I believe that the only way to truly explore a tool is to use it. That is the best part about Teaching and Learning in a Networked Environment. I first learned of wikis during my fellowship through the Plymouth Writing Project when I explored the book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardon as part of my research component to the expeience. The book is rich with potentials for classroom technology integration.
I fell in love with the National Writing Projects' summer opportunity for fellows to post their writing and receive feedback from educators all over the country--the world even. Never before had I received such rich feedback on my writing. This was the opportunity I needed to give my students.
Perhaps prematurely in August, I set out creating a wiki for my students. And then the reality of my students' young age set in--It didn't seem like it would be possible. There is such insecurity among parents and educators alike when it comes to using the web 2.o tools. It's almost fear--but more like ignorance of the reality that it is better to teach the students about the proper use rather than sheild them from the potential benefits of the web.
So, I have decided to test the waters of a wiki with my Winter Wellness writers. It's such a new tool for them that there are many obstacles to overcome in the six-days that I have them. We have had our second day to work on our writing, and I have found that we have spent more time playing with the wiki page's tools than writing. This past Thursday we had trouble even logging on--no surprise as our technology tools have been a work in progress throughout the district.
I see such potential if I can make this work. Students in other areas of the world could be offering suggestions to my students regarding their writing. If I could just get past the limitations of both our district's technology and my students lack of exposure to it, I could really open my students up to some great opportunities.