2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Return of the Wiki

So. . . because I am a masochist, or because I am extremely stubborn (or both), I am revisiting my use of the the Big, Bad Blackboard Wiki in my Rhetoric and Composition class.  Why is this so frightening to me?  Click here for a glimpse at my epic fail with the wiki last year.

This year is different.  It is.  The students are different, the assignment is different, I am different (true story--I am different:  I broke my foot!).


[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"]Ur Misery Amuses Kitty  *Mwahahaha* This is an image of the Wiki-Gods laughing at my attempt at redemption. I'll bet you didn't know that the Wiki-Gods are evil cats.[/caption]


For this assignment, channeling the true spirit of Blended Learning, my students chose a collaborative project in which they will create a suicide prevention video, which they will submit to the Stomp out Suicide Project, sponsored by Alternative Paths.  What better way to collaborate than with a wiki?

Because the project is completely student-driven, and their idea came rather unexpectedly, I didn't give the extensive wiki-training prep that I gave last year.  Instead, I showed a short clip that demonstrated the purpose and function of a wiki, and then I demonstrated the basics of Blackboard Wiki.  I already know that I should have given the students more time to process the technical aspects, but they are picking it up a little more each time they work.

The wiki is currently very messy, but I've upped the ante by informing the students that I am going to present the information on their wiki at a Board of Education meeting on Monday night. There is nothing like a surprise deadline to instill panic  make students productive.  We shall see.

I have to remind myself that the basic concept of Blended Learning is one of student responsibility.  Students learn through mistakes, and learning is messy, just like the wiki.  As the teacher, I need to give them room to figure things out, with gentle nudges in the right direction from time to time.  Sort of like a shepherd dog.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"] This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm herding ducks. Or teaching wikis.[/caption]



Interested in Blended Learning?   Follow me on Twitter @itibrout !