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Laura’s Proposal #2 – A Wiki For Educators

The Problem

Whether you’re a new teacher or a seasoned faculty member, the way we teach lessons is an evolving process. Trying to determine how we should best teach lessons to students of different levels of learning should be a collaborative process. Teachers that have had success with certain lessons can impart useful tips to new teachers or to teachers that have previously encounters problems conveying certain concepts or controversial material. I would like to build a Wiki for educators to collaborate on lesson plans and teaching techniques that have proven successful in classrooms across the country.

 

Personas

The New Teacher: Perhaps he does not know how to structure his lesson plan, or is having trouble coming up with examples to aide in comprehension. He would like to appeal to senior faculty members, but finds that he is not receiving a good variety of approaches. He would like to see what is available on the Internet, but finds that resources are scarce or unreliable.

The Seasoned Faculty Member: She has been teaching for over twenty years and has figured out several successful methods to teaching difficult content to her students in a simple, easily accessible way. She would like to share this information so that newer teachers may learn from her, but she can’t find the appropriate outlet. For lessons that she’s always had trouble with, she would like to collaborate with others to determine how she can help herself and others to move past the difficulty in conveying the material to students.

The Engaged Student: He enjoyed the lessons prepared by his teacher and has developed a sincere interest in a particular subject. Since the class is moving on to new material, he feels as though he cannot pursue any further discussion in class. He wants to find out more information about the particular topic, and would like to engage with another teacher (expert) to gain new perspectives and more information. He wishes there was a reliable site he could visit that would enable him to participate in discussion with other teachers, while also learning more about a particular subject from different perspectives.

 

Use Case Scenarios

The New Teacher: When he is referred to the Wiki, he can peruse different lesson plans and methods for conveying material to students. He can post questions to the forum and receive multiple responses. The material on the Wiki is reliable, and has been tested by teachers with a variety of backgrounds and a variety of teaching experience. He feels as though he can find several solutions for his lesson plan problems, and can reference examples from other educators.

The Seasoned Faculty Member: When she visits the Wiki, she sees that many other educators have already shared successful methods for conveying the material to students. She feels that she can add to each of these methods, and also contributes her own lesson plans to the discussion for feedback from others.  She can search through discussions, techniques and lesson plans for any material that she has consistently had difficulty teaching.

The Engaged Student: When he visits the Wiki, he is pleased to see how other teachers have interpreted the material, and what points they emphasize in their lesson plans. He can post questions to the forum, and peruse the material provided by a variety of faculty members. As a student, he can remark upon what learning has been like, and what methods his own teacher has used that he, as a student, has found to be best.

 

Full Version

Since this is an open project, I would have to build a Wikipage with WikiSpaces. Perhaps it can eventually be integrated with Wikiversity, though I would initially like it to be its own separate page for educators.

 

Full Timeline

I think this could probably be built and implemented in a couple of months. I would have to learn how to build a complete Wiki, but I think I could learn how to do it in a two-month time frame.

 

Reduced Version

I think the full version is about as reduced as I could get.

 

Reduced Timeline

Probably the same amount as the full version.

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5 Responses

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  1. ria says

    Hey Laura, and all–One question that struck me is the “overwriting” feature that wikis work on. For your project, Laura, it seems that overwriting a lesson plan that someone has put up is not necessary, right? As in, it might be nice for people to see versions of lesson plans (the original, tweaked version 1, t.w.2, etc…) rather than a single most current version. I’m also assuming many of your potential users won’t want to bother with learning how to see versions and deal with the back end of wikispaces much, right? They just want lesson plan ideas! So instead of a wiki model, why not use a blog model? In class Michael asked us not to think of WP as the answer to everything, but if you had (moderated) blog posts about lessons followed by (moderated) comments about tweaks or successes, that might still serve the same purpose, maybe? I was thinking of lesson plans kind of like recipes in this sense, where every allrecipes.com article has a lot of comments about what worked and what didn’t, thus giving people the choice to either follow the given recipe exactly, or else add/moderate according to someone else’s suggestions…

  2. Christina says

    Laura, one thing that this makes me think about is who are the people using your site besides being teachers — how will they hear about it? Besides just finding it on a search engine, how will people learn of and become users of your site?

  3. Amy says

    Great idea Laura! One question I have is (and I’m not familiar with Wikiversity so perhaps this is already addressed within the platform) but what will the process of creating curricula look like, if educators are coming in with different “standards” of achievement and notions of what’s deemed “successful” techniques? How do we rate lesson plans? Perhaps this is where the commenting and forum comes in, but just a thought I had.

  4. mandiberg says

    A couple of questions that may help clarify what and why you are doing this:

    1. How is this similar/different from Tope’s proposal? I see some differences, but maybe you see others: It is aimed at College level teaching, right? Also, you are creating a way for students to learn directly from the resource right?

    2. How is this similar or different from something like MIT Courseware? http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

    3. You mention Wikiversity… why not do it on there? Note: I’m not advocating you do or do not do it on Wikiversity, I’m asking why you think you should or should not do it there…

    4. You mention WikiSpaces and WikiPages. What are the pros/cons of using a service provider such as WikiSpaces versus installing a wiki on your own server with one of the wiki softwares such as MediaWiki or DocuWiki?

  5. Sonia K. González says

    Hi Laura, I like your idea. One thing I would encourage you to think about is how you might handle the range in technology capabilities you might encounter. Would it be feasible to incorporate a tutorial type of format that would allow a less tech savvy user who is interested in learning this format be comfortable with learning the software (could be as low tech as pointing them in the direction of tutorials you like or as high-tech as the CSS tutorial that allows you to practice different steps as you go). Please note that I do not actually know how to execute the technological things that I am suggesting – they are just that, suggestions. Good luck!



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