In thinking about creating a wiki for my small reading groups, I decided to go on a hunt to find out what they look like in action. One I found that I really like is from a 2nd grade teacher in Canada. Check it out! http://mrsanderson10.pbworks.com/w/page/33263525/FrontPage It’s not only an informational wiki but also has electronic portfolios for each of her students. It seemed like a great format to start with.
Working on my grad class wiki was a bit challenging. First of all, I don’t have a lot of knowledge or experience on how to actually set one up (I obviously need to practice a lot more!) so I felt my layout was rather drab and boring. Secondly, it was difficult to truly collaborate (I think I need to get away from face-to-face time and learn how to collaborate online.) We are all busy professionals and we were all on different time schedules. This shouldn’t matter with a wiki, but it created anxiety in me. I didn’t want to do too little or not enough work as a team. Overall, I can really see the benefit in using wikis with both colleagues and students. I learned that I need to learn more about effectively and efficiently using wikis!
After learning about Wikipedia, my opinion has definitely changed. I had always thought it was the best thing since grandma’s apple pie! I was guilty of never thinking about how credible or reliable the sources are that contribute to it. It’s pretty amazing that it is a globally collaborative wiki where anyone can contribute; however, it’s not all based on facts like the old time encyclopedias. Contributors can definitely interject their perspective and biases in and make it sound very factual. I’m sure I’ll probably still use Wikipedia at times myself, but now I can look at it with a more critical eye. Now it all makes sense of why my teenagers could never use Wikipedia as one of their sources when doing research projects.
I can definitely see the benefits of using wikis in classrooms. Resistance, I’m sure, is going to come from the unsurety of how best to use them with students, how to get started… all of the age old excuses for not using technology. I’m not aware of any of our teachers using wikis at the moment. Some teachers have class blogs… but they are rarely updated. I’m also guilty of not knowing exactly how I’m going to use a wiki with my small reading groups. I’d like to share the use of wikis during our grade level meetings as a tool for student and/or teacher collaboration and maybe together we can be brave and tackle this!