What type of knowledge building activities do you see going on in these different sites?
According to The Power of Wiki’s text, educational wikis are grouped into four different categories: “Collaboration, sharing, organization, and instruction”. Under the category titled “Collaboration”, I found professional development to be one of the examples discussed. I found this specific example to be a useful one. I had never considered this as a possible use for a wiki. In the text, “Solomon and Schrum suggest having educators use wikis during professional development sessions to create district wide or statewide technology-based lessons and district-level technology plans” (p. 58). I believe this is such a powerful idea for school districts. When I attend professional development days, my colleagues and I take our own notes that end up getting filed away and never really discussed among us. If we were to create a wiki for these types of situations, we could engage in meaningful discussions and it would be a great place to store notes, ideas, and resources for future use. This would be a great organizational tool that would also get teachers comfortable with the use of wikis so that they can maybe someday use them in their classrooms as well.
I also believe that sharing technology plans and lessons could really go a long way. When you have multiple educators working on shared lesson plans, you would be able to bring brains together and hopefully come up with engaging lessons. These plans could also be easily adaptable. Another knowledge building activity taking place on wikis includes students learning and working together with students all over the world. It is very motivating for students to not only edit something with a group or with a student in their class or school, but knowing that they are a small part of something really large and great would be a very rewarding learning experience for some students.
McCrea shares with the reader in Wiki-Centric Learning that everything created for the wiki is archived by year for future referencing. I believe this allows teachers to model assignments, students can be inspired and figure out “what works”, and this also is beneficial because teachers are able to set high expectations.
My concern with the use of wikis is when trying to use them in a primary classroom. I teach 5-6 year olds who are just learning the basics when it comes to using a mouse, a keyboard, etc. I believe I could use a wiki as a sharing tool for parents, administrators, other educators, etc. but I can’t see the perks for using a wiki over a blog or traditional website for something like this (in my classroom). The one thing that I instantly thought of was using it to sign up for conferences, supplies, volunteering days, etc. so that parents can edit at home. Maybe as I become more comfortable with using it myself I will become more creative and think of new ways to possibly use this Web 2.0 tool.
How do you see the quality of knowledge building being monitored in large public wikis and the smaller wikis?
The smaller more personal/classroom wikis are monitored by just a few, while larger public wikis have numerous people working hard to keep “What Wikipedia is Not” true. I was anxious to do the readings and researching for this week’s topic since it is the one I am least familiar with- especially from an educator’s standpoint. I honestly learned more about the ins and outs of a wiki through the “What Wikipedia is Not” site. Although I felt all of the information was interesting and worth reading, I especially liked the “Wikipedia is not a crystal ball” section. It is important to realize that opinions, thoughts, speculations, rumors, announcements, etc. are not a part of a wiki. Before learning about wikis this week, I had associated them along with blogs. I now cannot group them together! As I read in The Art of Using Wiki Pages to Teach, Davis pointed out that you never use “I” on a wiki. It is highlighted that there is ONE voice. Blogging is for “me” and wikis are for “we”. Sidenote: I LOVED the “This Page in a Nutshell” summary and icon at the top. I thought that was fantastic!