Thursday, October 21, 2010
A "How To" On Using Wikis With Elementary Students
Wikis: Pulling It All Together Online
Elementary teachers are using wikis in and out of the classroom. The collaborative, teacher-moderated technology allows educators to set up sites quickly and at little or no cost, creating instant learning resources for students. But wikis aren't without their challenges.
By Bridget McCrea10/20/10
David Lindsay discovered wikis in 2005, several years before collaborative Web 2.0 innovations would officially infiltrate the educational space. Armed with Web site design experience, this elementary school teacher started tooling around with the idea of wikis after seeking out a better way to manage an annual competition that paired students with a local business alliance.
"I was looking for an easier, free way to manage the competition," said Lindsay, a fourth grade teacher and technology coordinator at Rosedell Elementary in Saugus, CA. Through the event, students work closely with the business alliance to develop their own online businesses. Lindsay coaches students through the process, which finds children using the Web to experience hands-on entrepreneurship at a young age.
"At the time, there was software available for what I wanted to do, but it was cost-prohibitive," said Lindsay, who was also challenged by the fact that Web site design five years ago still required the developers (in this case, the students themselves) to write code. "Programming and HTML were still pretty complicated for a fourth grader to learn and use," said Lindsay. "While I was looking around for better options, I stumbled upon wikis."
By definition, a wiki is a Web site that allows for simple creation and editing of multiple, interlinked Web pages. Using simplified markup language WYSIWYG text editor and a browser, teachers can get set up online and start interacting with their online communities quickly. Powered by wiki software, these sites are used frequently in educational settings, where teachers can exercise editorial rights by removing inappropriate or off-topic material.
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