Wiki Reflection

Sunday, August 9, 2015
Following are my three reflections on the wiki:

Reflection 1

I was not familiar with using wikis (except when searching Wikipedia) when we were first given the assignment. I was extremely interested in learning more about them, especially how I might use them with my students.

The first time I used the wiki was to create it for our group. Joe had originally taken the initiative to create a wiki page, but it had ads. I remembered another classmate sharing their wiki, and it was ad-free. I suggested that we use the ad-free site, because I thought that the ads would detract from our message. I created the wiki site and shared it with the group. I created pages for the Literature Review Proposal, the Literature Review itself, and the upcoming Research Prospectus.

My first experience with the wiki gave me the idea that it would be useful to use with students who are working collaboratively on a project. Since many of my students are English language learners and our review was about how ELLs use social media, I thought this would be a perfect way for me to experience first-hand how my ELLs might use a wiki.
Also, I think that it would be a wiki could be a great tool for teachers wanting to digitally collect and present information on a specific subject area.
  

Reflection 2

The second time I used the wiki was when our Literature Review Proposal was due. My group and I had composed the Literature Review Proposal in Google Docs and copied and pasted it into the wiki. This was the first time that I had composed within the wiki. It was difficult to compose collaboratively in the wiki, especially since I’m so use to the real-time composing feature of Google Docs. It was also extremely difficult to get the formatting of the outline correct. It was very frustrating. I was able to change some of the HTML code (which I know very a little about) to adjust the formatting. It was a trial and error process, but was, however, extremely satisfying solving the issue.

I still feel that wikis can be used with group projects; however, mainly with projects that require multiple assignments since individuals cannot compose within the wiki simultaneously. I continue to think about how I could use this with my students, especially my ELLs. However, I would not assign students to use a wiki if I expected specific formatting on the assignment because of the limited formatting tools with in the wiki.

Reflection 3

My final experience with the wiki was copying and pasting our Literature Review. Again, there were formatting issues, and this drives me crazy. I wish that there were more options in the composing section. But this does remind me a lot of the information you find on other wikis, like Wikipedia: a living document on the internet for anyone to read. I like that you can add multimedia, much like blog. They are useful for presenting on a topic because wikis seem to be more static than blogs, however still allowing for edits and additions to be made if necessary.

I continue to reflect on how to use wikis with my students, and I believe that presenting research would be the most useful way for my students to use it. Again, I think that I would have students present different types of projects. For instance, a group of students researching an animal might have a page on the wiki dedicated to the animals habitat with text and pictures. Another page may be dedicated to the animal’s lifecycle, with text and a video. Finally, a third page could be dedicated to the animal’s anatomy.

One thing I’ve learned from my research, though, has changed the way I think I’m going to use wikis, and other technology for that matter. I think that students should have options for what technology they would like to use. Since I teach 2nd grade, their first exposure to certain tools may not allow options, because I want to know they can learn to use them. But after learning about a number of tools, I would give the students an option to present using wikis, blogs, or Prezis, for example.



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