Sunday, February 24, 2013

Challenge #8 Collaborate and Communicate

This week I was challenged to create and participate in a Wiki. I choose to use my Wiki to discuss how a Wiki can be used in an elementary classroom. I am a lower elementary teacher so I asked the participants in my Wiki to discuss how to use a Wiki in the lower elementary grades. The link for my personal Wiki is below.

This particular challenge was tough for me.  I had a lot of technical difficulties using the Wikispace website. For starters, I had my Wiki set on private and thought I had turned it to public but didn’t. I finally realized my error. But my good friends in the class contributed to my Wiki and alerted me to my mistake.


Wikis I collaborated on:

Challenge Discussion:

What is the difference between cooperation and collaboration?

I think of the words cooperation and collaboration as synonyms. According to the Dictionary App on my phone, collaborate means to work with another and cooperation means to work together for a common goal or action. But after completing the Wiki challenge, I realized that they are actually very different.

In the context of the Wiki project, it seemed like the Wiki participants were only collaborating. We weren’t working together to complete one final and united project. We were simply adding our thoughts to a Wiki space. It didn’t matter if the information we were contributing matched or complimented another person’s entry. We were all just adding opinions or facts to the discussion on the Wiki.

Wiki Project vs. Traditional Group Work

The one big difference I noticed between the Wiki project and traditional group work was that there was no immediate feedback from my peers. There also didn’t seem to be much of a conversation about the topic we were discussing in our Wiki’s. It felt like we were all just posting facts and opinions and not really discussing topics. As a student, I find the conversation part of learning to be invaluable. Listening to other people’s thoughts on topics helps me to process new information. I found that the Wiki didn’t really allow for that aspect of the learning process to occur.

How can collaboration be taught?

Before collaboration can be taught, the teacher needs to teach students how to use the tools that are used for collaboration. Teachers cannot expect students to collaborate if they don’t know how to use Wikis, blogs, or social media. Once students have learned how to use collaboration tools, teachers can begin to create an online learning community within their own classroom. The online learning community, within their classroom, allows students to practice collaborating on projects with their peers. By starting at the classroom level, students are able to get feedback face to face from their peers about their ability to collaborate. When the teacher feels that the students have learned to collaborate at the classroom level, than they can begin to collaborate with others on a local or global level. 

Challenge #9 Assess

To assess the participants in my Wiki I used the Rubric that was included with our book. I found the Rubric in the PD tool kit. This challenge also required us to record our assessment discussion on the multimedia of our choice. I decided to record my discussion on You Tube. The link to my discussion is below.

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