The World Wide World of Wikis

I realized using wikis as group study guides or discussion groups could really enhance student knowledge, learning, and overall discussion about a class topic. I think students will be forced to be better writers because the audience is no longer just the teacher. I also think that students communicate difference on the computer than they do verbally within a classroom. Students that may be apprehensive to issues or concerns in class could easily ask, discuss, or simple comment on a wiki. I also think students will appreciate and be more compassionate of each others’ strengths and weaknesses. Students will have ownership over their learning and be more willing to share what they know about a topic with others when they collaborate on a wiki. I also think students will strife to find credible information so they “show-up” or debate with their peers if necessary. They will also be held accountable not only by the teacher but their group or class will need them to be responsible knowledge learners so everyone can grow from the experience. I am excited to see how my students view wikis as a classroom tool.


Social Bookmarking Lesson Plan First experience


Adapred from Sue R., aka “Bookwyrmish” from

Level: Middle School

Students will select and use bookmarking tools and credible technology resources responsibly to research a topic

Essential Question: How I use bookmarking as a way to research and find credible information on a topic?

Materials: Internet access, a browser with “” plugin installed, a group account and group password, a research question.

Build prior knowledge: Ask students if they have their own computers at home, if they are allowed to save things on computers they use so they can work on them later. Ask if they or their parents ever have to move their things to another computer, ask if they have ever bookmarked or “saved to favorites.” Have students share what they know.
• Ask students if they have favorite places they go on the internet. Invite them to recommend to the group, and make recommendations too. After having the discussion about good sites to go to, make the point that you’re glad to have learned about new places to try out–aren’t they? Use the terms “social” and “share.”
• Ask students how it would be if they could get even MORE people their age to recommend cool sites–AND if they could put their own “bookmarks” or “favorites” on their computers, and have others bookmark places for them. On any computers they use. And keep them up to date… (for student groups where some of them know about social bookmarking already, ask those students to share if this is how they would describe social bookmarking).

• Begin with a reminder about safety issues and putting your best persona on the web.
• Demonstrate with a projector if possible how to bookmark a few sites. Tagging some funny “hoax” sites may increase the students likelihood of returning to this site. Show students that they can display tags as clouds or as lists on the sidebar listing. Click on a “tag” to show how the listing changes to display all bookmarks with that tag only. Have students note which is the most popular bookmark, etc.
•Students will be assigned a bookmarking “I wonder” research project. They will bookmark 3 useful sites in
• Wrap-up: have students navigate to their account page and review the list of bookmarks, pointing out yet again that they can view this list on any computer with internet access. Have students click through to one or two links, and back to this page.

Students will use these bookmarks to create their “I wonder” project and presentation.

Rubrics will be use for grading online work, research development, final project, and presentation.

Handout: A page with the web address of the group delicious account, and brief instructions, for those who want to use it at home.

How do I see using RSS feeds in my life and classroom?

I must admit these RSS seem very overwhelming to me. I guess it may because I have several interests that I would subscribe to, I love to learn new ideas, and I have never been very good keeping track of current events. I like the opportunity to have one location to view all these materials and viewing it everyday could be a possibility, but the time factor as a teacher is limited for and is changing how we can become informed educators in the Information Age. I also become frustrated trying to keep with the latest and greatest ideas when my districts is so limiting by what we have access to. Sadly, we are not producing responsible cyber citizens at the middle school level.

RSS seem like incredible opportunities to use the classroom. Students could search for topics and become critical, analytical readers who must discern creditable information. Student could increase their knowledge of the world and global events by subscribing to several RSS. Instead of reading the paper with a cup of coffee in the morning, they could grab a latte and use theie Google Reader account to prorogue different events and commentary from various news sites and blogs.

Currently, I am a stand still using this type of technology in my district because the teacher and students alike are not permitted into any commentary websites, including blogs, and are not permitted to use their email at the middle school level at this time. I just found out how to get access to blogging on my school website so I guess that is a start, but my district seems very cautious about how to proceed with technology.


Impressive Blog Project

Ok, I hesitated at first choosing this blog because I was so overwhelmed as well as impressed with the project.

I am up for a challenge so here it goes!

In this blog project students blog with other students around the world. They are only in 5th grade!

What I love is that one of their goals is to produce a weekly podcast teaching other students about reading strategies in hopes to create discussion about reading strategies and have conversation about how they are learning their content.

What a brilliant idea!

Ok, this is a reading specialist talking here, but really what better way to let other students learn then from other students with teachers as the faciliators.

I could definitely seeing this project enhancing my classroom activities. I am currently working on creating an online course where middle school students create vodcasts for elementary students in the district about reading strategies with reading fiction and nonfiction. This project will be a great addition! I love the idea of communicating with students in different countries as well. We are all a community of learners!

Read/Write Web implementation

How do I see Read/Write Web affecting my classroom instruction?

I believe gaining  a better insight in using social networking with at-risk readers and students with IEPs especially with the use of video conferencing and using Edmodo will be helpful to empower my students.

I hope I can gain enough knowledgeable to experiment with these ideas in my lessons. As for my students, my goal is that they can still find these learning experiences rewarding and meaningful while still embarking on this “fun” learning frontier.

I envision my ideal teaching practice using these technologies so far including: use of Prezi and/or Powerpoint in individual and large group instruction, use of the Kindle app to expand on students’ understanding and enjoyment of reading, use of gaming to spark interest and excitement when reading, use of novels with videos to enhance reading experience, teaching the students to create from these apps/software in meaningful ways, giving students the freedom to respond to their peers’ work, and showing students how to have meaningful online discussion (wikis, blogs) with their peers and myself in a responsible and mature manner.

I want to expand my horizons with social networking in the classroom. I struggle with the digital divide in my classes, so one solution I have considered is a situation where my students sit next to each other often replying to that peer’s work or another class period’s comments/discussion. I struggle wondering if that is time well spend. I like to believe I will experiment and am willing to try new things in my classroom if I know enough to be dangerous. So, taking this class will hopefully help me to more willingly experiment with these online learning environments.