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Sue Waters

I think the key for new people is one they can see an immediate benefit for their current practises is always appealing.

Screen/slide casting is probably the easiest for them to visualise how they might use and perhaps an aspect they wanted to learn more about. Wonder how appealing social bookmarking would have been?

Love your SlideShare on it.

Anne Marie Cunningham

Hello Martin
I'm a big fan of slidecasting/screencasting as well but I think it can be used to give a sense of dialogue with students... not just content.

I have to make a special appeal that the next time you do a presentation you record the audio too and put that on slideshare. The images are interesting but I would love to know what you are saying.



Hi Sue - yes I think that's it exactly, they can see immediately how it could be used. Blogs are a bit more of a slow burn. I sort of proposed one use of wikis as a collective resource like social bookmarking. I think the point that we throw away all the stuff students have found every year and start again is a valid one.

Hi Anne-Marie - yeah, I usually do a slidecast, but I've had this post kicking around for a couple of weeks and keep meaning to do the slidecast, so I thought I'd just get it up. This may slightly undermine my own point about easy multi-media!

Charles Severance

Martin, I am going to comment with my teacher hat on not my technology maker and evangelist hat on. What we teachers really want is technology that accomplishes two tasks at the same time: (1) helps us teach more effectively and (2) lets us be more efficient. The problem with wikis and blogs is that they kind of fall down on (2). This very morning I am setting out to "grade" some really wonderful student projects where the evidence is all buried deep in about 150 well-written highly-linked wiki pages. Since all the wiki is is "content" and there are no tools to help me manage it, this grading may take nearly a half day for a 35 student course. I need hand-assess to within-group participation levels and cross-group interaction levels and the quality of those efforts. I think that teachers like slides because they are efficient for the teacher and actually work reasonably well for students when there is supporting materials, etc. I think that you might get more uptake from teachers who are really teaching if your talk was titled, "How to use Wikis and Blogs to Teach Better and Save Time'. I think that your 'eat your hat' challenge was only that you could *represent* any problem in either a blog or wiki rather than claiming to do so making good use of a teacher's time. Of course now that I am a teacher most of the time, I personally am trying to find technical solutions to making Blogs and Wikis more effective *and* efficient to use. It is harder than it might seem on first glance.

Jon K.

I want to pick up the thread that Charles began about wikis taking more time. I think he's right, I've only used wikis on a small scale but it required a shift of how I mark (mainly in large batches). I needed to start to pay attention for a little bit of time each week and make some preliminary notes. By the time the end of the semester rolled around, I knew that my students were progressing, and had done a reasonably good job with the content.

I think that wikis do show base conceptual understanding much better than other methods of assessment and provide a better gateway to higher levels of learning (Bloom's Taxonomy or otherwise). With that said, it's going to take more time to assess.


Hi Chuck and Jon - yes I'd agree with you, particularly with respect to wikis. I'm not a massive fan of wikis, they nearly always tend to be messy I find unless people take real care.
I think their use needs to be framed carefully - so on your point of saving time for instance, one use I suggested was that in a particular course students were having trouble with an assignment and found the (extensive) guidance confusing. I suggested wikifying this and giving ownership of the guidance to the students and tutors. There is a potential efficiency here in that you don't end up repeating the same advice.
Similarly I suggested using wikis as a collective resource, so these grow over successive presentations (sort of wiki as delicious) so here your task of finding new resources is lessened.
You have to remember we are dealing with distance ed students here, so the other advantage wikis offer is pedagogically we can do collaborative type projects much easier than we could before.
So I'd go along with what you say - use them because they allow you to do things you couldn't do before or they save you time. But in both of these aspects I think we still have some way to go.

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