Wiki Anyone?

I just started a wiki for my class and I’m excited about it. There were a couple of reasons I decided to create a wiki:

  • I love doing book talks, and I love that my students are reading. I think my students should have a forum to list/discuss/berate the books they’ve read, too.
  • Students can look at the readings of their peers. So instead of a student coming to me and saying “Hey, Miss, what is Y reading?” (I got this question on Friday), the student instead goes to the wiki, clicks on the class period for the friend, and checks him/herself.
  • Students can also see the thoughts of their peers. Each student, when finished with a reading, gets to rate the book with stars (the same scale used on Goodreads).
  • A better way to keep track of what any given student is reading at any given time. I’ve tried making spreadsheets and keeping a written list of what each student is reading for the sake of continuity. Of finishing what you start or having a good reason to abandon.
  • Create a community of readers. On Friday, they realized that the wiki is theirs. It’s their space to reflect on their reading, and share it with others who are also inflicted with the curse that is my class. But they see that they’re all in it together and that they’re all reading. It may be different books and at different levels, but they’re all reading and they’re all sharing with each other.
  • I realized that it’s really hard to house everything in one website. I love Edmodo, don’t get me wrong, but for this kind of tracking, Edmodo won’t do it. By the same token, there are aspects of Edmodo that cannot be replicated in the wiki. So I’m resigned to have two websites and link them together. Next year, I think I’ll make sure the usernames and passwords are the same for both.
  • There is a teacher in Indiana that I’d like to collaborate with (we’re teaching the same grade now and she says it’s a must). Her technology situation is a little sketchy, so I wanted to come up with something that could be managed on whatever computer time they have.
So a whole host of reasons. What’s great is that I introduced this on Friday, after their Edmodo assignment, and many of my students were concerned that they didn’t complete their entries before shutdown time. I chuckled and assured them that we’d come back to this, and that we’d be updating the pages until the end of the semester. Then they’ll be able to look back at what they’ve done and say, “Man, I accomplished something this semester.”
The frontpage of my students’ wiki!

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