Wednesday, June 15, 2011

921--Session 6-The Ultimate Tool for Online Collaboration

We'll have two sessions for this week.  Session 5's posting and comment link is below this one, so if you haven't read it yet, please scroll down to that first.
You may access past participants' comments here and 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.


Karen said...

S6: This session's info on wiki's gave me a better understanding on what it really means to have multiple people contributing to a wiki. The idea that when one person goes to sleep there is someone else waking up to continue to add information to a wiki is actually mind-boggling if you sit down and think about it. The world is always on and always changing.

This makes me think of the riots that followed the final game of the Stanley Cup in Vancouver, Canada. So many people were taking video and pictures of what was happening. They were sending these videos and images to millions of other people. Others were blogging instantly and sending that info on to millions of other people. Within a few short hours people on the other side of the world were waking up to news headlines screaming about what happened just hours before in Vancouver illustrating the words with very detailed images.

Although these images became very useful to the police in identifying key people responsible for the riots, I wonder if the attention of what was happening and being photographed and videoed made the people participating in the riots more likely to continue? Did technology give these people the attention they were looking for?

Mary said...

Karen mentioned the impact social media had after the Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver. It makes me think of the difference in news coverage provided on the wars in the Middle East compared to the coverage during the Vietnam War. The unfettered Vietnam coverage had an impact on and precipitated the protests at home. I think our (US) government’s ability to control what news agencies transmit in the Middle East has contributed to the "back burner" mentality our society has placed on these wars today.

On the flip side, the revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, North Africa… were made possible through Facebook and Twitter. How can anyone question the power of social media after that? And, this is only the beginning…

I just love the quote from our reading this week Minds on Fire… by Brown and Addler; "We participate therefore we are. Understanding is socially construed." We are witnessing that power is socially construed as well.

Karen said...

S6: Here is the link to the new page that I added to our class wiki.

Lori said...

S6 - Here is the link I created within our class wiki

Karen said...

S6: The article "Are Textbook Become Extinct?" really hit home for me. Many of my students have access to digital textbooks and programs that help them read them. One program that we use in my district is Read-Write-Gold. Another web-based tool that we have supplied some of
our students is Students are able to copy a selection of text, paste it into text compacter and receive the most important information in the selection that they pasted. This has been
very useful to our students just learning English and students with
learning disabilities.

The literacy video was excellent. I completely agree that literacy has
changed and what we consider text has changed. Our student's work with
so many different texts now and they need a different set of skills to understand each. The idea that they have a toolbox full of tools is
exactly the way educators need to approach this topic. We need to be
teaching them how to use the tools that they have and how to refine
their skills so they can use their tools effectively.

When talking about production it was mentioned that giving students a
choice is a great tool. One way this has worked for me is using
the "Tick-Tack-Toe" Assignment. Where students are given 9 options and they need to create a tick-tack-toe. How they create their straight line is up to them. If you want more information on how to use thisvisit:

I think literacy is being able to make meaningful connections to
whatever you are doing with a particular text. If we are able to create meaning, authentic connections then we are literate with the text we are interacting with.

Although we are expanding what literacy is there are still so many
questions as to where we can take literacy.

I wonder how we get our students focusing on the find and not the

I wonder how we get students using skimming and focusing reading where

I wonder how we still focus on reading and understand but move beyond just doing that?

Jacque said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacque said...

S6: Here is the entry I edited on our class wiki:
Evaluating Sources Using Science

Jacque said...

S6: I thought the article "Are Textbooks Becoming Extinct?" described some of the dilemmas that schools face using traditional textbooks and how we can overcome them using low or no cost options.

It also made me think of this article I read fairly recently in Wired magazine. "The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains" describes how surfing the internet actually remaps some of the neural pathways in our brains. The question posed in the article is whether or not this is actually a good thing.

Jacque said...

S6: I think the most difficult transition for teachers to make regarding tools such as wikis is the move from "sage on the stage" to the "guide on the side," as Vicky Davis described. Wiki use seems to be very community and/or grassroots based where the majority of the participants are on equal footing and are united under a common cause, such as the Hurricane Katrina disaster described in "How Wikis are Changing Our View of the World."

The quote at the beginning of this session's powerpoint summed it up perfectly - figuring out how to incorporate these tools is almost like being a first year teacher again. Am I the only one that feels this way? It's incredibly exciting, but stressful (and time consuming).

Mary said...

I agree with Jacque 100%. Figuring out all these tools is like being a first year teacher. Terribly exciting and frustrating and so very time consuming. So much so that we have to go back to school. Thanks Dave for providing resources and insight.

Sonja said...

There is a new entry in the class wiki entitled, A Study of Survivalism in The Odyssey and Other Literature in the High School English area

It's under English I

Ms. Steele said...

