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.

Wiki Boot Camp

I am still working on the blog problem (thanks Ben for the tips, please keep them coming if you get more 🙂 ), but just finished the major directions and video tutorials for a wiki boot camp and wanted to share it. I will be designing one more set of directions customized for the classes which will use the Wiki Boot Camp, but otherwise I think it is set.  Feel free to use, copy, share, etc. at will.

Now off to grade finals. Oh boy.

Learning from a 10 year old

I love finding new things – this time I found a new thing on the wiki designed by one of my friend/colleague’s daughters, Elise. She is ten years old and a little while ago, decided she would create her own wiki. My friend says, “She’s working on it all the time” and that he’s really not sure what it is all about but he is really proud of her and her efforts and yesterday he had the opportunity to share her wiki with me. She is using Wetpaint, the one wiki program I haven’t investigated very much, though I know it is usually listed as the third in the trio of wikis, PBwiki, Wikispaces and Wetpaint. I know that educators have special opportunities with PBwiki and Wikispaces but at first glance, I didn’t see anything obvious for educators with Wetpaint – perhaps an option appears when you are going through the registration process.

When investigating Elise’s wiki, I learned about a new “quick poll” tool that she uses to survey her visitors’ interests. The tool is, Vizu and it offers users the opportunity to, “Add an interactive poll to a web page or blog post in seconds. Customize the look to match your site.” Vizu also has a “Power Poll” feature which allows one to, “Make polling a feature of your site or blog. Automatically rotate numerous, professional looking polls. Add your own polls.” I am thinking about many ways this little tool (or one like it as I am sure there are many) could be used in the classroom… opinions on current events, favorite character polls, what do you think will happen next, what do you think the outcome of this experiment will be… I think I’m going to spend my Friday Five exploring Vizu, putting one up on my wiki as a practice, and dreaming a little about where quick/informal polls would fit well into my curriculum.

With that, I am off to work more on the PowerPoint game project, I achieved success with VBA at least on the PC side of PowerPoint so that is encouraging!  Maybe next week I’ll be luck enough to be able to say I am finished with the project!? (I probably shouldn’t write that but I am going to dream anyway!)  I hope you have a great day and weekend.

ps – I’ll ask Elise if I can share her wiki with you and will post a link if she says yes.

Summer Technology Symposium Preview

I am so excited about the opportunity our staff has this summer – to spend four mornings learning more about PowerPoint’s capabilities, Web 2.0 tools, podcasting, movie making, games, and more!  Today’s Friday Five invites you to take five minutes to check out some student projects that showcase some of the things we will be learning about this summer.

1. Working with podcasts and making movies.  For this assignment, students (seniors) took one of President Bush’s Saturday Morning Radio Addresses and turned it into a movie. For many of them, it was their first experience making a movie. A works cited list was submitted as part of the assignment. Two of the students submitted their work to YouTube, one of them is linked here.

2.  Use cartooning and music videos to tell stories, teach about Supreme Court cases, whatever you want them to.  Here you will find examples of cartoons and music videos designed to teach about Landmark Supreme Court cases – students created them then posted them to the class wiki to showcase their work.
(The music videos play when you click the play button on the green screen.)

3. An example of a digital flowchart – while this was for the Crusades, the possibilities are endless.

And we will do so much more! It will be an exciting week.