I'm finding Wikis to be a little more of a challenge in which to really get interested, but I know why. It's the organization. I am a visual learner. I like pictures and not many of the wikis I visited had them as part of their main mode for navigating the wiki. I was not fond of the organization in the following wikis:
Dr. Reich's Chemistry Wiki - Everything was well organized, but my interest was not perked because there were no pictures. If you want kids, and me, to use it regularly you have to have pictures.
FHS Wolves Den - I loved the idea of scribe notes, but it seemed that everything was just a list of stuff. Maybe an outline would be helpful.
1001 Flat World Tales Project - I love the whole collaborative idea behind this one, but it was hard to follow the path or the process. Visually I found it busy.
With all of these wikis, I love the ideas of how to use them in the class, but I struggled with the visual appeal and the ease of finding things. Some of the wikis even made it difficult to see the purpose of the wiki.
I've made a classroom wiki for my math class this year (Tipton's Math Wiki), but I will be the first to admit it has not turned out the way I had wanted. I have a few students still using it to study and to play math games, so that is wonderful. The fault falls on me alone for it not being what I want it to be. I guess the next step for my wiki experiences is for me to sit down and make a list of the items I want on my wiki and then put them into categories to have better organization myself. Then, I need to make it visually enticing and maintain the organization.
Things I would love to use in a wiki included:
scribe of notes from the day's lesson
video of the day's lesson
homework question area
online projects - the issue here is assigning a project for a grade and a student not having a computer or internet.
Back to the age-old issue of benefits and detriments to everything.
"President Obama called for...teachers, parents and students to embrace a renewed commitment to learning from grade school through adulthood."
Not to be a smart-alek...okay, I am a smart-alek, but... I'm so glad that he wants us to renew our commitment to learning, because we as teachers were really starting to give up. Seriously, for someone to question a teacher's commitment is a slap in the face. Though I am 100% sure, President Obama is smarter than I am and knows more information on this than I do, to my knowledge he is not a teacher and never has been one. The educators who advise him are also so far removed from the classroom that the technology they used to teach in their classroom had a dark green screen and light green writing. Plus, to do anything on that computer you probably had to press the "open apple" or the "close apple."
I don't know anything about charter schools. The thing that scares me the most of what the New York Times is presenting as President Obama's vision for education is the rewarding of "good teachers" and the removal of "bad teachers." How are they going to determine the good and the bad teachers....probably test scores. Well, classroom teachers know something that those not in the classroom do not. Test scores are not solely based on a student's knowledge or how well they know the material. A student's test score is made up of:
That student's home life.
That student's personality.
That student's study habits.
That student's temperment on the day of the test.
That student's like/dislike for reading.
That student's attention span.
Then you can include their knowledge of the material.
PS - I forgot to metion his idea of extending the school day and the school year. Hey! I wonder if our pay will be extended. Plus, I don't know about you, but I don't remember the last time I didn't get to work an hour early and leave two hours late.
Flickr has toys. Yes, toys! One of them is Phrasr. Basically, you type a sentence or phrase and then Phrasr will give you pictures to go with each word. You choose the picture you want for each word, name your Phrasr, and then publish it. I don't know how to embed the Phrasr into anything yet, but I can give you a like to the one I made.