1. Briefly describe your group, your wiki, and what you use it to do:
I’m an Instructional Technology Specialist at the elementary school level and I created this wiki to serve as a resource for teachers in my school, as well as any other school who wants to use it. This was our first year embarking on the journey of becoming a ‘Bring Your Own Technology’ (BYOT) school. I’m proud to say 100% of our teachers joined this journey and our entire school embraced this initiative.
2. Besides the Edit button, which wiki feature is your favorite?
I love that wikis are interactive and allow for collaboration. While this wiki is being used more for informational purposes for teachers, I love that we can set them up so teachers and students can interact and work collaboratively on projects. This year I collaborated with a teacher and we helped the students create a wiki based on what they learned about bridge construction. They were able to work at school and from home, which extended learning well beyond the school day. Students were able to add their own information, images, and videos to their pages, and share them with peers and adults. They loved that they were able to be more in charge of their own learning.
3. What is one way you’re using wikis and other web 2.0 tools in your projects?
Using web 2.0 tools, such as wikis, helps make learning relevant for our 21st century learners. In addition to the bridge project, I’ve collaborated with teachers to create web-based resources for our students. An example of this is in this wiki for third grade. The wiki was used for students to research famous historical figures in their social studies curriculum.
While this wiki is not as interactive (yet), it allows younger learners to utilize online research skills, while providing a more protected environment. Using teacher-selected sites within a wiki is one way to introduce online research. We then have the opportunity to extend learning and discuss why these websites are valid and relevant, while others are not. Then we can help our learners become more independent and prepared as they search for sites using student-friendly search engines.
Using web 2.0 tools also creates a sense of responsibility among our learners, because their audience moves beyond classroom visitors and family members to a world audience. Another wiki I’m planning right now is more interactive and involves teaching students about digital citizenship via a webquest, where they’ll then become the educators. Webquests are great because they allow more interaction and can help differentiate learning for students by including schema building activities and extension opportunities as well. In my T-R-U-S-T webquest wiki, students will learn key ideas about being a positive digital citizen, as referenced in ISTE’s NETS-S standards. Students will use this wiki to learn from videos, scenarios, activities and a collection of websites linked from it. They will then have the opportunity to blog, take polls and even create their own video, digital story, or cartoon to share with others what they learned.
I’ve found with using web-based tools, especially using wikis to engage learners, it is as easy as creating a word processing document, only the possibilities are endless. With so many students starting to have access to personal devices, learning can happen well beyond the school day.
4. Tell us about a particular moment that made you say, “Aha! THIS is why I use wikis!”
My aha moment came when I stepped back, handed over the creative control to our students, and watched what they came up with collaboratively. Once they learned how to create a wiki (and all the capabilities it has), they came up with so many creative ideas! Let me tell you, students take working on their wikis very seriously, because they know it can be viewed by a world audience, not just their teacher or parents. While as a teacher or tech coach you can set up parameters for your students, it is within this environment, we can truly model for our learners how to create a positive digital footprint. I can’t wait to use this resource even more next year.
5. If you could ask it, what do you think your wiki would say about you?
My wiki would say I’m willing to try something new and I want those who are beginning the BYOT journey to be successful. Most importantly, it would say I’m willing to collaborate and share my ideas with others, so they can learn, share, or create an even better resource for the rest of us to learn from. I look forward to learning from my fellow Wikispaces collaborators!