I was listening to a podcast of Alan November speaking at NECC. Several things he said resonated my own thoughts as I decide how to effectively integrate the Web 2.0 with my curriculum. Because the medium is different, the assignment that utilizes the medium has to be different as well. If pencil and paper could be used to complete the assignment, why use the computer? If the assignment can be cut and pasted to completion in a few minutes, of what value is the exercise to the student?
For example, this will be my first year teaching AP Biology. I understand the time constraints will require that a lot of the work on the part of the student to be completed outside of class . One idea I had was to post an essay question online and have the students collaboratively develop an answer. There were a few things I needed to be able to do with this assignment.
First, make it a true collaborative effort. Not the usual group project where one person does most of the work and the rest of the group sits back and takes credit. Therefore, my second need was to verify student input and award credit. Maybe 3-points for an original and correct content contribution, 2-points for a content correction or clarification and 1-point for grammar/syntax correction.
The dilemma then, do I use a blog or a wiki? I understand the collaborative nature of wiki pages and originally had thought ot employ this tool. But, after reading FAQ's at the PB wiki site, I decided to use a blog instead.
The PB wiki does allow for verifying which student modifies the page and when, but unless I search back through the various permutations of the developing page, I won't know what content the student contributes.
So, I've decided to use a blog. It will be a restricted one, accessed only by my students with an assigned username. The comment section will be used to verify what content was actually contributed. I would also like to set up the blog with an "I'm on-line" indicator in the sidebar so that students may chat as they develop content.
Next post, an idea for a wiki!