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Interactive Technology – Wikified Math Classes
What comes to mind when you hear the word technology as it relates to your math class? Calculators. Interactive white boards. Websites. Geometer’s Sketch Pad. How about wikis?
A colleague of mine introduced me to Wikispaces for education. This became a tool that my teachers and I relied on more and more as we continued to learn how to use the tool at more sophisticated levels.
First of all, if you can edit a word document, you can make a wiki space. Simple as that. Secondly, they are free for educators. What could be better? Free and easy.
What can you do with a wiki? Think website, add free and easy. Click here to set up your account. Add a page. Click the Edit button in the upper right hand corner and make your page just like you would write a word document.
Think of your wiki as a digital work space; it’s more than a website. There is a discussion tab for each page, so users can comment on the information. You can also trace the history of each page and if edits are made that you do not want to keep, simply click on the older version and it is fixed. Adding images and web links are just as easy. Once you master these, you can add video or news feeds from different websites. Whenever you are ready to learn a new skill, just click on the help icon and find what you need. You can keep it simple, or learn how to make a variety of detailed changes. It’s completely up to you, your comfort level and the time you have to invest.
We used our Wiki to post workshop and meeting schedules, program information, and all of the resources we used. Teachers post information and upload lessons that they worked on together to share with their team (and others). Sharing lesson ideas and resources can eat up the storage space in your inbox. A permanent, organized location for storing lessons and resources makes it easier to locate the materials you need, as opposed to searching through files or old email messages.
We chose to keep our wiki secure so that anyone could read it or download files, but only authorized users could make changes and upload files. Once we became more and more comfortable with using our wiki as a sharing and learning tool for us as educators, a variety of teachers began developing their own classroom wikis. The possibilities are endless, though your storage space is not.
Check out these examples to give you ideas about how to get started: HISD Literacy Support Network and Academy of Accomplished Teaching in Math and Science.
Anne Douglas is Dean of Instruction for Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center, a comprehensive high school in Houston, TX.