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Thursday, February 08, 2007

How I started in wikis, the Flat Classroom and Second Life



I'd like to share a transcript of an interview I did with Stephen Hogg today. For many new readers who wonder how I started in wikis and how beginners get started, it includes a lot of great information.

(Note: Interesting thing about campfire, it shows the time of the host -- So, this was 2 hours later my time -- just a note b/c I have a rule that I don't blog at school.)


Stephen H.
Where do you teach and what grades/classes do you teach?
Vicki D.
I teach at Westwood Schools in Camilla GA
Vicki D.
I teach one semester of keyboarding to 8th grade and 8 weeks to 5th grade.
Vicki D.
I teach Computer Fundamentals to 9th, Computer Science to 10th
Stephen H.
So is your school K-12?
Vicki D.
and electives to juniors and seniors including computer graphic design (1 semester) and accounting (1 semester)
Vicki D.
K3-12th grade -- private school with 350 students.
Stephen H.
Wow, that is a lot of preps you have!
Vicki D.
Before coming here I taught professional development courses for teachers for aobut 10 years -- teachers in all types of schools.
Feb 8
3:15 PM
Vicki D.
Public and private.
Vicki D.
I have no more than 5 classes at a time.
Vicki D.
2 planning periods.
Stephen H.
Oh, ok.
Stephen H.
How did you first begin using wikis in the classroom?
Vicki D.
After going to GAETC(Georgia Association of Educators) in November 2005, I heard DAvid Warlick speak and bought his book about blogs in the classroom.
Vicki D.
Had been going through a lot of professional development training about project based learning, cooperative learning, and genuine assessment
Vicki D.
We focus here on research based best practices and I have to do a certain amount of genuine assessment and cooperative learning.
Vicki D.
I blog, but felt that wikis would work well in a collaborative / cooperative environemtn
Vicki D.
Because of how well that they mark and denote the exact contribution of students.
Vicki D.
It also documents very well the discussions that take place between students to arrive at a certain place of knowledge and their agreement on fact.
Vicki D.
Sometimes the discussion tabs are more helpful than the page itself.
Stephen H.
I hadn't thought about how they show who does what, that's a great point.
Vicki D.
So, I found it as a way to cooperatively compile information and to link all the digital artifacts we were creating in one place.
Vicki D.
It just fit the research well, I thought as did our curriculum director and so we started using them in December 2005.
Stephen H.
Great. What wiki software have you used most often or found to work the best?
Vicki D.
I use wikispaces because I prefer things that I do not host on site.
Vicki D.
Stephen H.
I'm sorry if I interrupt you and you still have more to say. One bad thing about Campfire is I can't tell when you're typing.
Vicki D.
They allow you to have private pages, public pages and also members only editing and even members only viewing -- so I can create a private wiki for younger kids and have a public for older ones but only allow my students to edit.
Vicki D.
Done.
Vicki D.
How about when I'm done, I"ll type a *
Stephen H.
I have been using wikispaces as well.
Stephen H.
That would be awesome
Vicki D.
Very easy to use.
Vicki D.
*
Stephen H.
I have read a little bit about your project the "Flat Classroom Wiki." Could you explain the basics of this project?
Feb 8
3:20 PM
Vicki D.
It is a cooperative project between my 10th grade computer science class and an 11th grade class at the International School in Dhaka Bangladesh with an amazing teacher, Julie Lindsey.
Vicki D.
Julie and I started sharing e-mails about our student views on the World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
Vicki D.
and we wanted our students to have the opportunity not only to learn about the concepts but to experience them as well
Vicki D.
So, they would have academic factual information they would compile but also would experience the flatteners as well as they worked collaboratively with one another.
Vicki D.
We paired up the students with one in her classroom and one in mine although we had a few larger groups due to absences.*
Stephen H.
That is something I would love to do with my students and students from Spain or Mexico or any Spanish-speaking country.
Vicki D.
Yes, it is called tandem learning in foreign language circles and I haven't heard it used in regular academic subjects but expect that it will be.
Vicki D.
