New Wiki Experiment Wednesday, Feb 20 2008 

I’ve started adding student-created content to a wiki at pbwiki

My on campus 1102 students (2 sections) are reading The Kite Runner, which I chose because there is not an abundance of online material they can reference. Instead, they will collaborate to create the content that they might normally look for online.

Some plans/concerns:

  • I can collect the student’s content (study guides, quiz questions, blog posts, etc) and post them.
  • If I set this up in pbwiki, they can edit and revise (I can give them all a password to enter the wiki).
  • I’m not sure they will edit, but it’s not a requirement of the course (yet). Next time they do group work, however, I can have them log in and type their answer in the wiki (or copy and paste from a Word document).
  • “minutes” of group discussions can also be posted to the wiki to indicate progress even if the content isn’t finalized in class.
  • Students can learn from other groups. Even if topics are the same, content or focus may differ. Depth of answers definitely will.
  • This will benefit students who miss class–will it encourage missing though?

Right now, I am slowly adding the information students created in their groups two weeks ago because it did not occur to me before this to use a wiki for this type of project. Now that I’m learning more about wikis in the weblogs and wikis course though, I have high hopes for this collaborative tool. I have no idea how this will turn out this semester or to what extent I will use it in my class, but as I am just learning how to use wikis myself, this is really just an experiment. It’s also important to show the students that I am still learning too. Next fall, though, I should have a much better picture of how to implement and facilitate this project.

Geo-caching article Wednesday, Feb 20 2008 

I would love to explore the realm of geo-caching as a personal hobby. First, I would have to buy and figure out a GPS unit, but I think I could do it.

This would also be a fascinating classroom tool, as a recent e-School News articlementions. A colleague and I recently discussed a classroom project he is working on which uses GPS (which I will not discuss here as I do not want to distribute his project or ideas without his consent). Several questions came to my mind though as I read the article: How does one make this work as an assignment in an environment when students don’t have time to read a chapter or money for gas? How do you get them to invest the time? Do you have to put “field trip required” in the class schedule? Are there liability issues to consider? I must ask my colleague more about this!

Think how cool it would be, though, to arrange a whole geo-caching overseas trip. OK, it would be a TON of work, but what a payoff it could have for the students.