I am working on an approach that I hope will significantly support and enhance the way Educators and Student Researchers work together, as students start, work on and complete significant research projects such as as "IB Extended Essays" for the International Baccalaureate degree.
The problem this attempts to solve is the difficulty of timely and detailed interaction between the teacher and student as the student begins a research project, gets it off the ground, delves into significant information gathering, attempts to organize information, synthesizes perspectives and results, and ends up with most of what is needed to produce a good final product. Typically, just what each student in a class or group is doing, day-by-week-by-month is hard for teachers to track. Turning in draft work periodically, with the attendant lag in teacher response, produces big peaks in teacher workload, and leaves big gaps in the teachers understanding of each students progress and the problems they are facing. I hope it will be possible for teachers to become very active mentors to the research process, while saving them a great deal of time and allowing them to immediately see what each student has been doing.
Here's The Idea:
* Each student starts with their own pre-defined wiki (similar to this one: http://test-research.wikispaces.com
) with pre-initialized pages which define a structure (scaffold?) with directions, and navigation that shows the structure. Student's work is organized by the initial structure of the wiki. Their work and content is entered into it.
* Students will initially go through the sections shown on the left menu, as assigned. Later they will go back and enhance and rewrite sections.
* Each page explains the activity students are expected to do as that part of their Research Process.
* Each page shows the areas where students will enter their writing and results of inquiry, with the characters >>
What's really different:
* Teachers can quickly see recent student work and edits using "Recent Changes" !
* Teachers can also enter comments and suggestions directly into the student's wiki pages.
* Students can find teachers comments immediately with "Recent Changes".
* Teachers and Students can get emails immediately when updates are done, 'homework is checked' etc.
So: This a non-traditional use of a Wiki: NOT for creating a collaboratively-developed web-published document, but rather as a private working document which is a collaboration between the student researcher and their mentor/teacher/assessor. The researcher's work product here then becomes the basis of a final work, which might take many different forms.. a paper, a presentation, a web-publication, or, if appropriate, even a Wiki!
What do you think?? Please take a look at : http://test-research.wikispaces.com
Please comment to firstname.lastname@example.org, or here, or on the "Discussion Tab" of the Wiki.