The tough thing with different time zones is that they are never in class at the same time -- that is the struggle with an asynchronous project like this.
Vicki D.
Just a moment - I will step away 1 minute while you type.*
Stephen H.
I could see how that would be a problem.
Stephen H.
Ok, no problem
Stephen H.
Ok, besides the "Flat Classroom Wiki," can you give me a specific example or two of other ways you have used wikis in your classes? and in what ways have they been most effective?
Feb 8
3:25 PM
Vicki D.
At the Westwood Wiki - http://westwood.wikispaces.com -- I really have 7 pedagogical uses of the wiki that I've identified.
Vicki D.
I wrote a paper on it and posted it at the k12 online conference.
Vicki D.
Note taking / sharing and compiling
Vicki D.
Exploratory projects where you introduce a subject and allow them to explore and post fact about a subject that they know nothing about.
Vicki D.
Those are two big ones.
Vicki D.
I will go get the hyperlink to the paper. You can type a question while I do if you like. *
Stephen H.
Ok, that would be awesome.
Stephen H.
Next questions . . .
Stephen H.
Do you have any plans to use wikis in different ways in the future than you have in the past
Stephen H.
?
Vicki D.
ACtually it is in my k12 presentation -- show notes -- there is also a video on there as well -- http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=38
Vicki D.
My process is always evolving. After hearing feedback from the flat classroom judges Terry Freedman, Jo McCleay, Jeff Utecht, and Darren Kuropatwa -- four amazing innovators -- I am working to include more peer review.
Vicki D.
With peer review (they look at each other and post on the discussion tabs) they can also determine some interlinks that need to occur.
Vicki D.
I am working towards a wiki project with a few more classrooms in April and also somehow integrating it with Second Life.
Vicki D.
I'd like to screen the movies and perhaps have judging occur in second life with feedback from other classrooms. Still some technical issues to work out there, though.
Feb 8
3:30 PM
Vicki D.
I get better at it (as do my students) every time we "wiki."
Vicki D.
Have to work to make sure that they include hyperlinks. AS they get more confident, they tend to just write - which is good but wikis innately need backup in order to be credible and a hyperlink is an essential citation of fact.
Vicki D.
*
Stephen H.
That must be great to have the freedom to be able to use great stuff like Second Life in an educational setting. I can't even get my Tech Coordinator to let me use YouTube on my blog.
Vicki D.
I control but am held accountable for my own content filter.
Vicki D.
I spent some time on an edutour today as a part of George Siemen's conectivism conference.
Vicki D.
There is teen SL but they don't let adults in there -- I've got to contact Linden Labs and see if I can get approval.
Vicki D.
The adult SL has a button, for example, to take off all of your clothes!
Stephen H.
That would not be good.
Vicki D.
Never never never could be used high school - so the answer is to get the adult educators into the teen version which has controls in those areas.
Vicki D.
And they cannot do such things.
Vicki D.
That is really the only answer right now for teens.
Vicki D.
But it has great potential -- I'm just now learning about it.
Vicki D.
*
Stephen H.
Ok, the last question I have for you is do you have any suggestions for non-technologically savvy teachers who are interested in incorporating wikis into their lessons.
Vicki D.
The great thing about wikis is that it is wonderful for beginners.
Vicki D.
The way to start is to have the teachers create a wiki among themselves to share information.
Feb 8
3:35 PM
Vicki D.
We did this with the k12 online conference wiki project - http://k12wiki.wikispaces.com
Vicki D.
We had several teams of teachers around the world by subject area.
Vicki D.
The teachers compiled information on their assignment and many of them still edit the wiki. I'd love for you to join, it is open to any educator.
Stephen H.
I am checking it out right now.
Vicki D.
For example, there is a great math wiki area about videos for use in math -- I recommend that it be shown to those who think youtube has no valid use in the classroom.
Vicki D.
When teachers see how easy it is to edit, they scratch their heads and say "OH, wow!"
Vicki D.
And then they start thinking of the many uses.
Vicki D.
A great way to start is to watch the video I made at the K12 online conference. Many teachers have burned it on CD and pass it around to learn how to wiki.
