As a teacher, I would love to find a way to incorporate an educational wiki into my classroom. Through my course assignments this week, I had the opportunity to visit and explore a variety of educational wikis (I’ll share more about these below). In addition to learning a few things from the websites’ content, I also gained numerous ideas for creating and utilizing an educational wiki. I think the coolest idea that I read about was a classroom wiki devoted to virtual field trips. How neat would it be to have a wiki devoted solely to virtual field trips, created by students, to share information and pictures related to a specific location? Considering the increasing costs of “off campus” field trips, this would provide students the opportunity to digitally explore a location. This will probably be my first wiki project! I also liked the idea of using a wiki to establish classroom resources (class encyclopedia, study guides, book/story guides, class scrapbooks, etc.) This would allow students to access content and contribute valuable information from any location in the world. In one article that I came across, the author suggested that with a very strong and content rich classroom resource wiki, students could eliminate the need to bring a textbook home, since the information would be available anywhere. Another neat wiki idea that I saw involved multi-authoring stories in which a variety of people contributed to a story. Then, people from all across the world edited, revised, and translated the story. Because this story remains open to revisions and alterations, it is constantly changing and expanding. This seems like a great idea for teaching students about the writing process, author’s voice, as well as different perspectives. The potential, the options, and the opportunities that become available through a wiki are limitless.
As I previously stated, I had the opportunity to explore many different wikis this week. The wikis that I have decided to share are the ones that seemed most relevant to me as an elementary school teacher.
- Greetings From Around the World: This is a 2011 Edublog Award Winning wiki that allows students to explore different places in the world. The specific pages for each location (identified on an interactive Google map) were created by students and include digital posters (created in Glogster). The site is organized into three easy to navigate components: Learn- Learn about places; Look- at this location through the perspective of another student; Create- create a page for a new location. In addition to having a great variety of information on many different locations, this wiki provides a local’s perspective on a specific place. Students can determine what they view as the most important information to share about where they live. Again, being that it is a wiki, others can contribute and share their perspectives. This was most definitely one of the neatest blogs I explored!
- Schools in the Past: In this wiki, people contribute information about what it was like to attend school in the past. It began with students interviewing their parents and grandparents about what school was like, and it has evolved to include information from a variety of contributors. It is a very basic wiki, with the vast majority of the content being on the main wiki page. The content is well organized into categories. The content is also highly relevant to young students, including information about playgrounds, lunch time, and other daily components. I felt that this wiki provided many interesting perspectives for students to review, as well as providing students valuable information for comparing and contrasting schools of the past to schools of today. I learned a lot while exploring this wiki, I know students do too.
- Kubler Reading: Mrs. Kubler’s site provides another interesting way in which a classroom wiki can be used. On this wiki, students in the classroom share information and discuss concepts related to the book they are reading, Tuck Everlasting. This wiki essentially seems to be a digital literature circle, with students having “reading roles” or jobs to facilitate discussions related to the book. I like that the content on this wiki is divided into the reading jobs, so users can click a role (like Word Wizard) and can then browse the content by chapters. This site is well organized and easy to navigate. I do think more content under some of the jobs would enhance this wiki. For example, when you click on many of the links, you only gain one to two sentences of information. Otherwise, I think this is a great wiki! I use Literature Circles in my third grade class near the end of the year, and definitely want to try to engage students in some type of digital collaboration, possibly through a wiki.