Monday, November 2, 2009

Wikis and Blogs and Online Journals (Oh My!)

As I’m sure a lot of you know…in TE 401 we have an extension assignment due as our final class project. The idea is simple: take an idea we have been discussing in science and EXTEND it. That’s it. We have been given the freedom to be creative, and I am really excited! The main guideline is this: you must incorporate technology as an innovative way to teach, assess and/or inspire students in the area of science teaching. There are so many different ways to run with this. As of right now, I have a few ideas. I’m thinking about possibly creating a class blog or a class wiki for my fourth grade students in my field placement. This class has done an excellent job preparing me for this assignment. I have had the opportunity to study exactly how blogging and online journaling can benefit students. For example:

1.Using technology is a motivator for many kids, especially those who otherwise might not become participants in classrooms.
2.Excellent opportunities for students to read and write.
3.Effective forums for collaboration and discussion.

4.Powerful tools to enable scaffold-ed learning or mentoring to occur.

These are just a few reasons why I would love to implement a blog or wiki in my fourth grade classroom.

Flickr Photo CC by Kristina B

To enable the use of an online science journal and resource for the class to utilize as they journey through their different science units would be so much fun for them! The fourth graders I work with are an incredibly enthusiastic group of children and I think they would be thrilled at the idea of having a class wiki or blog. I think it would create a strong sense of ownership for them. They can share their thoughts and ideas and opinions in regards to the science concepts they are learning and they will feel motivated thanks to the innovative concept of an online journal.

I would want this to be used as an online science journal and resource for the class as they make their way through their different science units. I thought this could be a resource they can use to find information on the topics they are learning. I would make sure to keep it up to date with the most recent information; ranging from videos, slides, photos, educational links, games, etc. They could edit the pages themselves and add anything they find relevant and informational. They can also add photographs of themselves and information about who they are and why they are interested in science. That could even be the first journal post they make. I’m not sure what would be more beneficial, a blog or a wiki? I’m familiar with blogging, especially after having the last couple of months to gain some experience in the area of blogs. However, wikis, I’m not so familiar with. I have wikis for a couple of classes, but I’m not sure they are being utilized to their full potential I would like to see some examples of wikis that are. Any suggestions? When I go to the Technology Conference on November 14th, I will be taking a workshop on creating classroom wikis, so I’m hoping that workshop will open my eyes and give me some great ideas on where to go from there. It sounds like a lot of my fellow peers in TE 401 have thought of creating a class blog, so I was hoping to do something a little different. We’ll see… Let me know if you have any suggestions!

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