I am taking some Grad classes from UW Stout in the area of Information Communication Technology and E-Learning. As part of a weekly assignment, I am required to post my reflections on a blog. Well, I have been blogging for a while and I was debating on whether or not I would develop a separate blog for this information. I decided not to. First of all the information and knowledge I have received thus far, is VERY relevant to my current audience. (I will assume are teachers and maybe some techies)
For our first assignment we had to pick a person and do an online interview. I will tell you I was a little uncomfortable doing this assignment because to pick someone out of the blue, wasn’t that easy for me. Especially, since I didn’t know what or if we had anything in common. This was during the COLDEST week in Minnesota so I of course used weather as a topic of interest. I did manage to chat with an individual from Saudi Arabia and the weather is nice there right now. I also met an Interior design instructor from a college in Wisconsin. She is going to take her class to Italy on a field trip. WOW – what a great hands on opportunity!
Even though I was not sure of how this process would work, it is truly amazing to have conversations with people that are states and even continents away from you. Especially if you have grown up in Rural Minnesota. What I did like about the assignment is that it was then my job to introduce them to the class. This really helped me connect with them. So often, it is hard to really get to “know” someone online and this is a great way to assess who people are.
Part 2 of the assignment was to dabble in wiki’s. I am a wiki lover so I was more than happy to give my two sense in support of wikis! Here is a little insert from my post”
The use of Wiki’s is probably one of my favorite collaboration Web2.0 tools. Only a couple of years ago, I pretty much related a wiki to Wikipedia – just a bunch of people contributing to what they know to a big Encarta like site. I always kind of thought to myself – “why would I contribute, more than likely someone somewhere is going to know more about the topic and will probably erase what I wrote anyways.” So I did nothing.
My “eureka” came to me when I was organizing our district’s summer institute last spring. We call it Bears Professional Growth Academy. (The bear is our mascot) In previous academies I would have presenters email me their presentations and I would manually build a website that contained presentations, handouts, and other resources. This took considerable time! After attending a conference 2 winters ago, I seen that the conference had a wiki and it had appeared that they were letting the presenters post their own materials. Well HELLO? Why didn’t I think of that? So as I explored this wiki and used it during my classes I was attending, I was also free to explore the other classes that I didn’t have time to attend! It was amazing!
To often wiki’s are related only to wikipedia. I have utilized them in many different aspects and they can be a great way to organize and centralize information of your organization. I never realized that they could be an assessment tool too. For teamwork activities, the wiki might be a great way for students to research and gather information. My favorite wiki’s building sites are – Wetpaint, PBWiki, and Wikispaces. What are yours?