The Social Studies Department at my school has started using a Weblog to archive lessons for the various classes in the department. I’m thinking now that it probably should have been a wiki, but they wanted the ability to comment back to the author of the lesson and it seemed that a blog would be more functional in that respect. They also wanted the ability to tag their entries and to search by those keywords, a feature that the Manila metadata plugin allows for. So now, if a teacher is looking for a plan about Native Americans, for example, she can just search for it within the site. Not as elegant as what Alan has done, I know, but it works. (My programming skills are, shall we say, less than exceptional.)
What I was thinking about as I read one of the plans is all of the ways it could be helped by these new tools of ours. Now I know that this particular one is more of a history lesson, but what about adding these ideas to the study of Native Americans:
I’m sure there is more here, but the idea is that students can work collaboratively to create and publish content about any topic, and that we can aggregate that content in ways that create a rich and dynamic resource not only for the kids in our class but for future students and outside visitors with an interest in the topic. I think it gives a totally different feel to the classroom, one where students not only learn but teach. One where contribution is celebrated. One where the different mediums create entry points for all students and makes them creators, not consumers. Put these tools in the hands of kids with a teacher who understands how to choreograph the interaction and it could be an amazing learning environment.
Paper just seems so restrictive anymore, doesn’t it?