Inspiration for Leaders

Enjoy this news and reflection blog brought to you from the LHRIC Technology Leadership Institute!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Effective Use of a Wiki in a Classroom

Hedi Lappi 2:40 – 3:40

Heidi has some very practical uses of wikis in her classroom. I’m assuming everyone reading this blog understands the functionality of the wiki so I will jump to the important points.

Heidi teaches 9th grade Living Science and an Honors Marine Biology course for seniors. She purposes her wiki for the level she is teaching to.

I was impressed with Heidi's knowledge of learning styles. She has every student take a learning style quiz at the beginning of the year and the students reference their learning styles throughout the year (wow - sounds so simple, why didn't I think of that?).

How does she use the wiki in 9th Grade Regents Course?
Students have to create review questions and answer the questions on the wiki.. Students then use this as a learning tool and some use it as a review when studying for a test.

Throughout the year Heidi also has students, in groups, post science information/resources related to their learning styles. Students must add a digital resource; a description and what learning style this resource will meet. Heidi then uses the resources throughout her lessons that year and she tags them and adds them to delicious. As a teacher she now has 20+ students times 3 periods combing the Internet to find the best resources on a variety of topics in Science. She has the learners mining the Internet while simultaneously building her own database of resources to use in subsequent years. I couldn’t’ think of a better use of instruction.

This is Heidi’s second year using the wiki in her classroom. Last year she started it mid-year. This school year she implemented the wiki in September. She announced that she saw a 10% increase in her mid-term exams from last year. She believes it is because of the 100% participation she receives through the wiki.

12th Grade Science – Honors
Students select an environment to study. They are responsible for both individual and cooperative grades. She has a 5-page rubric (see resource links below) that she has created to structure the project so effective learning happens.

As students work on experiments she embeds data sheets into her wiki from Google spreadsheets so students can see the results of their data collected. Students get to see in real time the results of their experiments – sometimes without even being in the classroom.

She uses the historic data in wikis to see who is working when and to measure how much each team member has contributed to the project . She then uses the wiki history against their individual grade.

We should have given Heidi a 90-minute session; she had so much information to share. I felt while watching her that time was not on her side – probably why she embraces technology – she has so much to cover and assess that learning has to happen outside her classroom.

I measure a good teacher by a very simple filter – would I want this teacher to teach my own kids? The answer is an affirmative YES! She knows her content, she understands this generation and she embodies constructive learning. I think many of her students must walk out of her classroom and want to be biologists, researchers or scientists but most importantly they are excited about learning. Who knows, she may have taught the next “Google” creator or the next teacher but most importantly she has taught them to think, cooperate, share and manage their own time online. Kudos to Heidi!

So go visit her site SOON! She will only have the guest account access for a short period of time. And while you are there let us know what you found valuable and share with us how you are using wikis in your school. Remember the best teachers are thieves and in this era of social networking - thieves share their secrets!


Wiki Site:
ID: guest09
PW wiki2009 - google docs & spreadsheets
Flipcam – uses to record short video of student work and reflections.

1 comment:

Madalyn said...

Thanks for a concise overview. I especially appreciate the links.