Wiki Wiki

January 24, 2010 at 3:53 pm (Uncategorized)

I seem to have developed a desire to interfere with my colleague’s teaching. My Web 2.0 agenda does not stop at the door of the Physics lab or ICT room. I feel an evangelical lust upon me and have been imposing myself like a jehovah’s witness at the classroom doors of the unenlightened.

Helpful friend? or pain in the arse?…it depends on who you ask (and who they’re talking to) but I really don’t care…its amusing me.

My latest victim is the history department. It was suggested that a topic based Wiki was a good idea so I set one up using www.wikispaces.com . I’m sure that there are loads of other providers out there but this one came up first and said that they offered ad free , zero cost basic wiki functionality for educational establishments. (although the google ads are still there atm)

It took me about 5 minutes to open an account and the subsequent double ICT lesson with yr 7 to get them all enrolled as contributors and to work out how to use it. Armed with some information about their forthcoming Medievel topic, a couple of text books and the Internet we set to task. The resulting Wiki is a bit ropey and lacking in content…but it is up and running and the pupils have a basic idea of how to create ,edit and link pages together with lots of ideas about what to do with it.

These yr 7 girls, having been converted to the faith by my religious fervour are now delivering the newly discovered media to the doors of the history room like they’ve found the Dead Sea Scrolls….It will be very difficult to ignore them from now on.

some initial thoughts on the process:

* When trying to “sell” this kind of idea to teachers, their first thought is “oh…more work” rather than “the same work in a different way”
* Getting the pupils enthusiastic about this sort of thing is far easier.
* I knew nothing about history or Wikis before the lesson. I’ve learned lots about both.
* The process of learning with my yr7 class was quite enjoyable. Lots of discovery and independent learning going on.
* The two most engaged pupils in the class were the same two that are notoriously not always engaged in history.
* The sense of ownership of the project amongst these pupils is palpable.

Right….I’m off to talk to the English dept about Blogging……

Paul Cross

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1 Comment

  1. Anne Robinson said,

    If you talk to your librarian you may find that they are also really keen on blogs, wikis and nings! Many of us are using these with classes and would really enjoy working with teaching staff. I use a wiki with our Reading Group and am developing another one to use with English classes to help them develop their reading. In my last school, I worked on a wiki with our History Department on the Civil Rights Movement.

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