Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wikis for me? I've tried them, but...

...not for my kids in my classroom. I'm not so sure about them. My first experience with wikis was when PB Wiki was the "buzz" in our school. All of us teachers seemed to used them that year for things related to the classroom, but only for parent use. I used them for signing up for volunteering, signing up to donate something...things like that. I found that the parents were able to use them pretty easily for the most part. Then PB Wiki changed their settings and required people to be invited. Although that doesn't seem too daunting, it was to me, so I stopped using it after using a wiki for 2 years. Then I moved into Google and Google docs this year. I have found that (for the most part) these have worked relatively easy. There is no password required and they are fairly easy to edit. Beach mentioned the use of Google docs briefly in the chapter, but focused mainly on wikis.
Hmmm...again, where do I go with this with my first graders? I'm not quite sure. I can see how using a wiki would be beneficial in upper grades, but using wikis, like blogs, is a little daunting for first grade. Yikes! What kind of feedback would I get from parents? Again, I see the value in using collaborative writing online using a wiki for upper grades. I can see how this page would be valuable when in high school. It would really allow for people to work together. It seems as though a teacher has placed the bold headings for each part they want a post in. Then the students are able to post as they find information to write and share.
I did find what seemed to be an elementary example which I thought could be useful for an upper grade. I really liked how the students posted student 21 or student 8 instead of posting with their name. This could really save on some of the parent comments about security that came with blogging. I suppose since they are invited to the wiki, they are able to post anonymous.
I don't know that this will be something I will try, but I would love to see/hear of success stories where teachers were able to use it in a productive way and not "just to use technology-" one of the things I continue to struggle with when we speak of technology in the classroom.


  1. I also find the idea of using wikis with my students too daunting. I have been using a wiki for the classes that I coordinate for the French interns who work at my school and even they (ages 20 to 25) have trouble using the wiki sometimes. One day I went to the wiki and discovered that the whole front page had been deleted and replaced with a link to one of the interns' blogs. I panicked and then figured out how to fix it. But yeah, little kids. Maybe not so much. I also use a wiki for volunteer sign-ups, but even parents sometimes have trouble. :)

  2. Kim,
    I feel like as primary teachers we are loving everything that we are learning in this class, but ALWAYS questioning how we can apply it to our first graders. I know that it seems to be the underlying question and topic of many of my posts. Although I have found great elementary examples as well, I am not confident in my ability to effectively use them in my own class. I can just see the tears streaming down faces and me crazily running around the room trying to teach kids how to interact with a wiki. There has to be some way to make it work...
    The other aspect of all of this is time. I feel like we are so jammed with things that need to be done in our day/week/month that teaching something as new as wikis would take a great deal of time that we do not have. I am not trying to be a downer at all...I just wish that I new a way to tackle this and make it successful for all the kids and myself!