Transforming learning through global collaboration
For the second semester, I have brought in a wiki for my student leadership course. I saw another teacher in my school using a wiki in her English course, and when I saw what was happening, I had to try it too! It begins by introducing what a wiki is. I was not surprised this year that many of my students had no idea what a wiki was or what they could be used for. We did a KWL chart (what I Know, what I Want to know, and what I Learned), and the "K" columns were mostly blank. We discussed a common wiki that I was sure most students were familiar with - Wikipedia. The students were also shown some videos about what wikis are"in plain English" to get some background on collaborating using this "new" tool. We set up a class wiki of our very own:
We got through the introductions eventually, and now we are using the wiki everyday! Each student has a personal page to practice adding content and reflecting on coursework and our leadership events. This was a good way to start off and have the students get some practice. We have moved on to group cooperation... Each group (of at least 4 students) has to plan an event for our school (i.e. Thanksgiving feast, fundraisers, school spirit event etc.). Their group had to do their brainstorming/planning on a wiki page that they create. They are able to comment and edit to work together.
We stil have more work to do... I have students that seem to do the majority of the contributions and I have lurkers that read, but do not edit. We have created a wiki criteria checklist (content, organization, layout, collaboration) and my next step will be to revisit the collaboration criteria. We will discuss and decide what our expectations should be and what collaboration should look like. I think by being explicit and involving my students in the discussion will improve the quantity and quality of collaboration in class and online.