Saturday, March 24, 2007
Slow, quick, quick, slow: wikis
Wikiwiki’ is Hawaiian for ‘quick’. ‘Quick’ is not a word I associate with computers.
Nevertheless, recently I started a wiki with my S2 class. They are supposed to be doing a unit on functional writing. A standard sort of task might be to write an information leaflet on a local attraction. Instead we are using the wiki to write about Internet Safety. So far, we are moving quite slowly. I have had moments when I have wondered whether this might not be a mistake. Poor sentence construction and bad spelling look even worse online.
Yesterday I had my Eureka moment. I was thinking, rather dolefully, about the amount of editing we do, for what seems like a little return. The pupils whilst enthusiastic in class, go off task quite quickly.
The wiki lets me know when someone is editing a page, and what they changed. Better still, the pupils themselves can see the editing that is going on.
A new editor- I'm adding them one at a time - had put up her page and I showed it to the class on the whiteboard. I then showed them the history of her editing. The page displays the old words highlighted in red, the new in green. The class looked at it carefully and ploughed their way through her edits. Finally I put up her edited page, which looked great.
A wave of spontaneous applause swept across the class.
Hard work doesn't always get rewarded like that.