4D1: Wikis in the Classroom

Say wiki and colleagues instantly think Wikipedia and sound the alarm. The general attitude is that Wikipedia should not be used in education. The validity, reliability, and credibility of Wikipedia are usually put to question. As I researched for another part of this module, I came across two sources that substantiate the educator’s hesitancy to use Wikipedia in the classroom. The disclaimer page for Wikipedia alerts users as to how quickly content can change and advises that the source may not be appropriate for certain types of research. Young (2006) makes the point that Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikpedia, advises college student against using Wikipedia as a reference source for papers. See the source here.

However, references sources aside, wikis have potential for teaching students valuable skills about collaboration, research, editing, and using online tools. Students may also learn about things far outside of their current realm. The class wiki, Flat Classroom Project at http://flatclassroomproject.wikispaces.com/ was particularly inspiring. The site was quite comprehensive. Students in the United States and Bangladesh exchanged information. On the site were detailed instructions for partner assignments and rubrics were included for easy reference. I was also able to view the student created pages and read about the topics they studied.

In my own classroom, I visualize using wikis as a collaborative tool that students can use to develop the skills I mentioned above. I think it is important to include the grading rubrics on the site as was done in the Flat Classroom Project. To most students, creating a wiki is probably much more appealing than writing a research paper. Working with a partner is usually met with enthusiasm and building an online project can be thought of fun. After having worked on wikis in BCEOL and other classes, I am aware of the frustrations of working with the technology of wikis and how important patience is when working in a group. I am also aware of how much I appreciate the members of the groups I’ve worked with. These experiences can help me help students navigate wikis and learn teamwork skills.

In the Allied Health classroom, some potential wiki topics are:

Choosing a Nursing Home for Your Loved One

Finding the Right College for Your Career (Insert the Career Name, i.e., Nursing, Physical Therapy, etc.)

Advanced Directives and DNR orders

Choosing the Best Hospital (or Doctor) for __________(Procedure/Surgery)

Diagnosis and Treatment of ____________________(Disease, Disorder)

Growth and Development Series (Infant to Elderly)

Social Bookmarking Plan

STANDARDS: RWSL 1.1.11A-H, 1.2.11A,B: Standard Area – CC.3.5: Reading Informational Text: Students read, understand, and respond to informational text – with emphasis on comprehension, making connections among ideas and between texts with focus on textual evidence.

UNIT: Integumentary System

LESSON: Using Diigo for Research

MATERIALS/RESOURCES: Computers with Internet Access, Integumentary System Objectives


OBJECTIVE: Students will bookmark sites on the class Diigo account for final projects related to the Integumentary System

INTRODUCTION: Review Diigo account information (learned in a previous lesson). Assign groups of 3-4 students to find information for the following categories: Terminology, Anatomy, Physiology, Disease Processes, Prevention of Integumentary Disorders, Environmental Factors and Integumentary System Disorders, and Treatments for Integumentary system Disorders



Each group will research sites related to their assigned category and post these to the class Diigo site. Students are required to tag their sources appropriately and with their group assignment name. Each group is expected to find at least five credible sites.


Logging into Diigo accounts, researching and posting sources.


Check progress frequently. Group assignment. Individual instruction.


5 Group Assignment sites tagged with appropriate names to class Diigo account

Really Simple, Silly (RSS Feeds)

A quick search for RSS feeds on various meaningful topics yielded information on vocational education and teaching, learning networks, educational technology, and health care careers. I can search a whole lot more on topics of interest, but this will do for starters. RSS feeds are really simple, Silly. Seriously, who would have thought that I could look to find ways to detect plagiarism and find tools that help me not only detect, but also help me help students not to plagiarize? Check it out – Top 8 Plagiarism Tools.

RSS feeds add a whole new dimension to “class” comments. I can learn from the initial post but also from the comments that people post. Sharing in the online classroom allows me to learn in so many ways from so many different commenters.

I foresee using RSS feeds to keep up to date on classroom technologies, current health dilemmas and issues and career choices, and to assist students in learning about these. A unique dimension of collaboration is possible with RSS feeds and I’ll be exploring these possibilities as I delve more deeply into the feeds.

Authentic Learning Activities

Engaging and motivating the Net Generation is a constant consideration for today’s teacher. Teacher evaluations, classroom management, and simply doing what we love to do – teach, guides this process. The question is how do we engage diverse learners in an age where teachers are expected to incorporate guidelines and standards for state assessments, adhere to curriculum, and do this within a limited budget?

The answer may be in authentic learning activities and assessments. As a vocational teacher, what I teach has real world applications, but tell that to the student in the Med Terms class who thinks that learning the difference between –ology and –ologist really doesn’t matter. Or to the student in the Level 3 class who says, “I know how to behave, I’m just bored and I won’t act like this when we go to clinical.” The pen and paper test that I give students at the end of each unit is one way of assessing and it serves its purpose to prep students for a standardized assessment that incorporates three years of study. But to really engage and get students motivated about learning and give them the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills, authentic learning activities and assessments put the learning in the students’ hands and makes them the creator of their own knowledge levels.

So what is the best way to go about developing authentic learning activities? Andrew Miller’s Edutopia blog, “Bringing Authenticity to the Classroom” is one resource for teachers looking for ideas. Another is OER Commons. OER Commons has a wealth of free resources for various subject areas.

My Post to Mr. Moshe’s Site


Hello Mr. Moshe’s class!

As part of a graduate class on using technology in the classroom, I had to find a student blog that was inspirational and used tools that I could use in my classroom. I am impressed with your thoughts and your writings. Mr. Moshe is definitely making you think! What you’re doing here is preparing you for the challenges of the real world. I think that Intelligent Elevators are going too far like many of you do. Technology has its place, but let’s let humans be human and control where we want to go!

Good luck as you blog!

Mrs. Nanassy

Comments on an Inspirational Site


Mr. Moshe’s “Critically Thinking…Are You?” is a site that uses blog discussions for students. The teacher posts articles and writing prompts, and links to Common Core Standards and NETS Standards (National Educational Technology Standards for Students), and resources for students, parents, and other teachers. It is more than a student blogging site – it’s a comprehensive model for teaching and learning. There is also a model for a student blog project, broken down into steps.

This site is really motivational. I would love to be able to incorporate all the tools into a class website that Mr. Moshe does, including links to articles, rubrics, standards, and help for teachers and parents. Another really cool thing about this site is that you can record a voicemail and send it. It’s also spam protected – you must type in the security word to prove that you’re a person. I’m sure that this site is not free and that I probably wouldn’t have the school financial resources to back me but it’s got tons of good ideas!