Blogs and Wikis are examples of Web 2.0 Internet applications and approaches that provide resources that inspire reconsideration and reshaping of the way people interact with the world. A Blog, in particular, is a useful tool for crafting ongoing expression and communication of personal thoughts and Web links, similar to an online journal. However, unlike a journal, visitors to a Blog can not only read the publication but also comment on it, link to it, or privately contact the creator. A Wiki on the other hand, more closely resembles a simple online database of information. A Wiki is a space for gathering and sharing knowledge that is created, edited, and discussed communally by many users.
Blogs and Wikis require minimal technical knowledge and are readily accessible on any Internet based computer. Blogs are comprised mainly of posts and comments. The content of each individual entry written by a blogger is considered a post. Readers of Blogs are allowed to add their comments and personal opinions after each post. The reader’s reaction to a particular post gives the blogger feedback and inspires individuals to have a voice. Wikis encompass individual pages that are related to a particular topic and are meaningfully linked to other topics or pages that are germane to the subject matter. Wikis allow for joint authorship of articles and can vastly broaden the space and time of communication and collaboration. Both Blogs and Wikis support a variety of media such as images, tables, videos, calendars, and avatars. These resources also provide an open and accessible space for all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, or ability.
These relatively simple technologies turn the focus of the teaching/ learning process back to the student. Blogs and Wikis promote real world collaboration skills, develop higher level thinking skills, encourage active participation and engagement, and build classroom community through discussions, reflections, and cooperation. Using Blogs and/ or Wikis in an education setting also allow students multiple ways to participate in the classroom. Individually, Blogs encourage creativity and create student pride and ownership over the work. Wikis empower students to create information and to visualize learning as a continuous process (much like Science!). Teachers that have implemented Wikis into the classroom describe the benefits as being “meaningful,” “lifelong,” and “a great way to give every student a voice.”
There are several ways that Blogs and Wikis can be implemented into the classroom. Both applications can be utilized for classroom management. Calendars, newsletters, worksheets, and lessons can be posted to inform parents, students, and community members of the happenings in the classroom. They are also great tools to facilitate group projects, allowing for collaboration, discussions, debates, and peer reviews to take place relatively smoothly. Not only can collaboration take place within a class, but also among other classrooms around the world. Blogs can be employed when looking for more individualized perspectives, interests, and reflection. Wikis seem to be more valuable when used as a way to organize and discuss research topics and information. Wikis can also be used to organize and visualize student or classroom progress in a digital portfolio.
Specifically for camp, we feel that the use of Blogs and Wikis will foster relationships and unity between the different groups. Blogging will allow each group to share their findings and reflection upon each day and a Wiki can be utilized as a way to display, discuss, and revise background information and context of the investigations. Using these technologies as tools for collaboration and feedback within and between groups will encourage meaningful scientific dialogues and learning.
Blogs vs. Wikis – The Limitations of Each:
It is important to remember the risks of using online forums. Students need modeling and scaffolding for proper online behavior.
Blogs and Wikis each have their own limitations and particular uses. Blogs are relatively one-side and are privately regulated whereas Wikis reflect multiple perspectives and usually cost money to limit access. We’ll let you decide!
Visit and help create our very own GRS Investigation Wiki here!