One of my assignments this unit is to give a brief overview of several education wikis. The first wiki I looked at is Collaboration Nation. Collaboration Nation is the classroom wiki for a 19th Century History class in the eighth grade. This wiki is particularly interesting to me as the instructor offers to collaborate with willing classrooms. Features of this wiki include video discussions, podcasts, technology help, and research links. This type of wiki supports both student and teacher learning. Students learn the technological, research, and content skills to maintain the wiki while the educator networks and grows in their profession by collaborating with new colleagues and keeping up to date with new technology.
A second wiki I investigated is DelMar History 8. Like the first wiki, this is a classroom wiki for a middle school history class. The strength of this wiki is that it has every resource that a student could need in one place. There is a separate section of this wiki dedicated to improving written assignments. This wiki also has links to various classroom resources and forms, including a homework excuse form. The primary purpose of this wiki is to support student learning. I do wish there was a little more student activity, so I could gauge if this wiki is meant as a tool to aid independent student learning or if it is meant to supplement a more instructor-driven model.
Next, I decided to vary my selection of wikis by reviewing The Aristotle Experiment. This wiki is for an entire high school and does not focus on only one classroom. The purpose of this wiki is to help the school’s students gain the technological skills needed to succeed. The class pages contain resources to help students do well in class such as course calendars, reading lists, etc… The really interesting portion of this wiki falls under the student projects section which includes extensive multimedia projects, writing prompts, and a school blog. This wiki has great potential as a hub for this high school. To really effectively support learning, the section for the classes needs to be divided by more than grade and needs to be more than resource lists. Get the students involved!
The last wiki I checked out is entitled 105. 105 is the classroom wiki for a secondary level Government class. What struck me about this wiki is it’s similar strengths and flaws to the previous wiki. Most of the wiki is devoted to listing class resources. To the wiki’s credit it does have the advantage of having an online textbook and separate links to individual student pages. Again, the real strength of this wiki is in the student driven content. The student pages are full of self-made videos, slideshows, and no longer existing GoogleDocs. The only way that the student pages could be better is with the addition of written responses and some sort of framing or explanation of the projects.
DelMar History 8
The Aristotle Experiment