Working Through the Kinks

Our study of the Holocaust is nearly complete. Students read Night by Elie Wiesel, heard a survivor's story during a personal visit, and researched topics of choice on wikispaces. The study is part of a larger unit on Battling Indifference, in which students must try to define, discuss the effects of, and stake a stand on some form of indifference.
Overall, I was pleased as we were able to use Diigo to collect bookmarks, Google Docs to collaborate on research, and Yammer to provide prompts for class discussions. The kids aren't getting Diigo yet, but it's still early in the year. I don't think I've spent enough time showing them how I use diigo and delicious with my network, which is half the benefit. And Yammer will only  effective if they use it–so far it works well when we are in class together, but I don't see much use happening outside class.
We had some interesting discussions about what videos and images would be appropriate for their sites, as the reality of the Holocaust is almost unbearable for most of us to fathom. They also realized giving appropriate credit for research is something they struggle with, and we definitely need to spend more time on this. They seemed to enjoy working collaboratively, and I could see the work as it progressed. Truthfully, we had to spend more time getting the technology mastered than I wanted, and I ended up not spending the time reviewing and editing the actual writing with them. Plus the process of researching took a back seat while I helped them figure out how to embed videos and link to other sources. I am hopeful that now that we've introduced and used these tools, the research/reading/writing component of future work will take center stage and the creating/publishing aspect will work seamlessly.
Unfortunately, because I had them all create their own wikis, they will need to invite all their classmates to join in order to be able to leave comments on the discussion tab, something that has worked so well on my colleague's site.
Sigh, it's a process for me, too.

2 thoughts on “Working Through the Kinks

  1. But remember Jennifer has had those kids for three years which has given her time to work out the kinks. Plus you helped work out the kinks for my unit because I had to spend relatively NO time learning the tech with that group. So….Thanks for working out the kinks for all of us!

Comments are closed.