Bruce Holloway

I am new to Wiki. I teach high school science (primarily Physical Sciences) at Brattleboro Union High School in Vermont (U.S.), and am currently enrolled in the Internet Teaching Certificate program at the Marlboro College Graduate Center . My other classmates are Greg Haas, Pam Harland, and Pam Carr.

I am exploring new (to me) on-line environments. This is fascinating stuff, although a bit overwhelming in its scope. Truly a "mass mind" thing!

It can be difficult to know where to begin exploring, but I found the Visual Tour feature to be a nice jumping off point. One can also find many pages to learn about Wiki Wiki by looking at Starting Points.

Uses of Wiki in Education

I've been thinking about possible uses for Wiki over the last few days, and I found myself getting more excited about the possibilities.

Here are some ideas that I've had (I'm sure they're not all original):

A collaborative story... Perhaps the teacher would get things going by posting a suggested plot outline, then let a group of authors go to it... feeding off of each others' ideas, rewriting and reworking, until there is consensus that it is finished (or the assignment is due).

Brainstorming.... This is a common classroom tool in many subjects. A wiki page with the question or problem would be a great venue for people to add ideas, elaborate on others, etc.

Create an Exam Study Guide.... students could post summary ideas and information from the relevant lessons. Midway through my science courses, I have the students create a visual "roadmap" of the course - the important underlying concepts and how they are all related, along with ideas of where the class will be "going" through the second half of the semester. It helps give students a "large view" of the course beyond the day-to-day assignments which usually dominate their consciousness. This activity would be well-suited for Wiki.

Consensus-building... post a complex problem or social issue, and have the students create a "class statement" in response. This might be difficult, especially if the subject were controversial, but it would be interesting to see if a group of people could develop a compromise statement that they all could buy into. Maybe this would evolve throughout an entire course as the students get more information to inform their opinions.

Other ideas? We could start a Wiki page on this topic... unless that's already been done!

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