Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Recently I sat down with a few colleagues to talk about wikispaces... I was asked many questions during our discussion and began to realize that many people that I work with are intrigued! I feel it is important to "spread the word" in a way that people are not feeling attacked or questioned. A simple approach always seems best when explaining why we should incorporate any "new" or "exciting" piece of technology into our schools. So the question then is... "Why Wiki?" My answer is "Why Not!" I compare my wiki to a textbook. The difference though is that my "textbook" is interactive, provides true ownership, and is updated daily to provide the student with an exciting learning experience. It is something that is used to enhance the class, the learning, and the teaching. It is something that the students use daily, whether in school or outside of school. It is something that is not used merely as a "cool website," but rather an integral tool to make the learning process more efficient. My students are engaged daily, excited about learning, and "raising the bar" every time we use the wiki, and therefore I feel it is something every student should have the opportunity to experience.
There was a mini debate on the #edchat discussion on twitter yesterday that compared new technologies to carpentry and construction. One person claimed that people want to get the newest, cutting edge technologies simply because they are new. He claimed that these "new technologies" are not needed and are not really useful in the way a lot of educators claim them to be. He compared it to a contractor having no need for new tools or the "newest model" when building a house. He related teachers using "new technologies" to a contractor getting the "newest toy" to build with... they are nice and "cool" but not needed. REALLY???
The first tools "contractors" used 100's of years ago were simply hammers and nails with a few basic accessories thrown in. Sure a house can be built using these tools, but how efficient is the contractor using them? What kind of quality will the final house actually be? The "new toys/tools" that are out today provide the modern contractor with the means to be more efficient and end with a better product. Isn't that what educators should be doing as well? Finding the most efficient way to deliver a quality and polished product... Sure, we can use the same "tools" that were being used 100's of years ago, but what quality will we be producing... Technology, such as wikis, are used to enhance and "build" the quality of learning. How can we not use it?
If I had the choice between a contractor who used the newest innovations to make my house the best it could be, or a contractor who ONLY used tools from 100's of years ago, I would choose the first... wouldn't you?
In the same way, if I had to choose between a teacher who used the newest innovations to help my child be the best they can be, or a teacher who ONLY used tools like worksheets, workbooks, and paper driven assignments... I would choose the first EVERY time, wouldn't you?
I believe that teachers must continue to learn in order to become the best they can be for their students. I am not saying that technology is the ONLY "new" trend that must be learned, but I feel if a teacher is reluctant to this, then they will most likely be reluctant to change as a whole. The world is constantly changing, therefore we must change as well in order to provide the best education possible for our students .
Enough of my soap box... On with Wikis!
Sample Wikis to Learn From
My Class Wiki (Twitter ID: cpoole27)
My Class Wiki: I use this in my English Class and the students are on it everyday, either in class or at home.
Thank you to Christina Spiezio for sharing this wiki! (Twitter ID: cspiezio)
Ms. Spiezio's Wiki: 7th Grade English wiki, Very well done with a lot of great ideas!
Thank you to Paul Bogush for sharing this wiki! (Twitter ID: paulbogush)
Good Social Studies Wiki: A lot of links and ideas to incorporate into your own wiki.
Thank you to Angela Cunningham for sharing these two wikis! (Twitter ID: kyteacher)
iclassroom: Wiki using front page with links discussing twitter, geography, and civics!
Tools for differentiation Wiki discussing differentiated instruction
Thank you to Tom for sharing this wiki! (Twitter ID: xmath2007)
nuIDeas: Great wiki with a catalog of online resources for the technology -integrated classroom
Thank you to David Kapuler for this wiki! (Twitter ID: dkapular)
Cutting Edge Technology: This wiki is dedicated to various web 2.0 technologies and is laid out very well!
Thank you to Will Richardson for this wiki! (Twitter ID: willrich45)
Will Richardson Wiki: Wealth of information on tech ed and more in one place!
Not sure who to thank for the following wiki's but they are good!
The Full Wiki: Combines google maps and wikipedia!
Twitter4teachers: A wiki that makes it easy for teachers to find each other on twitter!
Game programming wiki: Pretty cool wiki that has a lot to discuss about game programming language and tutorials.
If you have a wiki that you would like displayed, simply send me a message on twitter or comment and let me know! I would love to build this post with a good sampling of GREAT wikis!
WOW WHAT AN AWESOME RESOURCE
Thank you to Jerry Blumengarten(Twitter ID: cybraryman1)for this awesome WIKI resource:
Wiki Resources: Everything from "how to" tutorials to advanced "wikiness" :)
Wikipedia... Good or Bad?
Wikipedia, in my school at least, is looked at as EVIL... I disagree totally. I know wikipedia is not a primary source, however if an encyclopedia is allowed, than why not wikipedia? I am not going to get into a heated debate about it, I am just going to post some links to a few articles. Read them and see what you think :) It may not change your mind but hopefully it will get you thinking!
Study: Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica
Reliability of Wikipedia (from Wikipedia)
Experts rate Wikipedia's accuracy higher than non-experts
I hope that this list has helped inspire you to create a wiki or at least indulge in the idea of learning about a new tool to incorporate.
Posted by Mr. Poole at 9:20 AM