Robert Maloy started the Resources for History Teachers wiki in 2009. This is his Wikispaces story.
1. Briefly describe your group, your wiki, and what you use it to do:
resourcesforhistoryteachers is a wiki designed for teachers and students, created by teachers and students. Robert Maloy, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, began resourcesforhistoryteachers in 2009 as part of a course designed to help college students prepare for the Massachusetts History Teacher Test.
Since that time, resourcesforhistoryteachers has grown beyond its initial focus to become a multimedia/multicultural history learning resource for teachers, students and schools throughout the United States and around the world:
- The site now includes all of the Massachusetts history standards for grades K-12 as well as the national Advanced Placement (AP) World History, United States History and American Government standards. There are more than 600 pages in the site and the number is constantly growing as users contribute new information and create subpages off main pages.
- Users of the wiki come from a wide-ranging community of educators committed to developing interesting and engaging curriculum for students studying history, government, economics and geography.
- The site now features links to multicultural and multimedia resources as well as short summaries of historical events, making it an interactive and engaging experience for history learners. There are links to primary sources, video resources, learning games, resources for teaching the histories of diverse people, historical biographies and many more materials for use in school classrooms. The goal is for teachers and students to have multiple resources for covering, uncovering and discovering the past.
2. Besides the Edit button, which wiki feature is your favorite?
Being able to create cross-links between pages is an exciting feature. Teachers and students can access information about an historical topic on one page and then explore more connections about that topic on related pages. Giving users the option to explore the pages in their own way makes this site a unique type of digital textbook for use in schools. Students can follow their own interests as explorers of the past through the lens of multiple types of learning resources.
The option to add images to the pages is another favorite feature. Pictures, maps, and other visual resources serve to bring historical material alive for teachers and students while creating visually engaging pages within the wiki. We also like the idea of creating subpages off a main page so that teachers and students can explore a specific topic in more depth by leaving the main page to read and explore the subpage.
3. What is one way you’re using wikis and other web 2.0 tools in your projects?
We have found that the resourcesforhistoryteachers wiki can be paired with other Web 2.0 tools to create engaging history learning experiences.
One idea is what we call a Wikiquest. Like a WebQuest, students explore multiple online resources as part of a class assignment. But in a Wikiquest, students do their explorations within the resourcesforhistoryteachers wiki, both accessing existing materials and adding new ones so that the wiki becomes a regularly evolving digital text and learning resource.
A second idea involves using the resourcesforhistoryteachers wiki in conjunction with social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Diigo. Teachers and students can assemble collections of web materials on their social bookmarking site and then link that material to wiki. This is enabled teachers and students to create stacks of resources about historical figures (historical biography stacks) or events (historical event stacks). Students in classrooms can follow each other social bookmarks while all the wiki users can also access the material.
4. Tell us about a particular moment that made you say, “Aha! THIS is why I use wikis!”
Wikis create ongoing opportunities for interaction and collaboration that result in powerful learning for teachers and students. Instead of a teacher lecturing about historical material or telling students to read online sources by themselves, wikis invite students to construct knowledge together by actively exploring existing resources and adding new ones to a public site that everyone can access and use.
5. If you could ask it, what do you think your wiki would say about you?
Active learning, critical thinking, and collaborative interaction are the hallmarks of how the resourcesforhistoryteachers wiki functions as a transformative technology for history learning by teachers and students. Wikis make historical knowledge visible and accessible to teachers and students who are both the creators and the receivers of that knowledge.