I consider myself pretty tech savvy, but I haven’t until now delved into the world of Wikis. Sure like the rest of the internet using world I have used Wikipedia, and I have also seen them used to a great deal of success by my PLN on twitter and have visited various Wikis that archive twitter chats, but I haven’t ever created a Wiki or used one in a class. That is all about to change and I am so grateful to Shelley Paul @lottascales and her 23 things class for pushing me in the Wiki Direction.
So for those of you who are new to Wiki’s like myself I thought I would chart my learning process. I began by viewing this video: Intro to Wikis and by exploring some great Wiki’s Shelley had selected for us. I really appreciated Thousand and One Flat World Tales where I found the stories written by Korean students incredibly insightful and informative given my ESL teaching experience with our wonderful Korean students. What I most liked about Wiki’s is the ability for many people to collaborate in real time and to create something together. I plan on using a Wiki with my ESL History students this year and may even start one to help students find resources for their research papers.
A few other interesting Wikis for those teaching Social Studies:
Resources for History Teachers is an award Winning wiki with boatloads of great resources. I found the APUSH resources especially good.
Cool Tools For Schools is another award winning Wiki that is incredibly well organized and links to tools students can use to collaborate, create presentations, film and edit movies, record podcasts, organize projects, and stay on top of homework.
So what is your favorite Wiki and how do you use them in your classes? Leave a comment to start a conversation!
Here are some free web 2.0 tools I’ve discovered or just gotten more proficient with because of our 23 things class.
1.Bubbl.us– is a cool concept mapping tool that allows you to brainstorm, visually outline ideas, and has some easy to use shortcuts that make the processes simple. I have used Inspiration with visual students in the past, but you have to pay, and bubbl.us is free. I will definitely turn my kids onto this tool especially when we begin the research project this fall.
2. Haiku Deck– A wonderful presentation creation app that is free and visually beautiful. I have seen some really terrific presentations from ISTE and on twitter. This is a tool I will definitely use this year and teach my students.
3. Timetoast- Since xtimeline no longer seems to work well, perhaps we will use timetoast this year instead. Although you cannot create collaborative timelines, students can create individual timelines and then put them on our class blog. The interface is really easy to use and I can see the utility of this tool for group and individual projects in the upcoming year.
4. Voicethread– A great tool that allows you to record voice comments to videos, pictures or documents. There are so many possibilities for this tool. You could use it to give feedback to students, have them give feedback to each other, or create a narrative for a picture or video. The possibilities are endless and this is the tool I am probably most exited about using this year. I think my ESL students will love using it to practice their spoken English and interact with each other. I think we may use it this year with our WPA poster project in American Studies.
5. Weebly– Our school has used Weebly in several classes, and this year we will go back to having students create a website based on an artifact from Special Collections at the University of Virginia. We did this two years ago and it went really well, but we had to rely on google sites and they just aren’t as slick as what students can create with Weebly. I am also going to have my ESL History students creating sites based on famous Supreme Court cases as a way to introduce them to the constitution and the Judicial Branch of government.
Great Places to Find More Tools:
Dirt– “This wiki collects information about tools and resources that can help scholars (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) conduct research more efficiently or creatively. Whether you need software to help you manage citations, author a multimedia work, or analyze texts, Digital Research Tools will help you find what you’re looking for. We provide a directory of tools organized by research activity, as well as reviews of select tools in which we not only describe the tool’s features, but also explore how it might be employed most effectively by researchers.”
Webtools4utouse Wiki – A great site with a terrific layout that provides you with great tools to do everything from screen casting to pod casting, web sharing, and curating. I will be spending a great deal of time exploring this site in the coming weeks.