Monday, August 10, 2009
During my experiences thus far in schools Wikipedia is definitely the main resource students utilise to research topics. It is one of the first web sites to appear when you google search however I had never navigated my way around the Wikipedia homepage. I selected science as my subject area and narrowed the search down to space and then onto planets of the solar system. Sub categories allowed my to them research individual planets, features and images. This is where I also became familiar with the Wiki Projects in the community portal page.
For a unit of work on space the students can create trading cards on a particular space topic. On the computer they create a template which includes a title, an image on the left side and key points on the right side. The trader cards are only as big as your hand and each student researches their topic through wikipedia to write their key points. The researched topics are aimed as grade 5 and they are not to be on the planets, it has to be on not so well know aspects of space such as meteors, the big bang theory, constellations, stars, milky way etc. Something new that the students have not previously covered in earlier years. They then print and laminate the cards and trade them with their peers to collaboratively learn about different features of space. The lesson could also be extended to include the children creating a new planet they have discovered and they create a trader card for their new planet. The criteria of this lesson relates to Oliver's (1999) learning design framework. The task of creating a trading card is supported by the wikipedia research work and the teacher's instructions and feedback. The students see this task as a direct/purposeful experience and according to Dales cone of learning this is the most effective method of active learning (Active Learning, 2000).
The Korean International School developed their own history text book. It was a creative and engaging way for student's to learn about a time in history. They wrote their own text, did their own research and chose their own images. The text book even included video. An important part in the text book was the student's own reflection. They were able to make sense of it for themselves. In addition the students also posted the text book on a blog and anyone from anywhere around the world could comment on each other's reflection. If I were to ask a student if they would of preferred to write an essay on world war 1 I am confident of the answer being no. Through using wikipedia to create a text book they have a more meaningful learning experience and deeper understanding is achieved. It is authentic and has an outside focus. Deeper understanding is demonstrated by their success in producing new knowledge by discovering relationships, solving problems, constructing explanations, and drawing conclusions (Queensland Government, 2004).