January 22, 2007
A wiki is a website that allows the visitors themselves to easily add, remove, and otherwise edit and change available content, and typically without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for mass collaborative authoring. The online encyclopedia wikipedia is a an example of a wiki. (Wikipedia)
Wikis can be used for many different types of collaborative projects. Students can work together with others in their class as well as others around the world. They can work from a classroom or school lab computer and use their computers from home. A wiki can be used to create a student written ‘text-book’, to create a class set of review notes, to collect in one place student work such as poetry and other forms of literature, to collectively share ideas, to revise and modify written work and to depict the events and steps in an ongoing project. When students work together on a wiki they learn how to recognize wiki information when encountered on the web and will be better able to assess the credibility of the information.
Examples of Wikis
If you want to explore wikis I would suggest that you create a wiki at WikiSpaces. WikiSpaces is offering 100,000 websites to educators free of advertising and with no usage limits. I would suggest that you have a name for your wiki chosen before you begin or it will take longer than the 30 seconds needed to create your site . Scroll down to the right hand bottom of the page to find the link to create an K-12 wiki. PB Wiki for Education is another wiki site worth considering.
Some points of comparison with between the two wiki sites might be:
sign-up and log-in procedures
free or fee-based
notification of changes
inserting images, tables, sound, video
history and discussion pages
Vicki Davis, writer of the Cool Cat Teacher Blog created a great video presentation for a K-12 Online Conference that provides an overview of wikispaces. You can access the low res or a high res video at Wiki Collaboration Across the Curriculum.
Her presentation covers:
Why students need to know how to wiki
A brief overview of the active portion of this project
The pedagogical use of wikis in the classroom
Wiki assessment strategies
Common questions from school administrators
Also at the conference site you will also find the video show notes and a wiki rubric. You may also want to explore Vicki’s classroom wiki site.
If you want to know more about wiki’s the following articles offer useful information:
7 Things You Should Know About…Wikis from Educause Learning
Point/Counterpoint Are Wikis Worth the Time? By Dean Shareski and Carol Ann K. Winkler
The following are some examples of collaborative projects using wikis:
Theatre Arts (NBCHS) Comedia del’Arte
Welcome to the Glengarrypedia Wiki (2006) (Grade nine students of Lower Canada College)
Hafford (at WikiPlaces) – Hafford School – Grade 2 and Grade 5/6
Favourite Foods Graph Kathy Cassidy’s Grade 1/2 class (Moose Jaw).
January 16, 2007
I wanted to share a tip about a very simple online digital photography tool that caught my attention in blogosphere this fall. It is a great way to introduce students to photo composition and digital photography at all grades. fd’s flickr toys offers a selection of cool tools that can be used in a variety of ways. My favourite is the Motivator Poster which allows you to upload photos from your account or hard drive. You then select a frame, colors, and font style to create an inspiration poster.
Amy Williams at Connaught School in North Battleford used the Motivator Poster tool to introduce her students to the concept of character. Each student had to plan a personal photograph which reflected their personality. They had to choose a setting and select the props that they wanted in the picture. They then had to write a short phrase about themselves to include in the caption of the poster.
(Brandon’s last name was erased from the poster to comply with the school division’s Acceptable Use Policy.)
I have identified a sampling of ELA and Visual Arts curricular objectives that can be met by using this simple online tool:
January 11, 2007
The purpose of this blog is to provide ideas and suggestions for activities that will help teachers comfortably use technology in their classrooms. Each week I hope to add new ideas that come from following my bloglines account and from teachers within our school division.