Stirring the Pot

4/09/2005 10:48:00 pm

All's quiet on the wiki front. I'm not happy about that. It generated a little excitement when I first published it. I got email from couple of teachers who thought it was a great idea and wanted to join in the fun. Both also said they would be passing on the address to other folks they know and I'm confident they did. But if you go look at the recent changes on the wiki .... there are none except the ones I've made.

Hmmm .... how to make this technology work. Accessability isn't the issue; the wiki's wide open and all my students have internet access at home or at school. I read some comments over at Bud The Teacher's wiki that perhaps people were hesitant to edit someone else's work. Maybe that's an issue here. The students see it as my wiki, not theirs. Ok, so how do I convince them that it really is theirs? Maybe the issue is my own impatience; maybe they need more time to absorb and accomodate the technology; more time to reflect on what or how they wish to contribute?

Maybe I set it up all wrong. Essentially, I took the learning outcomes prescribed for each unit and pasted them as headings in each unit's wikipage. Maybe I need to give them a different sort of prompt to get things going.

I recently posted about the wealth of things to learn in Alan Levine's post on the Learning Objects workshop he facilitated. Tonight I tumbled down the rabbit hole to this article excerpted below (emphasis mine):

To truly empower students within collaborative or coconstructed activities requires the teacher to relinquish some degree of control over those activities. The instructor’s role shifts to that of establishing contexts or setting up problems to engage students. In a wiki, the instructor may set the stage or initiate interactions, but the medium works most effectively when students can assert meaningful autonomy over the process.

Epiphany! That's it! Maybe I have gone about this all wrong. Instead of posting a dry list of learning outcomes I'll post one or two interesting problems that we learn how to solve in each unit. The students would then be challenged to solve the problem. In the process, they would have to explain the steps they took to do so, including:

  • »all calculations done. They should be annotated so that another student who missed class the day the material was taught would be able to replicate the work. [basic skills, low level thinking]
  • »what do the numbers mean? Interpret the results in light of the problem given. [applications, higher order thinking]

I don't know if this is the solution but it's worth a try. I'll try to get started this weekend; get some feedback from the kids next week and see if it makes a difference.

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