I'm working with several teachers to use a wiki as a resource in their classroom. Several have decided to use the wiki as a problem resource for students to develop answers to problems and post their solutions to. The problems then become a resource that the students can use as a study guide and a place to ask questions of the teacher and other students. I was just wondering if anyone else is attempting this or if you have any experience that you want to pass on to them.
I do this a little. My recommendation is that you have the kids try some problems in class to get used to it. My students don't do anything at home that they have not done at school. Make it competitive by having a few groups attempt the same problem and work on different pages of the wiki. After some time, have groups comment on the efforts of other groups. Then, have them work on the problem again after seeing a few different approaches. If the kids are struggling, you could post some clues.
Thanks for the feedback. I like several of your suggestions. I love having students work on the same problem and then have them discuss the differences in their approach! Also, love the idea that we can actually discuss the work, analyze and ask questions about others efforts. Thanks so much.
I like John's suggestion of having student groups work on the same problem, and having them start this process in class sounds like a good idea. Once the groups have begun their work, why not combine the groups' separate solutions on a single page? This "synthesis page" can act as a class artifact and its discussion forum can be a place for everyone to discuss the problem. In Wikispaces, you can combine (concatenate) several pages into one page using the "include wikispace page" widget tool.
Thanks for the tip Jay. It sounds like it might work.
Interestingly enough my problem has changed since I uploaded this discussion. The teacher I'm working with hasn't included the wiki the way she wanted to, and now is having trouble getting students to buy in. She doesn't want to take anymore class time to do the problems. Anyway, it's the classical problem of not valueing the activity of taking time to help students learn the process before they try to learn the content. It's too much for the students to do both at the same time, they shut down, and it takes longer to get results and then teachers feel cruntched for time and start dropping ideas. UUUGGGGHHH
David, I really like the wiki, and what you are doing with your students. The projects are a great idea. They are simple, multi-media, obviously student generated (I checked a couple of the page histories- Vanessa worked hard on their project), and contain lots of student voice (with the voicethreads they literally contain them). It's these kinds of activities that I like to share with teachers. You obviously honor the process in class, but it doesn't look like it becomes your class which many teachers are afraid of.
I looked at several groups, I liked group 6 from period 2's project. They did a really nice job of explaining the quotient of powers property, seemed to adapt to having their voice recorded, and were very well spoked for middle schoolers. I'm really taken with Brian's Geogebra applet. I've been a long time proponent of Geogebra and love to see student's developing applets! HIs applet was fantastic. What a great way to show the connection between the sum of the angles of a triangle.
I would love to hear more about your goals with the wiki. I see you have a class blog, class journal, and class log set up, how are they going? I know that when students are given more than one reason to go to the wiki or blog they tend to adopt it more readily, how has that been working for you? How much work has this added to your planning/grading? Would it be OK if I shared your example with some teachers that I work with? (I work with approximately 300 math teachers in KY and IN in developing math literate classrooms with an emphasis for some to integrate technology).
Again, I can see a significant amount of thinking/planning/understanding in your work! Thanks for responding. I hope to hear more from you. In fact maybe we can setup a Skype or Webex one day and share some more details.
Permalink Reply by Ruth on December 28, 2008 at 8:24pm
David,
I checked out your Wiki- it is an amazing resource for your students. I am a resource teacher at my middle school and your Wiki is an excellent example of what can be done. I can not comment on it from a math teacher's perspective but I imagine that the students find it very engaging. What inspired you as a teacher to take the leap into the world of Wiki's and Blogs? What do you think it takes to inspire other teachers to follow suit?
I began using WIKI this past quarter in my language arts classroom. It's become so popular that my students have asked me to speak with our math teacher do the same ( I believe exactly as you're dong!). I have 134 students, of which about 40 use WIKI daily. I expect to expand this after the New Year. My students love it. They're able to share ideas, comment on each other's entries, and get a better understanding of the material covered. It's proven a great help to my ELL students as well, as they're more prone to wait, ponder, consider, and then respond via WIKI.
Art, this is exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for. I would love to know more about the routine you are using to integrate it into your classroom, and an approximation of the time breakdown.
It's always helpful from my perspective to have outside sources of feedback. Thanks for sharing.
This thread has extended my knowledge of wikis and has given me ideas on how to use them with my own students. Two years ago I had my students create a wiki about a book they were reading. It was my first entry into a Web 2.0 application and it went well, but because of my lack of knowledge I limited the wiki to facts about the book. Later this year when we read the book again, I will expand the wiki. Thanks for the ideas and the examples listed here. If you're interested in looking at my first wiki, it's available at here.
Thanks for sharing Julie. I am going to forward your wiki on to a colleague. She teaches spanish and is trying to develop a class Ning. She seems to be having trouble sustaining the discussions. Maybe your example with help her with some ideas.