Week 6 Wikis and Learning

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!


4 thoughts on “Week 6 Wikis and Learning

  1. Rachel H Tan

    Dear Shelby,

    Reading again your point on PD has inspired me to consider a proposal to use Wiki as a place for faculty to share ideas on the use of Web 2.0 in teaching and learning. The wiki layout should be designed to make it easy for faculty supporters to input their knowledge in practice. We could also invite researchers to share their research work that informs practice. The goal would be to create a place for synergy and for faculty to experience the power of wikis. If this idea materialize, it would set the stage for faculty to tune in towards the e-Fiesta 2014 event on Social Media Based Learning. The wiki if successful could be broadcast to in-service and pre-service teachers as an additional resource.

    Currently at the Centre for e-Learning we have fragmented information here and there in iTunes U, campus publication, training sites, etc:

    Thanks again Shelby

  2. mlc400

    I liked that you pointed out the idea of using wikis district wide to help plan lessons using technology together. I know that Melissa stated in my post some ideas for using wikis at the primary level. I think that taking a tool like wikis and using them district wide with other teachers that teach in our grade level, may be a great thing to help us find the ways we can utilize these web 2.0 tools in our classrooms. I know that in the other grad class I am taking this summer, we are learning about the proper way to plan a lesson that involves technology. If done right, it is a detailed plan that involves a lot of thinking and a specific lesson plan format. Since this is time consuming, if an inservice day was spent on teaching each educator how to do this, we could then work as a team, using a wiki, to plan multiple lessons across the different curriculum’s in this manner. Thank you for pointing this idea out. Maybe I can start something like this just with the teachers in my building. Also, we could branch out and share ideas with others (like you and I could share because of having the similar struggles in planning technology infused lessons for primary students)!

  3. jaf378

    Shelby – I really liked your thoughts on using wikis for professional development purposes. In large organizations with a lot of moving parts, information can often get siloed. When I worked in fundraising at Penn State for example, I found the greatest resources are the people across the University doing the same work that I was. However, with 250+ people in our division, there was no way to regularly and easily share best practices, stories, tips, etc. Since most fundraising staff are doing the same type of work (i.e. going on the road to solicit major gifts), using a wiki could help share information about when development staff are in the same area at the same time, best practices for soliciting a certain donor or in a certain area, information learned at conferences, and even places to stay and eat when on the road. I realize it’s a non-classroom application, but sharing these tips and strategies could easily apply to an internal network of teachers. They could create a wiki of all 2nd grade teachers, for example, who can share classroom resources and activities that they’ve found to work well. Great thoughts!

  4. Melissa Glenn

    Shelby: I discussed a couple of thoughts about using Web 2.0 tools to organize parent meetings and supply lists in response to your comment to Marie. But I also wanted to comment on your idea to use a wiki to keep track of ideas from professional development events. One thing I learned from attending conferences, is to make an action plan after an event such as this. You don’t want to walk away with too many great ideas because then nothing will get done! After thinking and reflecting, prioritize what you want to do and then make a plan for one or two of the most important items. Think about what you will need (people, money, supplies, time) to accomplish those plans and what your time frame will be. In this way, I think that a personal blog that you share with fellow teachers would be helpful to organize your action plan and then your fellow teachers can hold you accountable for completing your action plan. If you have many resources to share with others regarding the project, I think a wiki would be a better tool.

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