Blogs & Wiki’s at the Elementary School Level


Update 8/03/07: It’s been almost a year since this post. I’ve just written a review of two different Wiki’s that you can use in education. Read it here Which Wiki to Use after you finish reading this post.

Posted: September ’06

A teacher asked me the other day about starting a blog within her grade level. She also mentioned Wiki’s, but from her email I could tell that she did not understand what each one was. She had a blog confused as a Wiki, but her intent is what is important.

With all the testing, new mandated reading blocks, use of the computer labs for one complete hour and the practice testing during some of that lab time, I don’t see how the teachers can do anything that’s cutting edge Web 2.0. But here we have a grade level of teachers that wants to use these technologies to help their students learn. I totally agree that these strategies can fit into a curriculum that strives to have our children pass a standardized test. What we need to do is to show the people at the decision making level that it works within the framework they have set up.

How do we do that you ask? Well, it takes hours of effort after classes end and seeding of a blog or Wiki. I started this blog as an example of what you can do with a blog, and I’ve recently created a Wiki to show how easy it is to do. I also write another blog off the education topic called Anything Goes Discussion that I’ve been writing in frequently to see what people like to read and how different styles bring greater responses. It has been going quite well, (I have moved on to do this blog regularly so I have deleted my first blog) so much so that I am going to start blogging here on a much more regular basis to increase it’s exposure. I’m also going to seek out other educational blogging folks to learn from in the education field and maybe this seed will grow a big tree in our school district.

As I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve gotten many ideas, so many in fact that I’ve had to stop and write down so that I can go back and brainstorm on them. One of the ideas I’ve gotten is from Will Richardson’s excellent blog and the particular recent entry about Elementary School Publishing and Kids Teaching. I hope to push this idea with the principal and see if we can get the 4th grade team to take up the mantle and run with it for the school.

That’s what I think….How about you?

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7 thoughts on “Blogs & Wiki’s at the Elementary School Level

  1. I think it is a great idea. Do these schools have internet connectivity? I think a good starting point would be see what subset of the wiki students need? How to provide a simple interface and make it fun.

    Here are a couple of thoughts:

    1. Make a simple notepad like program a wiki client. This way, there is no difference between writing a document and using a wiki.

    2. Build a simple UI layer on top of an existing wiki or pick a wiki that is completely wysiwyg.

    I think before the students can use wiki, it is better to train the teachers in using a wiki. Some of us were brainstorming about such an idea.

  2. I too think that starting a blog in the classroom is a great idea. I didn’t start using a blog or making blog entries until I entered college, and I felt that I was behind many of my other classmates. My school didn’t have the technology experience or the staff to offer such in depth courses. I feel that any time students can push forward and become more advanced in this ever changing world, they should take advantage if it. I think that someday in the near future classrooms won’t have books or be structured the way they are now, so children need to start learning computer and internet skills at a younger age.

  3. If you are looking for info on blogs and wikis in the classroom, you might recommend TeachersFirst’s Blogging Basics. and Wiki Walk-Through.
    TeachersFirst is a site offered for free by a not-for-profit to promote effective use of technology by teachers. TeachersFirst content is created by REAL teachers who know the practical realities of the classroom. These two modules (on blogs and wikis) are comprehensive and include everything from examples to details of handling parental and administrative concerns regarding safety. There are even downloadable student agreements you can share with both students and parents. We are TeachersFirst and always. Enjoy!

  4. I’m still not clear on the difference between Blogs and wikis. I do however adore the concept of open two-way (multi-directional?) communication between parents, teachers, and students. Should a blog/wiki be run in addition to or instead of a traditional class web site? My issue with blogs is that it is sometimes difficult to locate the message or topic one wish to find amid all the postings.

  5. You may want to check with your district to make sure your blog does not get blocked. Also, I would suggest attending either the ISTE conference or your state tech conference for more current presentations. Good Luck!

  6. Hi Craig,

    1. It’s not being blocked and is linked on one of it’s pages.

    2. I didn’t get to go to FETC in January because of budget issues, but this article is also from September 2006, almost a year old.

    When school starts in August I plan on doing a multi-part blog on a blog & wiki project that I’m doing with our Science Lab Teacher.

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