Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Implementing a class Wiki

Over the past few years we have had a class blog to record our reflections on our lrearning and as a tool to build our learning community. Last academic year, we began also using a wiki to further support the learning community we were builing by providing a living central location where pupils add to, improve, share and extend ideas and learning with others in the class in a way that pupils own what is happening with their learning journey. This year, the class and I decided to extend how we used the wiki. In previous verions, the wiki was reserved for eportfolios but its ability to be used as a learning centre was not well applied. In other words, the wiki as a learning resource was underutilised. That meant that we could include areas where the students could more freely share and extend their learning independently. So, this year we added several pages such as a page to collect weblinks and other resources as pupils investigated; a hall of fame for pupils who are elected by the rest of the class as demonstrating Learner Profile characteristics; eportfolios; and a glossaries page where students can add and edit entries as needed; as well as other pages. Our wiki continues to grow as a learner's resource.

At the end of the year I plan to have the class assess how well we used it, how helpful it was and what we need to do for next year to improve it's usefulness. I am particularly interested in witnessing how the ideas of children, who are not interested in IT, change (if they do) and why.

Please visit our class Wiki and give us some hints on what we can do to improve!

Photo Credit: Horia Varlan

Edublogger Awards 2010 Nominations

It was announced just recently that the 2010 Edublogs Awards are on  their way! Nominations have already opened so, here is my list of educational blogs which I think deserve a "two-thumbs up."

Best individual blog: "Always Learning" by Kim Corfino
Best individual tweeter: "Web20Classroom" by Steven Anderson
Best class blog: "" by Mr. Goerend & his class
Best resource sharing blog: "Technology for Teachers" by Richard Byrne
Best teacher blog: "Technology for Teachers" by Richard Byrne
Best elearning / corporate education blog: "Learn Central" by Steve Hargadon
Best educational use of a social networking: "Learn Central" by Steve Hargadon
Lifetime achievement: "Learn Central" by Steve Hargadon

Have a look at these websites as well:
Year6L Wiki:

Good luck to all the nominees!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Looking to Skype with authors

Our English Coordinator is desperately trying to find some authors who would be willing to take part in a Skype conference with KS2 pupils in January during our Book week celebrations. The conference only needs to be sometime in January.

If you are an author of children's books, or you have contacts in the children's book publishing industry and know someone who can help us, please contact me through the comments.

Many thanks,

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Global Education Conference

The IB Libraries

At the end of the last academic year I decided to create a shared resource called the IB Libraries for my primary school.

The resource is a central resource bank which is housed at Wikispaces. It is organised to hold the planning documents for each Inquiry Unit in each term and the resources which will be used for that term's units.

In the planning section of each page, I created a table with the headings "Central Idea" etc. and linked those details to a file sharing service. In this case I used but there are many other services which could also do the job. I chose this method, because the file can, if you have a box account, be edited. Even if you don't have an account, a copy of the plan can be downloaded regardless of where you access the site from.

The rest of the page is used to organise the resources the teaching team thinks will be appropriate for that unit. In my case I organised our page into audio, video, Powerpoint, etc.

There are several benefits to using this method. First, I felt it would be more collaborative and help to create a sharing environment among the team. It also helped to identify expertise in certain areas of a unit.

Second, Wikis are very easy to work with especially the ones at Wikispaces. The editor is very simple but powerful and teachers generally have no trouble learning how to do some basic page editing and how to upload/download resources in a relatively short space of time.

Thirdly, the libraries helped to identify areas where we were resource rich and resource poor. This then helped the team, rather than individual teachers set about filling the resource need together. Furthermore, it helps to keep resources organised so that we did not have to deal with large numbers of attachments, writing down website addresses and duplication of work.

Fourthly, the libraries are a living document which change as the needs of the unit and the team teaching it changes. teachers can add to, or remove materials as and when necessary.

Fifthly, the libraries are accessible to teachers anytime anywhere there is an internet connection. So, anytime they want or need to see the resources or the planning documents, they can, without having to somehow gain access to the school network.

Finally, the fact the resources were all housed by third parties means that the drain on our already overburdened IT Department would be negligible. We need a stable and relatively fast connection to the internet, but we don't need storage space on the school system, nor do we need the IT personnel to correct issues related to the libraries on our system.

If you are thinking of setting up a similar libraries resource wiki, I would like to hear about it. What issues are you trying to overcome? Are there benefits in your circumstances which I haven't mentioned? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, 5 November 2010

How do we assess creativity? The views of Sir Ken

Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky