Working with Blogs and Wikis In the Classroom


Students as consumers or as producers? It’s like asking would you like ketchup or mustard? Butter or sour cream? We often say – both.

Alma: http://cardinal.alma.k12.ne.us/ login

Notice on the right side is a list of blogs/wikis already created on your server. We will be using the Tech Integration Week for this lesson.
For additional Information about How to Use Blogs, Wikis and Forums in the Classroom click here.

Definitions

Wikis:

Definition: A wiki is a website which enables documents to be written collaboratively in a simple mark-up language using a web browser.

Blogs:

Definition: A blog is a website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of most blogs.

How do you choose the appropriate one to use?
  1. Do you want all the students to add to the same file? Each person builds upon the info already supplied the rest?
  2. Do you want each student to be responsible for their own information based upon the question asked by the instructor?
  3. Do you want one final collaboration of a group? Or do you want them all to have their own?




Wiki Best uses:

wiki.jpg

• since the wiki stores every change made and who made it, you can see what they did or didn’t do an dsee how constructive it was
• it is a controllable environment (they can’t get away with much)
Worst misunderstandings:
• wikis are inaccurate information
• mistaken for the wiccan religion
• they involve all inappropriate information

Warnings and Suggestions:
  • If everyone begins on the same blank page and begins writing at once, they will all overwrite each other and you will lose work.
  • Sometimes it is nice to have students write in a word processor first so they have a safe copy before they copy and paste into the wiki or...
  • Create the different categories, like an outline, first so they are not all working in the first line of the document (writing over each other)
  • make the students create a free account (if using a free wikispace) or have your LAN manager add student names to your list so you can see which student posted which remarks.

Ways to Moderate the Wiki Page:
  • Create the page "starter"
  • Ask students to go in and make changes.
  • They can make changes in the writing, grammar, spelling, content, etc.
  • They can add pictures, links, tables, etc.
  • After the first part of the page is created, then the "owner" of the page can go in and look at recent changes
  • There is a listing of the changes made and saved and the person responsible for those changes.
  • By clicking the name of the user, or the date the changes were made, you can see those changes. (By default in wikispaces the changes are highlighted in green as additions to the page, and with red for deletes.
  • If you are unhappy about any changes or additions, you can revert back the previous version and you have record of who made the changes.

Free Tools:

Examples:


Blog Best Uses:

blog.jpg

  • For class blogs. (Under settings, permissions, you can invite your students to participate in the blog. Simply put in their email addresses with a comma between each address. You can have up to 100.)
  • For creative writing posting and editing
  • For personalized interest exploration, research and opinion. You can do an entire writing unit on one subject (informative, narrative, persuasive, etc.).
Worst Misunderstandings:
  • It is a diary. Well, it could be, but if it is taught correctly is a great forum for publishing writing of all kinds.
  • Students will use texting language and instant messaging codes to write their blogs.

Warning and Suggestions:
  • It is always a challenge to decide if every student needs their own blog or if they will use a class blog owned by the teacher (it depends upon the subject matter
  • make the students create a free account (if using a free blogger) or have your LAN manager add student names to your list so you can see which student posted which comments.
  • comments are not threaded so if student makes a comment about another student's comment, they will not appear together. They need to be taught to refer to a post by name or author for continuity. (If you are looking for threaded comments, you might be more interested in a discussion forum)

Ways to Moderate Blogs:
  • Things can be done in many different ways. If the teacher is the sole owner of the blog (like many of mine), then the teacher has to do the originating post. The students then can make comments to those posts.
  • As the posts are submitted, you can choose to moderate the comments, or you can simply delete the posts that you don't want to appear after they have been turned in.
  • You can make the posts appear only after the due date, and then let students read each other's work and make additional comments.

Free Tools:

Examples: