Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Wiki Experiment

This has been done for a while, but I'm just getting around to posting it. Sorry.

In the interest of authentic assessment, I decided to give the wiki a test during a class. My students had just finished reading Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers and had to have an in-class seminar over this outside reading. Normally, students have to discuss an assigned book in a large-group environment. I thought this lent itself well to both a forum, which I've used before, and possibly a Wiki.

Students used Moodle to add forum posts with questions they had about topics in the story, and that portion of the day went quite smoothly. After that was completed, I had them work on a Wiki that described the various characters in the story so that all would have access to the most accurate information (telling a couple to be watch-dogs for inaccuracies).

The fact that the Wiki in moodle would only allow one student to edit at a time led me to revise the plan and create a google-doc that my afternoon classes could work with. The Google-doc allowed them to edit at the same time, but wasn't real-time. I am hesitant to use Etherpad due to the chat feature, though that was an option as well.

The overall product was not great with the Wikis while the Google Docs were a little better.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

U.S. moves closer to common standards

I highly recommend reading this article:
U.S. moves closer to common standards

I know that this is not an article about twenty-first century skills, but I thought it might make a difference when thinking about curriculum. Imagine how things are likely to change for us here in the midwest if we have to teach the same curriculum as the far east and west coasts. I enjoy the diversity of our nation, so my concern is that we will become less diverse due to uniform educational requirements. Will the federal government be assigning textbooks, or will we get a choice of reading materials for our English classrooms?