Think About Thinking

Sorry, esses have a little extra susurrous going on there at the end.

Transcription of audio file:

So this is a little think about thinking on using the wiki for rich reflections, on Belshaw’s Essential Elements of Digital Literacies.

Firstly, rich reflections aren’t a new thing for me. I’ve done them both in English Language Arts classes and in History classes. I think they are a good way to focus students on connecting their visceral reactions with textual evidence; and getting students to articulate why they like or don’t like a text or resource, an opinion.

A lot of times we say “well, I liked that, that was interesting” but then trying to point out the parts that made connections for us, that made it interesting isn’t something we practice doing very often. And I think rich reflections make us think about our thought process and how we are connecting to prior knowledge and to our own opinions. And it deepens the conversation about text or opinions or video resources, beyond that surface level “well I hated it,” “I liked it,” “it was funny,” whatever.

I found the wiki aspect of the assignment a bit frustrating. In part because I do have basic coding skills, from writing HTML and working in forums, and wiki is a strange hybrid of rules from those and other syntax.

So, when something goes wrong it’s frustrating not to automatically know “well, I didn’t close that” or ” I used brackets instead of greater-than/less-than signs. And I ended up spending probably far too much time trying to get the reference tags to work, and not knowing why they weren’t working… so, yeah (laughs).

That being said, I think it is a requirement precisely because it is difficult. Wikis are another way of interacting, of participating in digital life. One that could be really useful for teachers as a project for our students; as something that the class can put together for a unit, as something that can be used all year or for a whole semester, or several years.

It is a learning opportunity and gives those of us in the ED 654 class another trick to add to our bags as educators. Which I think is important, and is one of the reasons I enjoy taking these sorts of classes. Because I’m not just learning something new, I’m something that will apply hopefully to my professional life.

So, yeah. That is my thought thunk on rich reflections and using the wiki.


5 Comments on “Think About Thinking

  1. I agree that practicing rich reflections is a great way to gather your thoughts, start to make sense of someone’s writing and the apply it to your own experience or in a way that makes sense to you. The act of actually writing something down (or speaking, drawing, whatever the medium) makes you commit to something. That doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t change your mind, but it is a starting place.

    I had to laugh when you talked about getting your references to show on the wiki the way you wanted them to because I also found myself formatting and reformatting. The real strength of a wiki is in the collaboration space it can provide. I think the blogging platform is better for when just one person is writing the contributions but for a group, a wiki works pretty well.

    • I agree, the group aspect is a wiki strong point. I also think it has potential to work well as a collective space. Everyone contributing their own parts. It is something I want to play around with more if I get a chance. I didn’t add a wiki to my site for the Belshaw reflections as I’m short on time right now — I’m taking 3 summer courses, one of which is a six-week condensed class.

      How did you like the wiki, you put one on your site right?

      • Wow – that’s a lot of coursework! Summer classes are not easy because of the tight turnaround. I did add a wiki to my domain and it was really easy to set up. I went into my cPanel for Reclaim hosting and decided to try out the DokuWiki. I’ve used PmWiki before and we used MediaWiki for the Belshaw reflections for Chapters 1-5 so I wanted to try something else.

        I didn’t anticipate that for the reflections for Chapters 6-9 that I would need anything very sophisticated or anything that needed a lot of features so this seemed like a good product to try out. It has good documentation that you can access with each of the wiki pages. After I fiddled around with the formatting and figure out what sort of structure made sense, it came together quickly.

        • That’s good to hear. I’ll have to give your wiki a look. 🙂

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