Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thing 21: Admin & Teacher - Wiki Exploration

When I first explored wikis, I saw value in having it available, but I did not see purpose in the work I do. What a year a difference makes. Now I have two wikis used for supporting Instructional Practices:

Wiki is a great tool for learning and reflection, or even as a message place, e.g. traditional website. One site that I am constantly referencing as a student site is: Comparing Hemispheres
A school in NY (Northern Hemisphere) and one in New Zealand (Southern Hemisphere) collaborate on science experiments. Students upload their findings so that both groups can compare and analyze the data. Students are active in their learning as scientists. Important note: These are not high school students. Elementary students are doing great complex work.

Another great example of how to develop a learning classroom is:
7th Grade Science
This Michigan classroom offers many opportunities for students to be deeply engaged in complex learning.

I've spent a lot of hours looking at sites that offer free Wikis. Here are four, in order of preference:

  1. PB Works
    This has the second most user friendly advanced functions. Plenty of space and security options, plus for educational classrooms up to 100 accounts that do not require an email address--good for using in elementary classes.
  2. Google Site
    The best set of tools that are user friendly and effective for designing a site. Connection to other Google Apps tools. Has limited storage.
  3. Wikispaces
    Very educational friendly. Lots of storage space. Tools are simple, which is part of the company's mission. It is a great option for anyone looking for a simple and quick way to put up a site. Advanced formating is difficult and limited.
  4. Wet Paint
    This is a social network environment. Easy to create pages. Has a large education community. Two challenges is that each site has a limit of file attachments, making it difficult to have students post assignments and other files. The other challenge for some schools is that it is a social network, with access to other networks through accounts made.