Teaching and Tasties

Delicious eats and daring, death-defying teaching feats

The discovery of wikis… December 7, 2008

Filed under: School — tlsussman @ 4:51 pm

I always knew wikis existed, but I did not know their educational potential until recently.  As a Spanish teacher, we do SO many projects, which I love.  It lets the kids really push themselves and think and write and do outside the box.  So I was thinking back on my techie camp and came across wikispaces, a wiki that gives free space for educators.  I figured, what the heck?  Nothing to lose on this one…

At this point, I have create 3 assignments for one class.  The first, a group project, went well, but not as well as I wanted.  The benefit of the wikis is that anyone can edit them from anywhere.  For my site, it only allows those I have invited, which makes it extra safe for the kids!

Our most recent project was a weather report.  I would say, in general, it went really well – until a student decided not to follow directions. (BIG surprise there!)  I made a page for each kid, but he decided that instead of editing his personal page, he was going to edit the main page, the one with all the directions.  Lo and behold, my directions are all gone, as are the connections to all the other students’ pages.  THANKFULLY, he is a bit behind and chose to do his project after everyone else had turned theirs in!

What is great for me, and potentially sucks for the kids, is that I can see their every move!!  In fact, they can see what everone else does too…they just aren’t quite quick enough to figure that out.  (Man I love these kids!)

Checking upI can hit the “history” tab at any time and see who edited what, at what time and what he/she added or deleted.  So for a group project, when a kid says he did all the work…I can really verify it!  I think it definitely holds the kids a bit more accountable.

Our new project should be interesting.  The kids are to draw a monster, person, being, etc. and write a paragraph describing it.  They post the paragraph on the wiki and a friend draws what they imagine from reading the paragraph.  The picture is then posted and so is the original.  The two get together to compare and contrast, which is also posted.  It’s great, because the page is easy to set up and the directions are right on the page:

picture-11Sometimes I create the pages for the kids and other times I let them.  I think this time, they will get to start the page.  It will be a test in following directions, as they will need to make sure the page shows up in the right place!

Since this is the third project they have done, I am hoping they can move a bit quicker (ha) and get this done in the 2 weeks before break.

Pray for me!!

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