Session 6: Using a Wiki to Take the Learning Home

hpim5449.JPGPresented by Richard Smart, who actually does have a website. Tell the truth, he has two of them. The paper handout is secondary, and the linksare on the first slide.

“Is this useful?” vs. “What is this useful for?”

1.5 million articles on Wikipedia by March 22nd, 2007.

He’s got the point of wikis – they’re fully collaborative pages.

3 features that make wikis cool:

  1. Editable articles.
  2. Discussion pages for those articles.
  3. Saves a history of all the changes.

Use the wiki to create a database on any subject: Over 2 weeks, his entire class wrote an article on his wiki on the Enlightenment. It was a group report.

Set quotas! Example: “Here’s a list of vocab words. You need to post 5 definitions and edit 3 definitions posted by others.”

If I have a classroom next year, I will be building a mini lab. If I have access to a lab every day, my kids can create their own textbook one chapter at a time. This is really cool stuff.

Have students post their reports to a wiki, then use the discussion board feature to critique each other’s work.

Build a class website. (There may be a couple examples of that in my sidebar. Just sayin’ …)

Listing wiki services. His favorite is Wikispaces, since they provide ad free wikis to K-12 teachers.

(This presenter is British. That’s cool, but his accent is making me want to put the letter “U” in certain words. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, provided they’re the right words.) :)

Talking about security, safety, & vandalism. Good topics, too much to blog here and do the conversation justice. Suffice to say, there’s a good chance that instead of Wikispaces I’ll use MediaWiki on my server. I’ll have much more control over everything that way, although granted it’s not a free alternative since I’m paying for a server.

Ha! He posted inaccurate information on one of his wiki pages and waited to see if a student would correct it. It took 4 days for someone to notice.

The first case of plagiarism led to a class discussion on the subject. After the potential for class-wide humiliation, his students started policing themselves. Nice.

“This is Thanksgiving Day, stop posting!”  “Mr. Smart, stop checking your email!”  :D

Extended deadlines facilitate usage by students without internet access at home.  They can always visit the local library, they just can’t visit every day.

He gives alternate assignments sometimes, but not every time.