Sunday, May 01, 2005

Students Wiki, Teacher's Wiki

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I've been trying to get my Pre-Cal 40S class to participate in a wiki to enhance their learning. We've migrated from JotSpot to XWiki.com because JotSpot's beta period is ending and they're going commercial. As I've mentioned here earlier; it didn't take off. Well, the Pre-Cal 40S Wiki Textbook has become the Pre-Cal 40S Wiki Notebook. Already one student has tried their hand at it and I hope it will grow.

As a matter of fact I was really impressed with this student's contribution. It had been made anonymously because he couldn't figure out how to login (a problem we've already solved). Terry Kaminsky over at the GCHS Math Blog had suggested that I try starting the kids off by beginning the solution to one of the problems. When I first read it I thought it might be Terry. ;-) The solution was correct, well annotated and beautifully presented. I did notice one small transcription error that I left for the students to correct, thinking that had been part of Terry's plan. When I mentioned the work done on the wiki in class I said I thought it had been done by a visiting teacher only to be corrected by the student who had actually written it! You should know that this student is a fairly recent immigrant to Canada and is learning English as a second language. He has really taken to blogging and is obviously getting a lot out of our blog supported class. I'm really proud of him. He impresses me on a regular basis with his enthusiasm for learning and the vibrant way he expresses himself on our blog.

I'm still encouraging the wiki's use in class by pointing out to the students that the wiki can grow into a fantastic study tool for the final exam in June.

As I continue to think about the learning possibilities inherent in collaborating via wikis, it occurred to me that there should be a wiki where teachers gather and collaborate. I've lost the site where I was reading about a first year teacher blogging about staying up late preparing lesson plans, musing about how first year teachers all over the world are "recreating the wheel" every day. Wouldn't it be great if there was a place where we all could share and learn from each other's work? Sounds like a wiki to me. ;-) Another source of inspiration comes from James Tubbs over at The Future of Mathematics blog with this post on solving one-step-equations.

I've mentioned here previously about how the folks in my department are hoping to improve student performance at our school through improved pedagogy. To that end we have our first interschool math department workshop on June 1st. The working title is the BPRIME Workshop; Best PRactices In Mathematics Education. As a way to foster community amongst the group of teachers I'm working with I've created a wiki called the BPRIME Wiki. It's a place for us to share teaching ideas, best practices, and research articles and websites. Originally I had intended the BPRIME Wiki only to be used locally, but now I realize, that's too short sighted. While the wiki is geared towards math teachers, good teaching is good teaching, and we can all learn from each other, regardless of our specializations. So, here it is, my open invitation to teachers everywhere:

An Open Invitation to All Teachers: Come visit the BPRIME Wiki. A collaborative effort to collect teaching ideas and strategies that exemplify best practices in the teaching of mathematics at all levels. While the emphasis of this wiki is on mathematics this exercise can help all of us improve our craft. Every contribution you make encourages other people to do the same. Give a little bit, get a lot.

You can self register for the wiki, although registration isn't required in order to participate -- but you should get credit for the contributions that you make. I encourage everyone to register. Also, please feel free to copy, link to, and redistribute this invitation far and wide. The more of us that work together on this the better it will be and the more we'll all learn.

2 comments:

Mr. Kaminski said...
1/5/05 20:13  

The idea of a Best Practices in Matematics Education(BPRIME) wiki is awesome!!!! Right now in our mathematics dept. we have what are called Course Binders. These are binders where we all share unit outlines, exams, assignments, projects, investigations etc... We also talk casually on a daily basis about how to teach certain topics, how to deal with problem students, how to motivate students. The list is endless. However, your idea of a BPRIME wiki means we are not only confined to our dept. or our school but everyone in the world can work together to better educate all children.

Talk about working smarter not harder!!!!

I sure could have use a BPRIME wiki 15 years ago when I began my teaching career.

Well, enough for now. i am off to the BPRIME wiki to see what i can share.

Jonathan Kallay said...
2/5/05 11:40  

Ditto. I've written a post on the idea of 'open source curricula' which you might find interesting.

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