Evaluating Classroom Wikis
Go West was a well-done project that reminded me of many of the same types of projects that I have done with 4th graders in the past. The biggest difference was that everyone could see each other's work and the students directed the organization and uploading of content to a shared space. It had a clean layout, with different categories in the left-hand tab. The students did a great job of scanning and/or saving pictures of other types of work to embed into the project. This really got me thinking about ways we can use wikis in our school - more on that in the next section.
Mr. Monson's 5th Grade represents an open-source effort to teach students the power of collaboration and shared content building. Monthly questions by students invited anyone in the world to respond with a list of their own. Although leaving the editing rights wide-open is a bit scary for my elementary mind, I can only imagine the joy and wonder on the students' faces as they saw edits pour in from different people around the country. It was a bit clunky to scroll down and see all of the responses - I would have appreciated a more organized layout.
The Kindergarten Counting Book shows us that wikis aren't simply the domain of older students. Students built models for each number, and most pictures appear to be student-taken as well. Although the teacher handled the posting, the site is clearly a space for the students to view their shared efforts that still lives on long after they have moved on to 1st grade. This site really inspired me to think about ways that wikis can be used in all of the elementary grades.
Beginning My Wiki-Journey
"A journey of a thousand wiki-edits begins with a single page" - me
This is a project I did with a 5th grade class last year about the Vietnam War. I created a blank Google Slides presentation, chose a theme, and made a title slide & template for the project. Then, I copied the template and assigned each student a slide. The rest of the work was done entirely by the students. Although Google Slides still lacks the ability to insert music, we played "War" by Edwin Starr through the speakers as the presentation was playing. They had a blast, and learned a lot, too!
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oak, California: Corwin.