Vicki D.
I go through the steps and you may also use the show notes as well.
Vicki D.
*
Vicki D.
When there is change there are two types of people: victims and victors. That is it.
Stephen H.
Well said.
Vicki D.
Most teachers want to do a great job and reach their students. Wikis do that.
Vicki D.
So, once they know they don't have to program, they're usually fine with it.
Vicki D.
*
Vicki D.
May I have a link to your blog?
Stephen H.
I would agree. It just seems they want to keep on doing the same thing they've always done.
Stephen H.
Of course
Vicki D.
WE are all human and we like to stay comfortable, however, just as the book "Who Moved My Cheese" discusses -- people are forced to move when their room runs out of cheese.
Stephen H.
My classroom blog is more of a classroom management/organization blog where I post assignments, worksheets and a link every once in a while and it's URI is hogg.wordpress.com
Vicki D.
The current model of teaching is "out of cheese" and students who are entertained and allowed to customize everything outside of school, rebel and say "there has got to be more to education that this!"
Feb 8
3:40 PM
Stephen H.
I also have a teach blog that I update as much as possible at http://freehogg.wordpress.com
Vicki D.
I have one blog for each class plus class blogmeister.
Vicki D.
I'll cite you when I share our conversation.
Stephen H.
I definitely need to look more into blogmeister
Stephen H.
Ok
Vicki D.
*
Vicki D.
OK, tell me about you a little so I have it. Where do you teach? Where are you in school?
Stephen H.
I teach Spanish 1-2 and 3-4 at Moon Valley High School in Phoenix, AZ
Vicki D.
Have you met up with Sylvia Tolisano in Florida -- she has the Langwitches blog.
Vicki D.
She is doing some great things.
Vicki D.
She teaches spanish also.
Stephen H.
I'm taking this Education Technology Leadership masters degree in hopes of becoming a tech coordinator some day
Vicki D.
Wow!
Vicki D.
You'll be ready to be a great teacher and then move out of the classroom -- that is great and not so great.
Stephen H.
I have very briefly visited her blog but haven't dived in to it too much yet
Vicki D.
I believe that using these tools has allowed me to connect with my students in ways I have never been able to do before.
Vicki D.
I have a closeness with many of my students that other teachers wonder about.
Stephen H.
True. But hopefully instead of one great teacher I can share the wealth and have a district full of teachers using technology to its fullest potential
Vicki D.
It is because I get past the facade where they think and IM.
Vicki D.
That is true.
Vicki D.
But being a leader is tough -- it is important to find those other teachers who are going to be leaders.
Vicki D.
You'll have more credibility because you have taught in a real classroom.
Vicki D.
You should look at the use of Skype for tandem learning.
Vicki D.
That has incredible potential.
Stephen H.
I just don't know if I'll be able to leave the classroom behind
Vicki D.
I have a video on Google video about that -- search for skype in the classroom.
Vicki D.
I'll let you know a secret
Stephen H.
I totally agree. As soon as I am able to teach the higher levels I am going to get Skype going.
Feb 8
3:45 PM
Vicki D.
I am not only a teacher but I am the network administrator -- 85 computers and 3 servers.
Feb 8
3:45 PM
Vicki D.
We are finally brining in people from the outside to help us but tomorrow is the first day I"ll have someone's help.
Stephen H.
Wow, you must be busy
Vicki D.
I have had to raise the money and build the whole thing from scratch with my own hands -- every router and every server.
Vicki D.
A little too busy sometimes, especially now that I am a blogger too.
Stephen H.
Maybe some other time I can talk to you about some resources for grants and other fund raisers
Vicki D.
I have been blessed with a great network of teachers and educators that inspire me and keep me going -- and now you're part of that network too!
Vicki D.
I've gotten a few grants -- Ink jet cartrige recycling gives me a bit of money.
Vicki D.
I also have to sit on the street corner begging a lot -- Ha Ha!
Vicki D.
;-)

MOre connections! I have a lot to share about from today's time at the connectivism conference. Today would rank up there as one of my best professional development days of my life. I had to work and listen but I learned a lot.

I will be sharing some over the weekend. I actually have to spend 3-4 hours working on my day job tonight!
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