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Blogs and Wikis in Education

Blogs and Wikis in Education

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Published by: mskramst on Jan 21, 2010
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Blogs vs.

Wikis - 2010

Blogs in Education
A blog (also know as web-log) is an online diary or journal about a topic where the most recent post (or reflection) appears at the top and older posts are constantly archived below it. Blogs exist on all topics from politics to cats, from educational technology to pottery. Sadly, many people have negative opinions about blogs due to some of the louder, more inane blogs. There are as many positive and constructive blogs as obscene and inappropriate blogs (in the same way, there are Oscar nominated movies and just plain stupid movies). The most popular places to create a blog are: Blogger (www.blogger.com) and WordPress (www.wordpress.org) and Typepad (www.typepad.com). Students can also blog privately within a Moodle course. Getting started with a blog is a relatively simple process. You must create an account and you can start posting (writing) immediately. Customizing the themes and content is a matter of learning the software’s relatively user-friendly interface. Why blogs are beneficial for student achievement and learning? Blogs provide an informal way for students to think about a topic or subject and express their opinion (like a free-write or a journal entry). It allows students to comment about topics casually without worrying about perfect syntax or grammar. This type of reflection is helpful and useful for later composition of an essay. As a teacher, you can see the development of students’ thinking about a topic over time and make accommodations to your lesson plans to address areas of misunderstanding and confusion. Blogs also allow students to associate links, images and visuals with their writing with a simple click (a limitation of a normal journal). All posts are archived for a running record of student progress in writing and critical thinking. Possible Applications for the Classroom: * Students can blog about class topics or books they are reading in class and teachers can assess comprehension and create a dialog. * Students can follow a current event topic over number of weeks and blog about it on a weekly basis and link their response to news articles. At the end of the period, students would have an ongoing discussion of the content and a list of sources for generating a larger research paper. * Teachers can blog about learning experiences in the classroom or topics of interest related to education Many blogs can help our instruction as well… Many blogs are useful for educators to keep aware of subjects of interest to their profession. Free Technology for Teachers (http://www.freetech4teachers.com/) Teachers Love Smartboards (http://smartboards.typepad.com/) History Teacher’s Attic (http://www.historyteachersattic.com/) 100 Best Blogs of Teachers of the Future (http://bit.ly/77F6Qm)

Want to learn more about using blogs or wikis with your students or your class, contact Mr. Skramstad in Room 209 or email: mskramst@lausd.net to discuss possibilities.

Blogs vs. Wikis - 2010

Wikis in Education
A wiki is a shared online repository of information about a topic, edited by a number of users. The most popular wiki is Wikipedia, an ever-changing online encyclopedia edited by users globally. Studies have shown that the number of errors in Wikipedia is no excessive than Encyclopedia Britannica. A wiki can focus on any topic, but usually are a one-stop location online where you can find exhaustive information about a particular topic from Web 2.0 resources to baseball. Since many topics today are complex, detailed, and ever-changing, a printed text or book is rarely satisfactory. A wiki allows a group of individuals to edit one growing document. Each revision leaves a record, so you can always revert back to a previous version and track abusers. Ultimately, you will have a detailed online resource about a topic available to the entire Internet. The most popular places to create a Wiki are: PBWorks (www.pbworks.com) and Wikia (www.wikia.com). You can also create a wiki within a Moodle course. How wikis are useful for student achievement and learning? Students become collaborators and creators of an online resource of information. This information can then benefit the whole group of class, including future students and educators who might access the resource. Students learn to write informatively and objectively about topics for specific audiences. Future classes can utilize the content in their own learning and edit it for future students. A wiki is useful, not only to its initial creators, but to all the people who can benefit from the information in future years. Wikis have a clean and simple format, the ability to have multiple editors, and the flexibility for adding or editing content over time, making it an ideal choice for some projects and assignments. Possible Applications for the Classroom: * Students can create a wiki about the school or community they live in. Unique topics are valuable because it requires original writing and thought since they cannot find information existing elsewhere. * Students can create a wiki about unexplored or ever-changing topics (like comparison of government systems between different nations, the theme of survival in multiple pieces of literature or frequently asked questions about an emerging career or technology). * Some classes (like AP Classes and science bowls/decathlon teams) have to cover a large quantity of information each year. Wikis can allow your classes to continually build on the content from previous classes in one online location. * Teachers can create a wiki about a club or program (Debate Team / Leadership) or a major test (CAHSEE or AP Government) or a complicated procedure (video editing or web design). * Teachers can use a wiki for collaborating on interdisciplinary lessons or projects.

Want to learn more about using blogs or wikis with your students or your class, contact Mr. Skramstad in Room 209 or email: mskramst@lausd.net to discuss possibilities.

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