Wikis in my Classroom

One of my colleagues uses a wiki in his classroom for everything he does. His students know the wiki very well and he is very strict and demanding teacher. He teaches 8th grade Language Arts and history. They are required to check the wiki regularly, post assignments from home and work at school from the wiki. He doesn’t seem to have any problems with them changing answers and he loves using the wiki for his classes. He tries to get all the teachers on board and has had some of them create one to use with the same group of kids. I have joined his wiki so I can learn from some of the activities he does with them. I would love to create and use a wiki in my classroom. One of the things I’m afraid would happen is the same thing that happened in our group creation. I’m not sure what happened to our third group member, but she just didn’t show up and wasn’t a part of any of the collaboration or creation. That’s difficult because Natalie and I really didn’t know how far to go without her. We didn’t know if we should leave her things to do or just move forward without her. After awhile, we just moved forward. We divided things in sections and left sections for her to do. However, she still didn’t show up, so we aren’t sure when to finish the page or how much time to give her before we finish the page. It was quite frustrating. I have had my kids do group projects then have one kid in a group be out sick for an entire week, leaving the group short-handed. I did learn a great deal from the group wiki, however. I had never done anything more than just post assignments on a wiki. Creating our own page was fun and exciting. I learned so much and was really able to stretch myself to create something I wasn’t sure I could. Making the new page was very challenging, but even more rewarding when it actually worked. I was so excited when I clicked and it went to a new page that I shouted in my kitchen!

I think my opinion of Wikipedia has changed somewhat. I hesitate still to encourage kids to use it as a source because I know that most colleges don’t allow it. My son, who graduated from an undergrad college last year and is attending a graduate school this year has always been told it is not a reliable source and he’s not to use it as a source in any papers. Hopefully, the mind set will change. I will encourage my students to use it, but not as a source to be cited until there is more academic acceptance, since I have seniors.

I haven’t witnessed any resistance to any of the technology I use in my classroom. The students love using technology for learning and the administrators encourage it. I have absolutely no trouble with parents and they never object to what I do in my classroom. I doubt I would have any problems whatsoever using wikis in my classroom.

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