Book Review

I had an opportunity to attend the Howard County Technology Conference last week and Will Richardson was the keynote speaker.  He spoke about Web 2.0 in the classroom and other technologies for our Digital Natives of Today.  We were also fortunate enough to receive a copy of his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.  I became very engrossed in the book from the beginning.  The book is now littered with post-its and has provided inspiration for many new ideas that I will be using in my classroom.  For anyone who is looking for a quick read that packs a lot of information to help you get started with Web 2.0 technologies this is the book for you.  Will does a great job of making the content relevant to use in classrooms.

Check out my Book Discussion Wiki for some of the main ideas I got from reading this book.

Also, check out Will’s own Blog about technology.

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What I Know Is (WIKI)

Native of Hawaii?

Well, no not really but I did find out that the Term Wiki comes from WikiWiki Shuttle Bus at Honolulu Airport. WikiWiki in Hawaiin means quick. Therefore Ward Cunningham who posted the first Wiki called it a QuickWeb.

Friend or Foe?

Many educators sing the praises of Wiki’s in education and it’s powerful contributions, while others are skeptical because of its ability to be easily vandalized. So is a Wiki a Friend or Foe? Let’s take a closer look.

Foe

  • Back when I was in High School kids called in Bomb Threats or did all their terrorizing of minorities out in the open. Now kids are turning to sites like Wikipedia to do their dirty work. According to the LA Times students at Wilson High School had been making threats of violence and racial slurs against Asian students for more than a year on the popular Wikipedia site. An arrest was made after Wikipedia staffers notified the schools of the activity online.
  • Vandalism – Take a look at the following picture.  What do you think is that Hulk Hogan?

No Way! It’s former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. This is taken from Wikipedia and you can clearly see that someone has vandalized it by adding a picture that is not accurate. While this may seem minor, I want you to remember that this is a VERY MINOR CASE of Vandalism.

Friend

  • According the New York Times Wiki’s are have shown the ability to reduce emails drastically with continued use.
  • Wiki’s are great tools for helping to coordinate an event amoung several users simualtaniously. It has also been shown to work great for two individuals are looking to collaborate with each other to co-author a project or a book. Large Corporations have been using wiki’s for the past few years to coordinate projects, meetings, and other work related tasks and information. Why even the CIA has unveiled it’s own Wiki. The Intellipedia has a similar setup to Wikipedia but is a secure platform of knowledge contained in Blogs, Wiki’s, Social Bookmarks, and other Web 2.0 Tools.
  • Wikipedia – Wikipedia is considered the world’s largest online dictionary where a wealth of knowledge is stored. The content is added by its users. Much of the content is monitored to a degree but as in the earlier cases in the Foe section is not always caught right away.
  • Educational Wiki’s – The Washington Post mentioned the blending of curriculum and wiki for the Curriki. The Curriki is a wiki that is a place for teachers to build curricula for grades K-12. Unfortunately this is not something that we see in the foreseeable future the Department of Education adopting.

You Decide

As with any new technology there are always going to be skeptics and those who sing its praises. It’s up to the individual to decide based on how they plan on using the device and how it best meets their needs.

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