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May 30, 2004

Classroom Wiki

KILKENNY -- We stutter-stepped with our classroom Wiki in 2004 and I've pulled it from view. We're cranking up an improved version in my MAVIS degree programme in Temple Bar and that should run better. But what is it with Wikis in the classroom? They're so helpful in the professional community but need some work in a classroom environment. I write it off to the elementary school blackboard precept--only the teacher had the communal chalk in primay school. Anybody else is worried about making the chalk screech on the blackboard. That's at odds with a Wiki where everyone can muck about and scribble to their heart's content.

I watched students in third level who couldn't be bothered with a communal learning tool because they simply did not want to collaborate. Some were lazy. Some would have nothing to do with sharing their work. Most could not fathom the pleasure of shared eureka moments.

I think Wikis fit the classroom best when you convert all your PowerPoints into WikiPoints. I do the PowerPoints in class, link to the originals in our Moodle space, then invite Wiki comments. Fewer than 10% contribute but that's higher than the 2% contribution when using Wiki on its own.

One out of every five lectures generated a buzz that manifested itself on the Wiki. It was as though the Wiki disrupted the pathway of learning with students injecting major changes to the classroom lecture. Actually, they were objecting to the tenor and academic levels of the lectures, so they dumbed down the slides. They knew that wouldn't change the test questions and I believe they thought that by making their changes, they were nominating the model answers.

For 2005, my WikiPoints will open and close with "Revision Questions" and I will pull my final exam questions from the "revision questions" left behind by students.

I like the models proposed at MeatballWiki and CommunityWiki because they use terms that underscore the importance of group interaction around collaborative document creation.


Robert Scoble -- "Wiki Wiki Wiki"
Robert Hof -- "Something Wiki This Way Comes "
Preoccupations -- "Using wikis in the classroom"
Heather James -- "Social norms and practises" with the very first very first trackback I've tracked back. Also on Kairosnews as "My Brilliant Failure: Wikis In Classrooms".
Meatball Wiki is a community of communities, an intercommunity or metacommunity. It deals with online culture, especially how people online come together naturally in groups.
Community Wiki -- jump in and swim with the users on board for a "jam-session" where most "do not know where we are going."
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Hi. Just to make it clear, this passage quoted from my weblog emanates not from me but from here: http://kairosnews.org/node/view/3794. I was quoting it! (See attribution at end of my posting.)

Cheers! I'm trying to acknowledge the sophisticated take as Heather's and some backing tracks to Meatball et al. But I my aggie got its stuff from DRSNET first for some reason. No harm in that.

No harm at all — I'm delighted to have the attention! Good to find your blog, too, and I'll keep an eye on your XML feed.

it's interesting to read about how you're quite excited about wiki-point, and how successful it is for you. i think i was being a bit condescending perceiving wiki-point as a failure... but alas and alack. i explained exactly why here: http://kairosnews.org/node/view/3809

i wonder what you think about that?

btw- i wonder if much of your trouble with participation has to do with the fact that online-life is not as prevalent here in ireland as it is elsewhere? i find that in most situations, i'm working with internet non-users.

even my colleagues in a class on IT in education (at tcd) are virtually non-users- to the extent that they do use email, and search online- but do not have any online prescence or interest in one.

i think that's a big factor in lack of participation here in ireland.

btw- please check out the http://wiklossary.nearlythere.com/ which is an open-wiki built for the purpose of intiating new wiki users into the social practices of wiki collboration.

The big appeal about converting PowerPoint notes to Wiki format (my flavour of WikiPoint) is that students could write their own questions. I drew from those questions when writing the final exam. Most of the final exam was a blend of the questions offered. Some of those questions are in this blog, denoted by entries that start with QUESTION. One of them is here:

http://irish.typepad.com/classroom/2004/05/information_syn.html

Thanks for the suggestions.

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