'tell,' so the bulk of this session will be spent watching videos that will help clarify the nuances and details that make a wiki such a powerful tool--as well as address the topics laid out in the syllabus: new literacies, wiki benefits, and wiki drawbacks.

Now, just be aware that there is some redundancy in these clips, so feel free to fast-forward through parts that you have already seen.

Let's start with a clip from one of the many companies that offer free wikis for you to use. This one is from PBwiki.com. They claim that making a wiki on their site is as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich. Please keep notes while watching these.

I hope you liked that one. This next video focuses upon how collaboration really works. It is a good transition from our last session on Collective Intelligence.

So naturally, these 'beg the question' about ease of use. Is it really as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich? Well let's take a look at an explanation.

And this one shows you how wikis can help educators educate.

And lastly, we'll address the underlying issue all educators have about using Web 2.0 tools in education----SECURITY for our students.

Now, in the 21st century, it doesn't take long before the major technology giants latch onto any and all good ideas from the small start-ups. So Google has jumped on the 'wiki bandwagon' and created their own variation. They call it 'Google Documents' and the details can be accessed from the link below. Please visit this site and take the online tour. While you are there jot down your ideas and thoughts to aid you in your post-session comments.

You'll immediately notice the similarities between wikis and this new Google tool. Those teachers from the Math and Science areas will find the spreadsheet component particularly interesting.

Google Documents & Spreadsheets

Now, before your head spins off from all the possibilities, I want you to take a break. When you come back we'll take a look at this 4-part online video course, created by the University of Wisconson-Milwaukee. It addresses some of the benefits and drawbacks of wikis. The great thing about it is that it is self-pacing and asynchronous just like this course. Again, I would like to remind you to take notes as you progress through these tutorials, so that you may post quality comments and insights when you have completed everything this week. If you feel part 1 is redundant then please skip forward to 2, 3, & 4.

University of Wisconson-Milwaukee

I hope you enjoyed the variety in this session's presentation and I would like to end this week's posting with a reminder that Deliverable 3 should be posted under Session 12's blog posting, as well as on the wiki.

Also, please keep in mind that the deadlines for D3 and the Final Project will be here before you know it, so please use this week to get a headstart.
All assignments are due by Friday, June 26th at midnight EST.

Thank you, and as always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.



Mrs. Limoges said...

Mrs.Borges had suggested Google Documents to me in Session 5,and after watching the short video clip on the google site, I am so excited for next year! This will make our record keeping so much easier and more accessible than our current network! I am trying to assimilate copies of spreadsheets of scoressaved by mistake to submit to our administration, and it is so time consuming! I wish we had tried something like this years ago! I understand the risks of errors and misuse, but the history, discussion, and password features that are available seem to be enough to eliminate the unnecessary corrections I am doing now. I see such great potential for wiki's as collaborative tools for schools among the staff as well as with the students! I will be using Google Docs next year, and I think just the hook of making our test score data entry easier will get many teachers from out staff on board.
The blog I used with my students was very stimulating and successful, but the more I think about it, a wiki probably would have served our purpose even better. When I had groups working on different post questions, they had to scroll through lists of other material and look for thier questions or go through old comments before finding responses to their comments. A wiki can be navigated through easily with the hyperlinks and would organize information for different groups. I feel I have lots of possibilities for integrating new tools into units next year. I think if I can lay out a basic framework or routine using a wiki, and maybe a blog for responses to literature, that it will be easy to apply it to any piece of literature I may choose to cover next year. I want to look more into audio and students recording audio segments. Hopefully these tools can be incorporated into a wiki without to much difficulty!

Coach Kim said...

Wow there was a lot of great information in this session. The videos on wikipedia were really interesting. At one point, John Hubbard had a section on Who can you trust? In which he discusses how .gov and .edu sites can't be trusted at face value. In essence, they are like every other site and require the use of validating. He also mentioned that likewise sites like wikipedia should not be taken at face value as well. The comment he made next was extremely valid and has changed my way of thinking and how I will guide students to do research. (this is about as exact as I could get it...) He said, "Trust, but verify everything you find. You can't tell kids to turn off their critical thinking skills on any site." The idea that we are responsible as consumers of information for being the fact checkers was interesting to me. It is almost an overwhelming idea, but I guess the motto, "Question everything!" is now a rule of the internet.

I also found the information about the Nature study interesting. I can't believe how many errors there are in encyclopedias...

Lastly, one of the videos talked about how wikipedia could offer more comprehensive coverage than something like an online dictionary. When he should the example, I was pretty impressed by the level of complexity and depth that wikipedia had covered the material (although it was about a math term that I am not sure that I have ever heard before, so it could all have been made up and I would have never known). All in all, his videos made me rethink about swearing off of wikipedia.

Mrs. Borges said...

I found this week’s video sessions interesting because I am trying out wiki’s for the first time with my own students. My final project calls for the creation of a wiki on an Indian instrument by my students. I was torn between using Wikispaces and letting them use Google sites. I ended up giving them a choice of whatever one they preferred to use. They had just finished designing their own web sites using Google sites, so they had experience with it. About 25% used Wikispaces instead. Of those who used it, half liked it and half didn’t. The ones who used Google sites were happy using it because they had used it before. The only drawback in using Google sites is that the visuals are not as easy to play with. My colleagues at the high school have been Google fanatics for the past 3 years. It was only this year that I decided to jump into the Google docs/sites/way with them. So, I took a web site I had created with FrontPage and recreated it with Google Sites. The lesson that I am using for my final project is collaboration between the music teacher and me using Google docs. It is the first time I really used Google docs and I’ve really enjoyed the experience. It is awesome for collaborations, so much easier than constantly e-mailing one another and trying to keep track of changes. The ability to revert back to prior versions is priceless. While Google docs is not a formatting masterpiece, it serves about 80% of my needs. Going forward, I plan to use it to post all my lesson rubrics and any files I need to share with students. This will be more convenient and more accessible than uploading them to the shared space on our school network.

Mr. Schofield said...

Google Docs is also great for students who don't have the common Word Processing software programs. I offer this as a resource for those students. It's also great for the collaboration aspect, since it makes conferencing with students a digital experience. I tend to require my students to submit their essays to me digitally, so that I can use the comments feature to offer feedback. Students then revise based on this feedback and submit a final draft. The nice part of this, like the Google Docs, is that there's always a digital copy (which I can use as models of student work later on) in case flashdrives are lost or printers magically run out of ink.

One of my favorite features of Google's repertoire is the Groups feature. I set up a Google Group for my English Department and for a committee I chair. This acts as a cross between a blog and a wiki, although I think I'll be transferring both of these groups to wikis based on what I've learned in this course. However, the Google Group allows me to contact all members in addition to allowing members to post documents to share for review. It really enhanced the productivity of the committee, since we didn't have to wait for our meeting to share our work. Check it out for another option.