Building bridges for the future through collaborative projects
With help from Vicki Davis, I just posted this through the wiki messaging system (look at the mail icon in the top right corner and you'll see mail from me.) But in case you haven't seen it - here is the main part of the message. Thanks to Vicki for blogging about this before.
Right now you should be editing the subtopic of your topic. In other words, if you are in group 8C, you should be conducting research about how Social Networking and PLE's have impacted or affected education. Add hyperlinks and EDIT WHAT IS THERE -- each student doesn't write a piece and add it - it is time to get COLLABORATIVE and edit each other's work. Help each other - talk about things on the discussion tab.
Each person should add their name at the bottom of the wiki they are editing in their proper section with a link back to your Ning profile. You do not need to edit your name on to the wiki page every time you edit information in the wiki. We can see who is doing what through the page's history. This is not about individual work, but instead the COLLABORATIVE power of the group. Also, you should be checking the discussion tab on the wiki to reply to anyone who posts and help people as they discuss. A few words of wisdom shared by fellow Flat Classroom Certified Teacher, Toni Olivieri-Barton
Here are the things we do in our classroom.
First 5 minutes of class
1) Read Wiki Discussions and Reply
2) Read Ning wall comments, etc. and reply
Next 30 minutes of class
3) Edit the wiki, research the topic online, ask the teacher for advice and coaching, ask questions of other teammembers.
Write --> Read --> Ask myself what questions are still there --> Answer those questions with Research --> Write (repeat process)
Last 5 minutes of class
4) Leave a status update for the team members by going on the discussion tab (so everyone is included) and replying to the updates discussion - let everyone know what I did and my ideas for what I think should happen next.
Why do we do it this way? Why can't we have a textbook?
This is about Web 2.0 leadership -- online leaders don't wait for others they jump in and do things. They don't say "I don't know because I don't have a textbook" they research and learn and write the textbook themselves.
This project is designed to encourage something called higher order thinking and this is tough because often people (like me) who memorize well and do well in school have a VERY HARD time with it. But this is something YOU CAN DO.
You can edit, you can learn, you can research. Look at your topic. For example, World Wide Web - you probably already know something about it - can you write two sentence you know.
As you edit the wikis watch for a few things:
1) Dead Text -- long paragraphs with no hyperlinks. Add hyperlinks for important topics the FIRST time the text appears or if it has been a long time since you linked and the understanding of that item is essential to what you're writing.
2) First Person - We save first person writing for our blog posts - this should be written like Wikipedia in third person.
3) Repetition -- When everyone writes their own thing you end up with a mess that NO ONE WANTS TO READ. You've GOT to edit and make it concise and readable - if you think it is boring IT IS and no one is going to read it. You are writing this book and it should be interesting because YOU are interesting and this whole cool web thing is interesting too! What makes YOU stay on/want to read a web page?
4) Copying and pasting from Word or another Processor - I cannot stress this enough - if you post from MS word or another document processor your fonts will mess up the page and frustrate the others. If you HAVE to, paste it into something like notepad and copy as plain text or just use Google docs http://docs.google.com which has wiki friendly fonts, etc. I know that some have been instructed to do this and we will work through it (you have to go into the wiki text and strip out the fonts which is tedious) but from this point forward WATCH OUT with this.
We are here to help! Next week you'll see expert advisors joining you and asking questions and helping you - but in the meantime we teachers are your COACHES and are here to help you. We will not do it for you (just as a coach cannot play in the game - only his/her players can) but we will teach you how and help you develop the skills it takes to achieve in this new collaborative world.
I'm always impressed with the world class students that emerge from this project and just thrilled to be a teacher of all of you. All of us teachers feel like all of you belong to us by the time we're done and YOU ROCK! You are amazing, beautiful, talented students and it is our honor to be your teacher.
Let's learn together. Teach us!