My favorite thing about wikis is the name. Wiki, wiki, wiki. I could say it all day. In fact, my goal is to not use one pronoun in this post in the hopes that I can incorporate the word “wiki” at least 20 times. 5 wikis down, 15 to go.
In its basic form a wiki is a site for peer-editing and collaboration. Since a wiki is designed to be edited and revised by multiple people, a wiki is a great way to encourage students to contribute to extending an example.
There are several wiki applications available for teacher use. PB Works, Wikispaces, and Voice Thread are all great tools for creating wikis and are pretty user-friendly. However, I would recommend edmodo or schoology (two programs we love at wheretheclassroomends.com). Since edmodo and schoology are like Facebook for students, I will ask students to post their example or claim sentence like a “status update” in Facebook. If using one of the above mentioned wiki applications create a wiki page for the essay prompt and then teach your students how to add pages for their topic.
Then, for their homework, they are responsible for replying to 6 separate people. I assign them to complete a 3, 2, 1:
- Ask a specific question to 3 people to make the re-evaluate their example or topic.
- Provide answers to 2 questions asked to peers about their topic/example. This requires them to read their peer’s example/topic and the questions that have been asked about that example/topic. Their answer needs to be unique and original and not copy what someone else has already written.
- Make 1 connection between a peer’s example/topic and the real world.
Throughout this process they shouldn’t even be looking at their own example/topic. The reason why I stress this is because I want them getting practice evaluating numerous examples, not just their one. The more they see the process of how to evaluate a topic the more they will be able to retain the skills. Also, it causes them to see multiple answers to the prompt, which will help to strengthen their answer because they are either seeing ideas that support their interpretation or they are seeing the counter argument, which causes them to re-evaluate their position and make it more finite.
Okay…so I didn’t use wiki 20 times. But that is probably better for everyone else involved! I will find a way to sneak the word into future posts!
Photo from orangeacid.