Mr.O'Connor's Wiki and my personal thoughts on this Assignment
The main thought behind this lesson is develop a format in which you can teach students, through technology, in an interactive enviornment. They are no longer learning from a flat page of a text book. The wiki is a wonderful resource that allows students to experience learning through an interactive text. I embeded video, an answer garden, and images for a complete experience. I believe if I had more time I would be able to hone my wiki into a very concise, attractive medium to learn from.
Personally, I love the idea of a wiki. It is a very useful tool. However, part of this assignment was to have the students interact in some way within the wiki. This was the difficult part for me. As I look back, I am not sure why! We did have criteria to meet and I suppose that I wanted to do it correctly so that I can get a good grade (truth be told).
Garth Holman, our instructor, showed us what a real, student built wiki looked like. His students have been building their own history wiki for over seven years. He had an idea to allow his students to take ownership of their learning: let them build their own wiki for history. The motivation was not for a grade or participation points. His students did it all on their own with very little guidence from Mr. Holman. The site can be found by clicking on the picture below.
Why Am I not A Fan, You ask?
Personally, I am also very critical of how something looks. My Weebly blog has been changed multiple times with different themes and colors. This software has the ability to do this. I am really pleased with it. I am a visual learner, and most people who love technology are the same. I also believe that making a webpage visually clean and interesting is what makes a normal text page develop into a Web 2.0 page. Wikispaces is so Windows 95!
OK, enough beating up on Wikispaces. I do love the concept still!
There was one last thing that I wanted to add. I ran into a problem with finding a program of sometype that would allow students to take a map quiz. I wanted to be able to have my students access it on the wiki page and get immediate results. When I Googled it, I found plenty of maps and many, many interactive maps that would of been fun to use as well. But they didn't have blank maps that I could edit and develop into a quiz. Mr. Holman came to my rescue and found a photo editing add on for Google Chrome which was good enough. It did the job.
As I struggled with finding that application, or app, my wheels began to turn in my head. I really think there should be an app builder that builds apps for and by the teacher or educators! Who would better know what you need in the classroom but you?! That 25 year old computer wiz in India? Nope. You the educator. I think it is time for teachers to speak up and say, "this current technology is OK, but we can do better...here's my ideas...".
The most important lesson I learned here through this process that it can always be better. Let's innovate!