S6 I am a wiki lover - I had the challenge last year of connecting students from multiple discipline Advanced Placement classes to collaborate on a project for a grant. The wiki was the only way to get kids to connect and plan. It was new to them so clunky at best but a true success in seeing the wiki-advantage.

Ms. Steele said...


Adding to the wiki


More to come - currently in the midst of grading final exams and so many/too many students do not get the importance of science. I am feeling the burn. So this should be my focus for next year. Mastery of (at the very least) science as a process.

Eileen said...

S6: I agree with many of the comments made and related to Mary's quite a bit regarding the impact of these blogs and images to events from around the world both from a negative and positive perspective. What I think we all realize is that this medium is here to stay and it will be interesting in how society as a whole deals with its impact.

I was very impressed by Dave's article "Are Textbooks Becoming Extinct" which all teachers have been saying for many years that they are and learning about Wiki Texts was so interesting. I have to believe that textbook companies must not be as profitable as they once were and had to wonder why they are not writing wiki texts already and selling the licenses to school districts whereby they could also customize these wikis to their own curriculum and needs of students. Although it would be great for individual teachers/groups of teachers to write their own text based on their own standards and curriculum, I have to believe there is not enough time in a day to devote to an endeavor such as this one. I wonder why text books companies have not jumped on this band wagon sooner. What a great idea to have these kinds of texts for support the differentiated learning that needs to happen.

Additionally, I learned this week about biz wikis that I had never heard about before. That is totally visual wikis using videos and images. Very interesting.

I too feel like a first year teacher going through this class. This week in learning about the access skills our students need since they use so many different forms of media these days and learning what is the correct way to view a website is something I wonder about too. I wonder if there is any research or information on this topic.

Lori said...

S6 – I agree with Karen in the fact that social media has contributed to the riots in Vancouver. There have been some online public apologies. Do you think they would have apologized if their face wasn’t all over YouTube? I wonder what it was like after the riots in 1994 in Vancouver. No YouTube and social media didn’t exist in any way, shape or form that it does today.

To continue with the article “Are Textbooks Becoming Extinct?” here is a link to another blog I follow and a list of what the author believes will be obsolete in education by 2020. I have yet to understand how paper is on the list, but time will tell! Here is the link:

Another thought about textbooks, they are all changing, new editions are being printed, curriculums are changing. Maybe our middle/high schools will begin to look like university classes where students print or view the notes/readings the night before.

I wonder what my classroom will look like in 10 years? In 20 years? (Will I even have a classroom?)

I wonder if we will always feel like first year teachers when it comes to technology?

Jennifer Hawkins said...

This session on wiki's has given me a better understanding of how powerful they can be in a classroom environment. The article called "Are textbooks becoming extinct" brought up a few important points. First that textbooks are outdated a lot of times. Second that a lot of schools don't have the budget for them. When I first started teaching my chemistry class the textbook that I was given dated back to the 90's. So much has changed in science since then! The school had the budget to buy more, but it was waiting for the newest edition to come out, which meant I was without a text this year. This was beneficial because it forced me to not rely on the text as much. As a new teacher, I found that a lot of times I was teaching out of the text. This class gave me the experience to branch away from that. The idea of using a wiki as a classroom text is incredible. I think the students would be really engaged. Had I started my class wiki earlier in the year, I wonder how much more information we would have been able to place on it.

One of the dangers of using the wiki as a class text book is making sure that the information is relevant and accurate. I think using this idea next year for my chemistry class would be great, however, the challenge will lie in maintaining the accuracy of the site.

On one last note I would like to comment on something that struck home. "Teaching is a collective effort, not an individual accomplishment". I really agree with that statement. I think it's important to engage all of your students and not talk at them but rather have them contribute to their learning. It will given their learning experience more meaning and hopefully they will retain the material more. In a biology class that I took in college, I had an instructor once tell us that we were going to have to memorize the names and symbols of all of the nucleic acids. My first thought was are we going to have to learn their structure. When asked, he replied we would not. But memorizing the names of the nucleic acids has no meaning, without understanding the structure of the compound itself. It's just memorizing. The connection to its function is missing.

I feel that when students are given the opportunity to construct a text and apply the information that they are learning a situation, they are not just reading facts and figures. They are using their knowledge to construct a product.

Jennifer Hawkins said...

Posted a link on the wiki

Ms. Steele said...

S6: In thinking about literacy and the 21st century skills that our students will rely upon I would like to share the link to the organization "Partnership for 21st Century Skills.'

This site has specific resources for helping educators think about what it means to be literate. A perfect tie-in to our immersion into the world of wikis is the sphere from P21 that focuses on the four C's = critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.