Blogs & Wikis in the Classroom

Image: http://cockroachesladybugs.blogspot.com/
Image: http://cockroachesladybugs.blogspot.com/
A blog is a communication and collaboration tool that provides a way for teacher and student to set and communicate goals and objectives (Pitler, p.35). They can also be used to differentiate student learning (Pitler, p.37). Blogs are inexpensive and easy to maintain and manage without the need for web development skills (Pitler, p.51). In the textbook What school leaders need to know about digital technologies and social media it states, “one of the great educational benefits of the read/write web, and blogging particulary, is the opportunity for the student to become a teacher by presenting material to an audience. When we teach, we learn.” (McLeod, p.5)
Blogs can be used in the classroom (McLeod, p. 9-10):
• as an interactive showcase of the students’ work
• bring transparency to one’s teaching practice
• a way to share technology in the classroom (or any subject matter) that can enhance teaching, learning, and examine the real purpose of schools
• as a way to post homework assignments, key events, and discussion questions
• by allowing other teachers and administrators to visit the classroom to learn from as well as participate in the lessons, providing a number of transparent learning experiences
• teachers can post in depth homework instructions, videos on lessons and more helping student and parent away from the classroom for homework and extended learning
Wikis are similar to blogs however they are more versatile, providing a way for groups to collaborate by contributing and easily accessing information on a given topic. A wiki allows all users to easily add and edit content so it is well suited for collaborative writing and project based learning. The constant feedback mechanism of a wiki is what makes it a uniquely powerful learning tool. Being web-based, contributors do not need to be in the same geographical area, nor do they need to be working on it at the same time. Both blogs and wikis provide timely, interactive, and criterion based dieback to students (Pitler, p.51).

Wikis can be use in the classroom (McLeod, p.17):
• summarizing lessons learned
• archival record of course notes between students
• test notes
• embedding of video games for studying course content
• sharing videos to explain topics
• students assigned a topic, research and edit
• students work together to learn and share with classmates and receive feedback
• collection of content from coursework over a period of time
• blog or wiki hall of fame – nomination of others for recognition
• teacher website, embedding calendars for classroom organization
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McLeod, S., & Lehmann, C. (2012). Chapter 1: Blogs. In What school leaders need to know about digital technologies and social media (pp. 5, 9-10, 17). San Francisco, CA:Jossey-Bass.
Pitler, H. (2012). Chapter 1: Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback. In using technology with classroom instruction that works (2nd ed., pp. 17-18, 35-38, 51).  Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

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