Okay, I need advice. Up until this summer, I've been perfectly happy in my own little world, with my own little web page. And now I have "seen the light" and want to create a space for my students to add their "stuff." What are the pros and cons of blogs and wikis? Which would you suggest, setting up a classroom blog that kids can add to and edit, or a classroom wiki?

Tags: blog, suggestions, wiki

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First thought, why not do both? In all probability, one will wither and one will bloom - and then you will have your answer.
I have had success with using David Warlick's "blogmeister" for my students to add their work. It serves as an electronic portfolio of sorts and opens up their work to a wider audience.
I think it depends on what your goals are. What will you use the blog/wiki for? What "stuff" will the students be adding? Will a chronological order of postings be a help or a hindrance? Do you want students to be able to edit other students' work? Please share a little more about your ideas.
I agree with Ian. They are certainly not mutually exclusive and they certainly function quite differently. With a blog there is a post then comments. Wikis are more free form and lend themselves more to the continuous editing. A blog may better lend itself to posting work and allowing others to comment. Wiki more suited to collaborative writing.

I have found with things web 2.0, you really don't get it until you try it.
I want to know if any of you using blogs can tell me: Say I expect all students to post once a week. How can I be sure that Susie's post is not being done by Janie, who is helping out Susie (who has given Janie her password)?
How is that different from an assignment that is physically turned in?

I talk to my children about trust, honesty, character, and ethics all the time. That spills over into any on-line work we do, along with the importance of keeping passwords to one's self, and the possible consequences of giving out a password. When you do so, you are giving away your identity.

I gave my kids their own blogs and they took great ownership in them. I perceived them as reluctant to turn over their ownership to peers.
The other day I was re-reading Konrad Glogowski's Blog of Proximal Development, one of the very few blogs I read for personal pleasure as well as professional interest. I have linked you to the very first post in Feb '05, because the early blog talks you through the process of developing a blogging community as Konrad himself went through it.

What I get from reading it is that you cannot be sure, and it would be inappropriate to try to police student blogging in this way. Rather, facilitate the formation of a student blogging community in which the students' motivation is to share their own views, not to please the teacher. Expect it to take time, and to be personally challenging for you.

Konrad - are you still a C2.0 member? Would love to see your comment on this.
While we would never encourage students to simply copy work from someone else we would hope for collaboration. There's nothing to be gained by working in isolation. Web2.0 apps are great for connecting teachers and students.

If Janie is helping Susan who got some ideas from Alisha, they are all growing in their understanding and it doesn't really matter who had any particular idea first.

This might even be formalised and students can be required to work in small groups and hand in group responses.

Here's two pages that came up when Googling the topic
I think you need to get back to the purpose of blogging. Why are you having kids post in the first place? I think motivating kids to blog is more fruitful than making kids blog (which may yield the result you fear). Giving kids a chance to explain their understanding or opinion on that last very exciting class activity, helping kids find their voice, helping them express what they care deeply about... I think this realm is where blogging works best.
Jane, "making kids blog" - you hit the nail on the head. Rather than make it an "assignment" i.e. drudgery, making sure they have a topic that makes them think and enjoy doing that thinking, and so expressing themselves... that's my intention. I, unlike all of you, have yet to put blogs/wikis to use in my classroom but hope to jump that hurdle in about 4 weeks. Thanks to all of you for your ideas.
Jane, Eighteen months ago when I first envisioned a student blog I thought I would have to post and they would respond. That lasted about a day and the kids started blogging and responding on their own, but only a small percentage are "bloggers". I have mixed feelings about "required vs. optional". I teach gifted kids and so many of my boys are actually too lazy to write---I found some "requirement" brings out some really good stuff.

I also decided early on I wanted a really "formal" writing experience so I don't allow chat, personal diary-type entries, IM lingo etc. I also stress good grammar and conventions. The wider audience (including parents, teachers, and strangers) did wonders in improving writing.

I use Moodle for online book discussions so there is an opportunity for each student to response to the same questions. (I think response to questions makes a boring blog). Finished rambling, N.
I see them as serving two different purposes. You can see our class blog here. For the last two years the posting has been optional but this year I'm going to start out with a period of mandatory posting. My blog is on the front page, the student blogs are listed on the left. Start at recent posts to see the discussions from this summer. You can see a list of the wikis we've done over the last 18 months here Let me know if you need any more information. N



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