Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Week 7, Thing 16

Before doing Thing 16, my acquaintance with wikis was limited to Wikipedia and the debate over letting students use it for research (I’m currently in favor of it, if students are taught how to establish the authority of information they find there.) I was impressed by the ways that librarians and educators are using the technology to involve patrons in the library, to collaborate with colleagues both at their own libraries and around the world, and to enable collaborative projects by students, I was especially interested in Book Lovers Wiki which tied in with summer reading program, because it seemed like a model I could work with for my own library. The safety measures in place—reviews were checked before posting, poster’s anonymity assured if desired—were reassuring and FAQs and link to the PBWiki site and its tutorial was especially appreciated by this first time person.
The Albany County Public Library Staff wiki demonstrated how wikis could be used for staff collaboration. This makes me think that a restricted wiki would be the way to go on the WASC tasks my school is working on this year.
The Brentwood school wiki, Sample Literary Circle Wiki (10th Grade English), and Sample AP World History Wiki were impressive examples of student work. While the assignments could have been structured the old-fashioned way, the wiki format enabled the students to collaborate outside the physical and temporal constraints of the school day. The assignments were thoughtfully set up and could easily have been the result of teacher-librarian collaboration. Another thing I really liked about these uses of wikis is that it becomes obvious to the teacher which students are contributing and which are just along for the ride. One of the frustrations of being the librarian is seeing one student struggle to carry her whole group and knowing that the others are taking advantage of her conscientiousness. One assignment I currently do with my library science students that would be adaptable for a wiki is writing their library procedure book.

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