Monday, June 4, 2012

Wiki's in the Classroom

The number one tool I find invaluable is wikispaces.  I really liked the idea of students having their own voice heard by a potentially world-wide audience.  I had read a lot about student blogs, however it was a school policy for students not to have an email address.  So Wikispaces was the next alternative.

My students were now open to a world-wide audience.  They loved the ability to create content which could be viewed by anyone and with our multicultural school, many of our students had families overseas who could easily view their progress.

I started out giving students a username and assigning them their own space.  I create a class wiki, where I would post materials to support lessons, etc.  As soon as I introduced my students, they were off.  I found students going home and immediately working on their wiki's (either work they hadn't finished or 'blinging' their wiki ~ embedding widgets/ video's...).

This is my second year working with wikispaces.  I find we use physical excercise books less and less as students opt for publishing straight to their wiki.  Last year we got students to bring in USB sticks for saving files, pictures, etc.  We no longer use these (whoops!) as students can save documents, pictures to their wiki and being internet-based, they can access this information from anywhere.

I have just finished my mid-year reports and this was a great tool for seeing their learning (and I didn't have a stack of books spread around me).

Managing Wiki's
Using the comments feature, I can comment on their work, just like I would during class.  I try to focus on a page a week (e.g. their writing pages).  I keep a list of students I need to catch-up with (either they haven't completed a task, or they have done an outstanding job).  This means I know exactly what is going on.  It also means I can easily identify students who are struggling.  With one particular student (struggles with anything IT-based), I have paired them up with another student to ensure they know how to do basic tasks and to ensure they aren't just looking around the internet.  

It's great to look back at last year's work and see the development of my own skills and the students...wonder what 2013's class wiki will look like!

2011 Class Wiki

2012 Class Wiki