Wordle and wikis

Wordle: technology

I have been exploring the tools that are available on the internet and found an interesting site called ‘Wordle’. Wordle is a tool for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. You can customise the font, layout and colours in your ‘word cloud’. I made the ‘wordle’ image above. I found wordle ‘user-friendly’ and efficient.

Wordle could be used as a brainstorming tool in the classroom. Brainstorming sessions could be printed and displayed in the classroom. Wordle is a versatile teaching resource that can be used to create interesting displays of word banks, spelling words and adjectives for writing.

I have also created my own ‘wiki’. A wiki is a type of website that allows visitors to edit the available content. Wikipedia one of the largest reference wikis. Anyone with internet access can edit Wikipedia articles.

Here is the wiki I created which provides examples of how wikis can be used to enhance student learning. This wiki is designed to accompany a unit I planned for a grade 1 class. It is a negotiated unit based on the children’s play experiences. The wiki is designed to provide examples of teaching activities.

Creating the wiki was an easy and fast process. The word ‘wiki’ was inspired by a Hawaiian word which means ‘quick’. I used wet paint to easily create a simple wiki. However, planning the content to include in the wiki page required a large amount of time.

Wikis encourage collaboration and are flexible learning tools which learners can contribute to at almost any time or place. Wikis provide students with opportunities for collaborative construction. The collaborative nature of wikis aligns with the active learning framework which suggests that effective learning occurs in group contexts (Oliver, 1999).

This wiki is a highly innovative approach to an early childhood maths investigation. It takes advantage of the editing opportunities that wikis facilitate to implement an authentic learning experience.

Wikis support innovative and collaborative learning experiences and are easy to create. However, while creating my wiki, I found that there were little layout or design options. In some ways, wikis restrict teachers' creativity by providing limited options for website design and creation. Wikis do not support html codes which restrict the choices available to teachers and may make learning experiences less engaging or effective. In spite of this, the fully editable state of wikis presents many opportunities for education. If wikis are carefully designed and linked to meaningful experiences they can enhance learning.


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