Important points

Points to keep in mind to go from a simple web page to a site of knowledge gathering to an actual community:
  1. What goals do you have? What do you envision the wiki to look like? What access to computers do you and your students have?
  2. Be up front with your vision and expectations. Students are more likely to appreciate change if they have a vision of how it makes learning different.
  3. Decide what will be on the wiki and how you will organize it (the best part is that it can always be changed easily.)
  4. Create the skeletal basics of the wiki.
  5. Model how to use the wiki in class.
  6. Make the wiki a routine in class.
  7. Creating wiki value - a worksheet on a wiki is not always the best course. Sometimes it is okay to do so but the best parts of activities can be used in the creation of a better portfolio of learning about the topic. It is a great idea to keep bringing the content back around and building upon the essential ideas.
  8. How to collaborate. Students are used to cooperative learning but are not as good about collaboration. They really need help in the modeling and the intervention to make it work.
  9. Create options for providing feedback on learning. This is not just missed answers but ways students can imrpove upon how they learn.
  10. Reflect frequently.

The number one problem

Students forget to rename their images in such a way that they cannot be duplicated by all the others. Students will believe that there is vandalism on their page when in fact, they named their picture a generic name that was reproduced and therefore wrote over their original picture. For example, when you use the snapshot function of the Mac, it defaults the name of the picture to "Picture 1". If a student uploads this to the wiki and a picture 1 already exists in the files, it will write over the current picture 1 and replace it. A student whose picture 1 originally was a graph and then talked about the graph below it, will now have a picture of a dissected pig instead.

Managing lessons

Start with a mini lesson or directions (notes, demonstration, thinking activity, what the goals of the lesson are), discuss how they will be applying work (project, using information, research, labs), create a final discussion for reviewing information (summary, using information learned in a new way, whole class use and discussion of knowledge, reflection).

Hints and Management Ideas

  • Use a discussion as a quick intro to class (allows you an opportunity to tie up loose ends, gets students thinking about homework or yesterday's class topic)
  • Show basics - editing a page, creating a link, table of contents, uploading/inserting a picture...
  • Manage the initial use with students: Creating a team name, creating/linking to a team page, creating member pages from the team page, etc.
  • Change Partners - Switch group and discussion partners frequently. Use different groupings for different types of class activities.
  • Use Think - Pair - Share to increase thinking time in activities and discussions. Use a timed pair share to be sure there is an equal amount of talking on both sides of the pair-share. Use this to find out what they know right now and decide what still needs to be learned.
  • Monitor Discussions - Walk around and monitor discussion and group work. Misunderstandings and questions that are teaching opportunities become evident. Use the time to discuss progress and evaluate using checkpoints. I interrupt the class often to point out problems, solutions, content that others seem to be struggling over, asking inquiry questions to get them to think, etc. This helps model thinking and learning.
  • Randomly Select Students to check progress - I use a collection of popsicle sticks that have numbers on them. The numbers correspond to the student with the same number on the roster. I draw a popsicle stick and check progress, etc. of the student. I may ask them questions, see what is on their screen, ask them if they have questions, etc. This is also useful for doing a quick history check to keep them honest. Check the history of their computer to be sure they are honestly working on the material. Be sure to announce this to the class though. For some classes, I may do this every 5 minutes but that is a tough cycle to maintain. This process can also be used to discuss items from the Think - Pair - Share for discussion in class. It prevents you from calling on the same students.
  • Students have difficulty with creating a table in the wiki. It is not the same as in a word document and easy to create a mess.
Be careful when deciding if students purposefully change wiki pages or deciding if it is an accident: article/14938


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