Friday, January 13, 2006

Wikis in Education - Westwood - a case study

http://westwood.wikispaces.com/

Our Space: We began to use our wikispace as the companion to our Computer Science curriculum but are expanding it for use in Computer Fundamentals, Keyboarding, and Computer Graphic Design.

We started with one page (http://westwood.wikispaces.com/Web+2.0) where I posted words relating to Web 2.0. I divided the students into groups and had them collaboratively research their topic on the Internet, summarize their findings, and link to their sources. I have found that it is the perfect tool to help students summarize and synthesize information! Every student, regardless of ability level was able to contribute in a meaningful way!

We've expanded it considerably and now have links to our student wikispaces (http://westwood.wikispaces.com/Westwood+wikilinks+page). Of particular interest is the 10th grade "study hall" (http://studyhall.wikispaces.com) where the students have created a
listing of homework with links to the pages they have created to study for exams! They update this on their own! It has its own life!
I'm most excited that they have an electronic forum to exchange academic information from home! I like that I can monitor who has added material and can control who contributes to each space.

Our Community: The students and faculty of Westwood Schools.

Our Experience with Wikispaces: The first day, the students started getting excited. The second day, they were thrilled and engrossed in learning about our topic. For their quiz on creating wikipages I had them create their own space on the school topic of their choice. That
is when I found them squealing in the hall talking about their english wikispace or history wikispace. The other faculty, who are always cutting edge, began asking what this "wiki thing" was. Some of them have created their own pages and are creating projects next semester
to move from paper portfolios to wikispaces. I've been asked to do a teacher in service training on January 2nd to bring all middle school and high school teachers up to speed.

I have used countless technological tools -- but I have never found a tool so useful in the educational process. We use blogging, podcasting and all of the other features of Education 2.0. I believe, however, that wikispaces are the thing that will integrate all of these technologies into meaningful experiences.

Read more about about which features work well for us:

http://www.wikispaces.com/Wikispaces+Update+December+2005+More+Westwood

Read a full summary of our Wikispaces experience:

http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2005/12/wiki-wiki-teaching-art-of-using-wiki.html

5 comments:

yasmin said...

great success story.
I would like to learn more about education2.0
I am in the process of trying wiki with my A-level Economics class- and their enthusiasm is not that great. They keep saying it takes time and they are more focused on their upcoming Cape exams
from yasmin

Jacqueline said...

Yes- I have noticed that Trinidad has a very exam-focused education system, as opposed to a creative, searching, curisoity-driven system - I was lucky to go to schools where that sort of activity was encouraged... maybe it may be easier to start with students who are not facing exams immediately.
About it taking time - everything takes time!

Vicki A. Davis said...

Hello! Thank you for writing about our wiki work in the classroom!

I wanted to respond to yasmin's thoughts.

I suggest you just try one wiki experience and see what happens.

I used wikis the week before exams and my students created wikis for their exams to share class notes and information. If you want to hear what they think I recorded a podcast of their class discussion about the use of wikis and the positive effect it had on their grades.

The students said it helped them greatly on their exams. Just a tiny introduction and see what happens.

Listen to the podcast, maybe you and they will feel differently. I believe it is a better way to teach than the other methodologies I've used.

Let me know if you have any questions! (It says Bright Idea guru -- but that's the post name for coolcatteacher!)

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