This week we're learning all about wikis! I enjoyed the lab and assignment this week because I've always wanted to know more about wikis, I just never took the time to sit down and figure it out. I think that wikis can be a great tool for students and really get them thinking about interacting and collaborating online. They are being raised in the technology age, so it is almost a given that they will be taking part in online learning at some point throughout their educational journey. Getting students prepped to collaborate online is setting them up to be successful in the future!
The first assignment was to edit the Wikipedia page for your workplace. My school wasn't listed on Wikipedia, so I created a new page. I initially just wrote a sentence or two to summarize the school, but it was pretty sad looking, so I added more information from my school's website and a picture that I took last year. I made sure to cite the source of the information I used, which is a task in itself on Wikipedia, but I think it looks pretty good and provides viewers with the basics of our school.
The second part of the assignment was to create a wiki. I chose to use Wikispaces.com and found it to be fairly simple to create a wiki (located here). I'm not exactly sure how I will use this with my third graders yet; I will probably wait until the fall the try it out, but I am excited about the possibility of using this with my students. I also created a page on my wiki for teachers to contribute ideas of how I should use this with my students. I invited several members of the class to contribute ideas to the page, so I am anxious to see what they have to say.
Wikipedia Entry for St. Francis de Sales School
St. Francis 3rd Grade Wiki (Wikispaces)
For the past couple weeks, I have also had to create a WebQuest. Can I be honest here? I'm not a big fan of WebQuests, well not normally anyway. I feel like most teachers create them with their students in mind, meaning that the content or information may not perfectly fit with my students. I've also noticed that a lot of WebQuests are old (I mean, they look like they were made in 1996), have broken links, or are way above or below the reading level of my students. Being able to create my own, however, has given me a bit of a different perspective. I am able to send my students on an adventure through time, tying together different subjects, technology, and critical thinking skills.
For my WebQuest, I chose to focus on the Native Americans of Michigan, which aligns with the social studies standards for Michigan. It is nice to have several resources available in one spot that is presented in a way that will be engaging for students. Learning about the Native Americans is first history unit that my students encounter, so I think a WebQuest will help the students ease into history and research. WebQuests narrow the internet and provide the students with suitable resources rather than sending them out to tackle the entire web.
Tribes of Michigan WebQuest
I am loving your work. ^o^
Webquest Creation – This is just outstanding work!!!! Very thorough; very clear with directions; clear objectives; excellent coverage of the template; neat graphics make it appealing. Just a wonderful activity for your students. Your Teacher Page is especially well done. Other educators will appreciate how thorough and detailed you have been.