This week we worked in an online forum on a collaborative project. After each doing our own research, we posted to a wiki to share our findings. Overall, I found this to be a great tool and way to engage with others without having to be physically present. However, I had some trouble along the way as well.
The wiki assignment itself was very engaging and I would love to try something like this with my students. I know in Haiku we can create a wiki and I would like to pursue this further. I wish we would have learned a bit more about how to set up the wiki and what sites are free and work better than others. My only complaint in the site we used was it had technical issues today which made it hard to complete the project. I know this can be the case with any website and can’t be controlled completely, but knowing which sites are more stable and reliable would be great.
One issue I could see arising with a wiki when using it with students is the changing, stealing, or “messing with” someone else’s work. Since it is possible to go in and edit pages, there is a potential there for problems to occur. I believe this could be combated by teaching, modeling, and strictly enforcing good digital citizenship. As a teacher I would also be closely moderating the wiki to ensure that best practices were being followed.
The potential use of a wiki in a school wide setting is also a great idea to explore. Recently my school did our annual CIP (Continuous Improvement Plan) planning which required many face to face meetings and hours of collaboration. I believe a much better forum for this would be a wiki where we could collaborate, post, and edit our information without the need for a long meeting.
Finally this week we used Google Docs to post our final presentation in the form of a slide. This worked much like PowerPoint, but in a collaborative setting. I loved this! I want to use this in my growth plan project with my students. A key aspect of working with Google Docs is that is saves automatically and I have never had any technical issues with the site. I have only used it when someone else set up the page and I am very interested to explore it more myself and how I can use it in my classroom. One way I thought of was for field trip signups for parents. Using that tool would elevieate the many pieces of paper and emails needed to coordinate that. Parents could easily see if there is a spot available and sign up right then.
I leave this week feeling inspired and excited to try new technology in my classroom. I love the hands on approach to the learning and realize now with technology that it is something you just have to get in and try. Trial and error can be our best teachers and persevering through the sometimes frustrating times can lead to a great product and sense of accomplishment on the other side.