Saturday, March 11, 2006

More on Wikis, Collaborating and Conversing ...

In my breakout session on Social Technologies for the Classroom, I presented the idea of collaborating in a Wiki, using the very easy to create PBWiki.. For this session I created a "Classroom Ideas" wiki, to provide a place for those attending the session to continue the conversation (see Lisa Toulon's post below) by posting ideas and thoughts for classroom use of social technologies. It's been a week since our conference, and this too, seems to be a "Wiki Wasteland" (see Dave Jake's post below).

There is a long list of contributors (68) to this blog (see the sidebar), but not everyone has posted ideas or thoughts here either. There are people paying attention, as the stats at the bottom show over 2500 hits! But, it seems that this is currently only a spectator sport. Dave is "right on" in his statement that "more work needs to be done in preparing teachers to become collaborators."

At Adlai E. Stevenson High School, we are "known" to be a model of a "Professional Learning Community." As such, more than 100 visitors come to our campus each month. This did not happen overnight. We work extremely hard to maintain a collaborative environment. We are committed to contributing to high-performing collaborative teams. But, even here, while we are doing great things collaborating within, only a handful of us are extending our conversations into public online forums. Don't get me wrong, many of us have contacts beyond Stevenson, and continue to share and draw from others in our respective "fields." But even so, the public forums of blogs and wikis are not always present in the conversations.

So, let's do it here! I challenge all readers of this blog to join the conversation! Add your comments to this forum. Visit Dave's wikis, or the "Classroom Ideas" wiki. Be a part of the conversation.. not just a spectator!


At 10:33 PM, Blogger Williebee said...

Thanks Miss Charlene, and thanks to David as well. I have two questions and a suggestion: First, Is it possible that the contributors are there, they just need to be focused? All of us have our expertise. Most of us have more than one. School technologists, if you'll pardon the created label, are by designed forced to develop varying levels of expertise in a variety of things. So, when someone says "Share your expertise, please." it can be hard to focus in on what to contribute. Do I contribute something in depth? Do I contribute something I only know a little about i hopes that someone who knows more will add to information?

Question two: If the above is valid, would it work to "seed the field" of a wiki instead with contributors of questions about things they'd like to know or would like to see? Which brings me ever so nicely to....

Question three: What I'd like to see is examples of how professional development in technology (educational, adminstrative, networking, e-mail, etc.) has helped classrooms and schools succeed in accomplishing the mission that we are required to perform, for example, increased attendance, better test scores, safer schools, special ed. successes, etc. Ideally I want to be able to create a short promotional package/presentation that I can take to my school districts and say, "See, this is why it's important. This is where it pays for itself."

Thanks in advance.

At 8:39 PM, Blogger Charlene Chausis said...

Hi williebee

Hmmm... where to focus on "sharing your expertise? " I think this forum can be a good place for musings as well as wisdom. I feel as if I have many of the former and perhaps not so much of the latter.... but here goes....

Perhaps these musings can provide the "seeds" you are seeking....

Why are social technologies important in education? At the high school level, we are seeing a great amount of students "caught up" in the use of social technologies such as MySpace or IM-ing. I have just listened to an interesting conversation posted by Wes Fryer on his "Speed of Creativity" podcast, that was a discussion among educators from Scotland, Canada and the US. I would recommend a listen ... it's an hour long.

Also, here are some links to research in support of professional development in technology. For example, the Milken Family Foundation ( published the Professional Competency Continuum: Professional Skills for the Digital Age Classroom by Edward Coughlin & Cheryl Lemke on 6/10/99. This "continuum" represents research- and classroom-tested approaches to developing the skills in teachers and administrators necessary for effective integration of technology in learning. Download a copy at:

Coughlin and Lemke have since gone on to establish the Metiri Group which provides access to "Technology Solutions that Work" as well as online tools for determining how schools use educational technology to advance student learning.

Also, from NCREL (the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory), a subsidiary of Learning Point Associates, check out the Critical Issues in Professional Development at

I hope that you will be able to put together information from these sources for your presentation. Look for an upcoming article in Technology & Learning magazine from David Jakes about "high quality professional development" programs and the value of these for student learning.



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