Aug 08

Many teachers have shown an interest in using the power of wiki in the classroom. But the learning curve in using wikis can be a little steep. I like to have video tutorials when I am learning new software. I like being able to go through the steps at your own space you’d like to view some video tutorials on how to use a wiki these may be of use.

WikispacesIf you are using a free Wikispace for educators there are some how-to videos here for perusal at your leisure here. This video takes you through the Wikispaces “history” function.

PBWiki have some free wikis for education too. These PBWiki video tutorials at Atomic Learning wikiPBwhich are free until Sept 30th and should be very useful in helping you and your students develop skills and understanding of the use of Wikis in education.

When talking about wiki I always like to refer colleagues to the Terry The Tennisball Wiki by students of Grade 3-4 in Geelong run by John Pearce. To my mind many wiki are in essence like a mini Choose Your Own Adventure story. The CYOB format for storytelling is an engaging writing and reading literacy tool at teachers disposal. Students with iPods may be interested in downloading a free version of a story called ‘The Abominable Snowman’ from this website. InstikiAt my last school I set up an Instiki Wiki and it really helped engage students in a collaborative writing project for a Year 4 English class. As a read/write ‘web’ and functional literacy experience the students built a wiki around their hobbies and tried to add to each others writing - we developed a diverse range of expertise and communication of opinions. To set the wiki up I hosted it on my iBook NB4T which meant the wiki was portable.
Other ways we can use wikis in our teaching?:

1. A list of articles and resources that describe how to use wikis in education
2. A comprehensive list of existing educational wikis that we can learn from

Some other wiki services:
* WetPaint - http://www.wetpaint.com/
* Stikipad - http://stikipad.com/
* OttoWiki - http://www.ottowiki.com/

If you are interested in a first had account from a teacher using a wiki in the classroom you try this podcast from Vicki Davis. “She is known for her award winning class wiki, wiki-centric classroom structure, and use of broad scope of Web 2.0 tools to improve student performance.” The podcast (audio recording) link is add the bottom this page.

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Apr 01

Eduau LogoWikipedia is living proof that open-source, creative commons and web2.0 works. With vision our very own Education.AU is bringing Jimmy Wales is founder of Wikipedia, co-founder of Wikia and the Wikimedia Foundation. This self-organizing, self-correcting, ever-expanding, and thoroughly addictive encyclopedia of the future is an amazing resource for students and educators alike. I try to approach Wikipedia place in K-12 education optimistically, finding the guts to say yes, rather than approach with fear wanting to say no. Students, even primary school kids are amazed when you tell them that anyone can edit it. Triggered by a critical thinking response, they then approach the resource with a more skeptical, thoughtful eye. It will be great to have Jimmy Wales setting some valuable dialogue alight here in Australia - education.au should be congratulated for trying to engage the occupants of industrial age institutions to join, engage and participate in the discussion of our digital age. An EdNA group will be a central focus for this dialogue. Deanne Bullen sent in this information for interested digital chalkies:

Source: http://www.energylab.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/JimmyWales.jpgJimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, will be the keynote speaker for the first education.au National Seminar for 2007. The seminar will be held in four locations; Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne beginning the week of April 23. Jimmy’s seminar presentation will discuss critical issues such as:

  • The culture of the online community and the implications for education
  • The opportunities for collaborative learning in a globally connected world
  • What does it mean to be discerning in the online world
  • If content can be created and distributed cheaply, what is the future for entrepreneurs
  • Who has the knowledge in today’s global community
  • Creative Commons and the public good – what are the barriers to knowledge sharing.

To access information about the seminar online go here, to register for the seminar go here.

600Px-Wikipedia-Logo-1From the authors own Wikipedia page:

Wales’ father worked as a grocery store manager while his mother, Doris, and his grandmother, Erma, ran a small private school “in the tradition of the one-room schoolhouse” where Wales received his education. Most of the time there were four children in his grade so the school grouped the first, second, third, and fourth grade students together and the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students together.

Jimmy Wales was the first person listed in the “Scientists & Thinkers: the lives and ideas of the world’s most influential people” in Time magazine’s May 8, 2006 issue. Forbes magazine, in naming him one of the Top 25 Web Celebrities for 2007, says of Wales: “only on the Web could an encyclopedia geek become a superstar.”

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Jan 17

IwriterAs more schools and students use iPods, educators are adding to their repertoire of teaching strategies such as podcasting. Tools such as iWriter for creating learning programs and iLingo for language translation are specifically being written for these devices. A current sourceforge called Encyclopodia project allows iPod users to download and browse Wikipedia on your iPod. While the interface screenshots look a little naff, it is interesting for the simple fact that the worlds largest and most dynamic user generated encyclopedia can now be carried around in ones pocket!

Encyclopodia is a free software project that brings the Wikipedia, which is one of the largest encyclopedias in the world, to the Apple iPod. Encyclopodia can be installed on iPod genarations one to four, as well as on iPod Minis and Photo iPods.

This may be the closest we’ve come yet to the Hitchhikers Guide. Weighing in at a >800mb download the Wikipedia eBook carries with it some heavy issues like bias and source reliability. However, with appropriate critical literacy skills students of all ages will continue to find Wikipedia a good starting point in their research. Even Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales warns against it’s use as the be-all-and-end-all resource in educational settings:

Speaking at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania on Friday called “The Hyperlinked Society,” Mr. Wales said that he gets about 10 e-mail messages a week from students who complain that Wikipedia has gotten them into academic hot water. “They say, ‘Please help me. I got an F on my paper because I cited Wikipedia’” and the information turned out to be wrong, he says. But he said he has no sympathy for their plight, noting that he thinks to himself: “For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia.” Source: chronicle.com

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