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Defending the wiki

September 29, 2009

A new day, a new defense – all in the name of serving our most neglected students (my opinion).  The facility/district wiki which has been available to all by invitation-only since mid-April 2009 has come under suspicious scrutiny.  Many in the district believe there may be some sinister issue lurking within the wiki proposal that would compromise student security or privacy.  Rest assured, this is not the case.  PBWorks, as opposed to WikiSpaces or some other wiki application, as it is used in this instance is not available in the public domain.  It’s users are screened for professional interests and educational pursuits – all at the discretion of the administrator (me).  The students’ usernames and passwords (for accessing the wiki) are randomly generated and immediately deleted upon their release from this facility.  On Monday, the 5th, the future of this 21rst Century teaching tool will be decided (as it applies to this facility usage) – keep me in your prayers so that I may present a fair and balanced case, and the kids can continue to learn all they need to know to be successful in today’s Web 2.0 world.

Decision made – create within the wiki content-relative pages that a student will access to complete 1st semester Chemistry scope and sequence curriculum.  Once this effort is completed, present to the ‘powers-that-be’ a concise, well-researched essay that explains how the wiki will be used in the classroom to further educational pursuits.

This effort is a bit more complicated and involved than originally believed to be; thus, it may be a while before the case for the wiki can be presented.  I have a lot of ideas, and very little spare time to update, upload, and create my masterpiece!  A concern of major importance to myself regarding the wiki is this:  let’s say I put all of this work into creating a curriculum-rich wiki, present it to the district for approval, get it approved but unfunded for future years: is all of my work going to be for naught?

Given the foregoing, I have decided to relinquish my wiki-efforts as far as student access is concerned.  Going forward, students will not be offered opportunity to interact with the wiki apart from whole classroom participation via the SmartBoard or via teacher-led direct instruction utilizing one of the classroom computers. 

Many of my SOL-based individualized instruction assignment sheets have embedded URL’s and other hyperlinks to both web-based and network-based resources to aid a students’ learning.  These assignment sheets are being uploaded to the wiki, and will be accessed as need be.

In all, I think that this exercise has been very successful – we have kept the children safe and we have, tentatively, introduced a Web 2.0 resource into the common classroom.

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