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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Teaching wikis to future educators: My virtual presentation at the College of William and Mary





Tomorrow I am spending time with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach's class EDUC 330 Tech Enhanced Learning at the College of William and Mary.

I am incredibly impressed with Sheryl's course syllabus and wish that the incredible speakers she has scheduled could present to many colleges at once. She has an incredible line up and I'm going to be listening to her other speakers. I spent today listening to Anne Davis talk about blogging. Wow! I highly suggest that those of you interested in using blogging in the classroom listen to how Anne has been doing it for years with fifth graders. (The recording is in Elluminate.) Anne teaches teachers at Georgia State University and also finds time to spend 2 hours each week in an elementary classroom. She is incredible!

The other speakers? Listen to this:
My Presentation about Wikis Tomorrow
To prepare for my presentation., I uploaded my wikis across the curriculum presentation from the K12online conference to Google Video so that I can embed it in wikis and my blog. If you are interested in wikis, this is still my definitive video on using wikis and what I'm doing. It is still valid post-flat classroom project and can give you how I'm using them. (There are many other teachers who are using wikis in other fascinating ways as well.) That is the video at the beginning of this blog post!

I've also shared my slides for tomorrow with her class. We are presenting over Elluminate and I hope that it will be recorded. If so, I'll share it with you. These slides are on slideshare.



I dug up some fascinating resources at the beginning of the presentation. that you might want to read.

These students of Sheryl's are going to be ready to connect and relate to students in incredible, meaningful ways, that is if administrators and IT folks will get out of their way.

Meanwhile, innovators keep getting doors slammed in their faces!

As I've been writing, I got some disheartening news from one of my favorite pairs of wiki educators. I'm not going to name this person right now, however, this incredible math wiki project for middle schoolers has come to a screeching halt because all wikis are now blocked.

When asked if they could just unblock this one wiki, the answer was "it is either all or nothing."

Firstly, I manage a firewall and there is something in there called "allowed URL's" -- I've seen three or four major firewall interfaces and have never seen one without it. This lets a person allow a specific URL even if the primary URL is blocked. (For example, http://westwood.wikispaces.com could be allowed when all other wikispaces were blocked.) I think this teacher is getting the runaround!

Secondly, I see more and more educators continuing to get excited about new technologies only to have the virtual rug pulled out from under them on global collaborative projects when some person in IT, without direct curricular authority, deciding to "pull the plug."

This is kind of like letting the barnkeeper decide when the horse needs to race based upon when they want to clean out the stable. The horse races when there's a race. The teacher needs to teach when there is a need.

Something is upside down about letting curriculum be driven in this way! There must be communication! What a travesty!

But this is not a single instance. It is happening over and over. Time and again!

Wikis continue to work
Wikis continue to be a great tool in my classroom! They pull together the multiple digital artifacts created by my students in an incredibly easy to use manner!

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