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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wiki who? Wiki what?

I find wikis to be the most useful tool to be used in a classroom context that we have covered so far. The more interactivity available in Wikis, as compared to something like a walled garden, appeals to me as a better resource for keeping a class log, but on a more structured level than a blog. Basically, I feel that the use of a wiki is somewhere between a walled garden and a blog. The question remains: what is the best application of a wiki in a classroom setting? I think the concept of using a walled garden as a class hub for students, parents and the teacher can be applied to wikis, with the added bonus that students can edit (and thus have some sense of ownership) of content. There could be a general information page on the class and then specific pages for each learning area. A downside to this would be the possible time limits of the teacher and convincing students and parents to comment or spend time editing pages. A more realistic application of wikis in the classroom would be setting one up for a specific project, tying together a number of learning areas and giving students the chance to post their own comments and link to their own research as they find it. I will write a later post, detailing a worked example of how I see this working.

I'd be happy for suggestions and for comments on what you believe the broader uses of wikis could be? Could wikis be used as a whole-school initiative, i.e. creating a wiki for an entire school?

2 comments:

  1. It's really up to the wiki creator to decide to what extent it's a walled garden - you control the privacy settings. You can make it public; or publicly visible but not publicly editable; or only privately visible and editable. You can also allow members to edit some pages and not others. But you're right that a wiki will nearly always give users more of a sense of control and autonomy as long as they're able to edit at least some pages.

    And to answer your last question - I've seen a few school-wide wikis created by teachers on past courses, usually for areas of common interest like student social events or sports.

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  2. A sports-oriented Wiki for the whole school definitely appeals to me. As I've seen school sport days and swimming carnivals run, I think teachers would happily take any guidance from parents, students and community members. Sport in school is a tough, but very necessary undertaking and it needs to be done right for students to benefit from it. But that is a whole other issue!

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