Sad to see Wikispaces go…

True, I haven’t updated the wiki I created for teaching in a while, but it has an archive of all of the online work I did with my students from 2006 (when I got brave and started it) through 2011-12.  My students even wrote choose your own adventures through the Colonies and the Revolutionary War and explored how the Internet would have changed Lewis and Clark’s expedition using Wikispaces. Fast forward to yesterday. I started a new wiki to use with our grad students at Concordia University and when I went to update it this morning, I saw the sad news: Wikispaces is closing. Now on my spring break list is figuring out how best to archive whatever I would like to keep as examples, reminders, etc.

I know there are some other wiki resources out there. PBworks (long ago, it was called PBWiki and my students used it to make a wiki about China, it was our first ever digital collaborative project).  PowerSchool Learning (formerly Haiku) has a WikiProject feature, it looks like Miraheze might be another free wiki option, and I suppose the new Google Sites could be used like a wiki.

TRABAJO_COLABORATIVOWikis have been around for a while (here’s Common Craft’s Wiki in Plain English from 2007) but they are a great tool for promoting collaboration in a low-floor, high-ceiling type of way. Wikispaces was a great, teacher-friendly webtool that students found easy to use. I will miss them.

On Sketchcast

Really, I’m pretty excited about this one. I know it has been around for a while. I learned about it from an older blog post by Daniel Rezac while trying to investigate some ideas for one of the math education students in our Classroom Technology course. Sketchcast allows users to create a screencast of sorts. The user can draw with the mouse, type on screen, import images and annotate them, erase, and include voice overs (if desired).

This is a great tool for teachers and students to make quick video introductions or reviews, demonstrate and talk through math problems and timelines, or explore any process.

Spontaneous Song in US Government

It was a first. We were working quietly in the computer lab on Friday afternoon, well, that wasn’t the first time I had ever experienced quiet in the lab, but then…  One of my students had a YouTube music stream playing quietly in the background. Nobody was really paying attention, or so I thought, and then, spontaneous song. Jamming, grooving, and singing. A strong majority of my students. Sort of like an audio flash mob. It was a great way to end a day, and the week for that matter.  The song?  Rolling in the Deep, of course.

One of my students said, “I sort of want to take out my phone and get a video of this one.”  It really was great.

YouTube, where would we be without you?