Week 7, Thing #16: Wikis

What a disappointment that the wiki that I’ve been working on to support this class and to help us plan for a possible future class is not useable on the school network. Don’t know why, but all pbwiki pages lose their formatting on our network and make it such a mess to look at that it’s a no-go. Strangely, it seems that if you don’t log in or try to go to another page within a pbwiki, the formatting on the front page is ok. Log in or click on a hyperlink, and all formatting goes wacko and the wheels fall off the cart! How frustrating.

AR and I can’t remember why we decided against wikispaces last summer & I started making the wiki on pbwiki instead. It’s a moot point though because wikispaces is blocked! Shriek!

Discussion tonight centered around our Acceptable Use Policy and exactly what it might be about wikis that is so dangerous that none of them are cleared for use. That’s a powerful tool that is just totally unavailable to us.

Some of us agreed though that wiki use is not as easy to “get” as blogging is–I think we need more opportunity to practice with one another. Maybe soon???


Week 7 Thing #16

I am relieved to find that we can access wikispaces from school! So now my district librarian and I are able to collaborate on a mini-program for our colleagues incorporating some of the concepts we’re learning through School Library Learning 2.0.

I decided to set up a wiki of my own to see how it works/how I like it. I must admit though that I have found wikispaces a tad confusing. I don’t know HOW it could be confusing to me, but for some reason it is! I’m in the process of watching the tutorials again to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and then I may just scratch what I’ve done and start over. I think I did something funky in the beginning and it’s made the architecture of my wiki weird. Working on it…it can’t be that hard! The whole idea is simplicity! I think it’s me.

I concur with many of my fellow SLL2.0 participants whose blogs I’ve read, in that Joyce Valenza’s blog post entitled Ten Reasons Why Your Next Pathfinder Should Be a Wiki really puts a practical face on wikis and why they’re really a perfect tool for teachers and librarians. I’ll have to periodically reread it as I get a little further into my year planning! I plan to introduce wikis to my older students as well, in the form of book reviews/discussion–especially in connection with our state reading program (Texas Bluebonnet Award) nominees.

I spent some time looking around a site that I’d read about in addition to the sites listed in SLL2.0: Curriki . Curriki calls itself the Global Education and Learning Community–it’s a Curriculum Wiki. I found a couple of really useful things here and here in just a few moments’ browsing, so I think this might be a site worth checking in on regularly as well & sharing with teachers.

To complete this Thing, a few other uses of a wiki in the school library setting:

  • collaboration with teachers
  • event planning (book fair, author visit, etc.) with both teachers and volunteers
  • curriculum planning with fellow librarians at other schools
  • book reviews by students/teachers
  • pathfinders/resource lists
  • any project necessitating collaboration!

Test Review as Cheat Code–Wow!

Yesterday on his blog, David Warlick compared test review activities to video game cheat code sites on the internet. He asserted that perhaps if we let students write their own test reviews and study guides via a wiki, that process might be more valuable (and intriguing) than the test itself. He goes on to say that perhaps students should be allowed to use these “cheat codes” as they test:

if allowing students to create a strategy guide to use when taking their test would make the test too easy — perhaps we’re asking the wrong questions on the test.

How I agree with that statement! It’s posts like these that make Warlick’s blog the first one I check every morning. I think his ability to make unique connections like this makes him one of the most interesting and valuable “thinkers” we have out there sharing.

This post helped me clarify in my mind how to explain to some of my teachers that this school 2.0 “stuff” is critical for them to learn about and include in their classrooms. What a great parallel between the classroom and kids’ RL this comparison is! What teacher hasn’t used a test review sheet–and possibly even a student generated one! But the link to how it is pertinent in kids lives to do this through one of their tools was very helpful to me!

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