Saturday, October 1, 2011

Using Wikis in the Media Center

My intention is to become a school media specialist. Something that I think about is which web 2.0 tool would best impact how kids learn today. I chose to take a look at wikis in the media center because of their interactive and sharing nature.

By using wikis in schools with pre-teens and teens, teachers are able to capitalize on their students’ enthusiasm for online sharing and need for self-expression. Beverly Koopman, a fifth grade teacher in Minnesota states, “The challenge for educators is to foster an atmosphere that respects the questions that children ask and that teaches them to use questions to analyze their own thinking. To be truly engaged, students’ minds must not be silent and they must be given opportunities for sharing. Online communication tools [wikis] represent one solution” (Koopman, 2010, p.24). 

One of Koopman’s students explained the advantages of a wiki over face-to-face communication by saying: “The best questions come from other questions. One question leads to another question. But when you are in a group, it’s hard to come up with a new question when everyone is staring at you.  When you’re on the wiki, you can think. It leads to more questions and deeper questions” (Koopman, 2010, p. 24).

Possibilities for wikis are limited only by individual choices. It's in the hands of
the library media specialist -- a wiki can be used to involve students and teachers in a
new and engaging forum. It can be used to focus on reading and research now and into
the future (Fredrick, 2007). Because working on a wiki is collaborative in nature, “they [the students] are challenged to think harder and to weave together what they know rather than to have it presented to them predigested” (Dresang, 2000, p. 78). The following are a variety of ways in which a library media specialist can use a wiki in middle and high schools:
~Students can review books, post essays and provide feedback.
~Students can share reactions to readings.
~Stories can be written and edited.
~Journal reflections can be shared.
~Collaborative research can occur.
             ~Outlines can be posted along with concepts and facts.
~ Exhibitions of student papers, projects and photographs.
~An online library can be created for students’ favorite websites.
~Research questions can be shared.
~Data on research topics can be collected and shared through charts, graphs, and other visual formats.

In addition to providing students with a social, interactive way to learn and express themselves, using wikis provides the media specialist an opportunity to collaborate with a teacher. A collaboration of ideas occurs when the media specialist identifies a way in which to support a teacher’s lesson plan. When working together on a wiki the school librarian and teacher provide a rich opportunity for students to learn in a new way. I hope to learn more about wikis so that I am able to offer my knowledge to a teacher in order to enhance their curriculum. The only downside I see of using a wiki is the time it would take to adequately execute the project. 

References:
Dresang, E. T. (2000). Outstanding literature: Pura Belpré and Américas selections with special appeal in the digital age. In B. Immroth and K. McCook (Eds.), Literature services to youth of Hispanic heritage, (pp. 69–87). Jefferson, NC: McFarland. Retrieved from http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com

Fredrick, K. (2007). Wiki-World. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 24(4), 45-6. Retrieved from http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com

Koopman, B. (2010). From Socrates to wikis: Using online forums to deepen discussions. Phi Delta Kappan, 92 (4), 24-7. Retrieved from http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com

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