I am new to Classroom 2.0 and new to technology! I have been reading through the forums to see if I can find answers to my questions, and I have gotten a lot of answers, but I still have some very specific questions. If you have used wikis a lot, you just may be the savior that I am looking for. I have used a wiki in an online course I am taking, but I have never used a wiki in my classroom. I have signed up for an account with Wikispaces and have been poking around it to get familiar with things.
Here is what I would like to do:
I would like to use a wiki as a way for my Socials 9 students to present/show their learning on our Native Cultures Unit. I have the assignment already - I will use the ones that I previously used on paper. So...how do I set this up? I have 2 Blocks of SS 9, and would like to have both do the same assignments.
Do I use one wiki for the whole class, and then create pages for each student to work on? Can I have one page for a group or pair of students to work on?
Do I need to create a new wiki for each project and class that I want to do?
If you (or anyone else, for that matter!) have info, I would appreciate it sooo much. And please, do not feel that any amount of instructions would be too simple. I really am a beginner! (But a very keen one!)
I just finished my first wiki in my 6th grade social studies class and it was a big, big hit. Here's my suggestion for you:
Set up a wiki for each class, and have students create their own individual pages on the class wiki. They can share if they are partners or make their own if they are working individually. By making their own, they have a sense of ownership, and that's a good thing.
Also, many sites have options for you in terms of censoring information before it's published if you are worried that your students may be a bit irresponsible. I'd suggest Wikispaces if you don't already have a site in mind.
I teach middle schoolers and we create our wiki's on Blackboard, our course-management system. They already have district-generated accounts that they use, so I am unsure what the best route is in your case. Sorry!
Just curious, this may seem like a dorky question but how did you start teaching paperless? I've noticed how uncomfortable and anxious students were when a professor didn't hand out paper copies of the syllabus. They went straight to the library or home and printed it out. What do you tell your students, and how do they cope with it?
I'm transitioning to a paperless class, and I've found it to be a lengthy process. I teach at the middle school level, so things have to go a bit slower. Looking back at my own experience, I'd recommend to any teacher thinking about going paperless to make a plan and take it step by step. Once you master step 1 and become comfortable with it, move on to step 2. Trying to shift your entire class to paperless mode in one fell swoop is a recipe for disaster.
Here are a few ideas for your first few steps:
1. Get a space online that allows you to manage your classroom. Google Sites is a great resource, as is Epals. Get comfortable with it yourself, then take your kids there.
2. Start to and continue storing documents online in an organized manner. (things like notes, presentations, syllabi, etc.)
3. Start looking around at site options for wiki's, blog's and perhaps a Ning.
By creating a gameplan, you are one step ahead of your kids. What you don't want to do is bring them somewhere you aren't comfortable, because students will inevitably find something to do that you aren't prepared for ;)
Hope this helps! I'm sure others more knowledgeable than I will be able to help...
Thanks for the response, Mr. Layman. It has definitely cleared some questions for me, and I greatly appreciate the tips! I'm writing this in my idea notebook right after I type this LOL. I'm glad that the wikispace project turned out well with your middle-schoolers. I'd like to see it if it's not closed off to the public. How did you assess the project?
Rather than take up a ton of space here, I'd direct you over to www.teachpaperless.com where I have nearly 600 posts written in the last 10 months about the issues you've raised here as well as all angles on paperless teaching and social tech integrated learning.