I chose to respond to Lankshear and Knobel’s chapter 5 this week on blogs and wikis. I was familiar with blogs from years past but never had my own until recently. However, I was not familiar with wikis, other than Wikipedia obviously, so that was interesting to read about. One idea/buzz word kept coming up in the chapter and in my head, collaboration. For those of you that aren’t teachers, collaboration is the new (sometimes seems like the only) buzzword in education. Everything is about collaboration.
While I was reading, I kept thinking of new ways I could use blogs or wikis in my classroom to better collaborate. I already have it in my head that I want to create classroom blog next school year where students can share their ideas or reading responses. But a blog might not be as collaborative as a wiki. When I finished the chapter, it became apparent that a wiki space would be better for collaboration within my classroom than a blog, but harder to set up. Lankshear and Knobel state, “Wikis have great potential within education for promoting online and offline collaboration among educators and students within and across classrooms and institutions” (p. 158). My only concern with a wiki is will it be too complicated to navigate for 8 year olds??
Honestly, because I am not as familiar with wikis and because Lanskhear and Knobel say ‘setting up and contributing to a wiki is not as straightforward as setting up or posting to a blog’ (p. 158) I feel a classroom blog is the safer option for this coming school year. However, Lankshear and Knobel do say that wikis ‘have considerable potential as a professional development medium for educators, as tools, resource hosts, and shared interest spaces’ (p. 158). So maybe the answer here is stick with a simpler blog for 3rd graders in the classroom and create a wiki space for teachers to use and collaborate together.
My goal for this fall is to help classroom teachers better incorporate technology into their classrooms, we are even setting up a new committee to make this happen. I created an edWeb space last semester to help make my goal a reality, but the problem with edWeb is you have to create an account and login every time. A wiki space might be more useful so more than one teacher can contribute to the content or edit an existing entry to make it better. It might also be easier to navigate or get to for the resistant to change teachers, we all have a few of those at our schools!
Side note: I did a basic search on wiki.com for "technology AND elementary education" and a really cool wiki showed up. This is a great starting point for me to use to help teachers next year realize the importance of technology in the classroom!
The only concern I have with incorporating a blog or wiki into my classroom is the lack of technology available to some of my students outside the classroom. I would love more than anything to assign homework where students have to blog or contribute, edit or read a wiki, but the reality is most of my students don’t have a computer or internet access at home. I will just have to be diligent about allowing students the time in the classroom to participate if they aren’t able to at home.
|image taken from a Google image search|
Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2011). New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning. New York: Open University Press.