Wiki wannabe

I just finished checking out some student wikis on Kristin's Blog. I had taken Kristin off my blogroll, but rediscovered her while reading of Mr. McNamar's struggles at his new job as an urban educator in Connecticut.

Kristin's last post, "The Not-So-Intimidating World of Wiki," was in October, but it is current and relevant to me, as I am looking to move my classroom integration of Web 2.o tools beyond, "OK students, here's my USB drive to save your story so I can upload it to our class blog."

Web 2.o is about control, authorship, and authority. Students aren't getting the full experience because I still hold the reigns. I suppose I do it out of caution.

I am the only teacher at my high school who is posting student work to a blog for all the world to see. I am meaning to move beyond using my class blog pages as a place for displaying student work. I'd like each of my kids to have their own space where they upload class content and harness the connective powers of the Internet to move the discourse beyond the limitations of our classroom's four walls.

Perhaps wikis are the answer.

After February break, I will be taking part in a Web 2.0 professional development workshop with 20 other educators in Western Massachusetts. As soon as my principal informed me of the opportunity, I seized it and told him I was interested.

Wikis are the next unexplored territory for Mr. B-G. I hope to use some of the examples of Kristen's students (Hannah, Madison, Brian, and Meghan) to gain ideas and structure for my foray into the wiki world. I think her students' personal philosophy statements help create a bond between them and the reader, and the option of focusing on an individual area of interest and inquiry makes Kristin's curriculum more relevant to her students, as it allows for a tapestry of learning that is rich, diverse, and, I would imagine, fun to be a part of.

While Web 2.0 technology is slow to make its way into the lesson plans of teachers at my school, my principal is a real advocate for its use, and sees the possibilities for enriching learning. What is difficult is arranging for professional development and time for teachers to educate each other on its potential.

Eventually, as a few of us are able to figure things out and have our students use the tools in meaningful ways that demonstrate learning, the allocation of resources should come, and we'll be able to get more teachers behind the Web 2.0 movement.

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