I’ll be travelling a bit the next week, heading to Savannah, Georgia for a Saturday blog building workshop and then on Sunday to Bolton, U.K., just outside of Manchester to work on a very cool wiki project with 50 area students. Wikiville is the brainchild of John Bidder, and the idea is that eventually the site will become a place where students from around the world will be able to add stories and essays about the places they live. (Nothing like a big idea.) We’re also thinking that they could add links to multimedia as well, creating a rich resource that would serve as a potential connecting point for all sorts of creative work.
The 50 students who we’ll be working with next week will be there to brainstorm ideas, learn how to add content, develop the ethical guidelines for use, figure out the logistics of editing and whatever else we can cram into the time. We’re hoping they can offer ideas on how to market it to other students and make it grow. I can’t wait to see what comes of it.
So I’d love to hear any ideas you might have about how this might work. And if you’d like to participate when we get it up and running let me know. The idea that there are some teachers and classes out there ready to add some content could be pretty motivational to the group we’re starting with.
Tom Hoffman says
I have an idea: why don’t you use blogs!?
Seriously, whenever you try to do a wiki like this, where you want yours to be THE wiki on a given subject, the chances of success are low. Why should I tell my story on your wiki instead of my wiki?
In reality, this is a very Web 1.0 approach. One big website! A GeoCities for the new millenium! What you want to do is AGGREGATE stories, map them to online maps, etc.
John Bidder says
Thanks Tom – Great idea about mapping stories to online maps, I’ll include that one next week.
This is potentially the ‘4 blind men and an elephant’ story so I’ll try to present a clearer picture of the whole.
WikiVille uses the phrase of ‘telling the story of our towns’ as a metaphor and its admittedly pretty clumsy.
We’re not aiming for fanfiction.net in a Wiki here and hopefully the issue of ego doesn’t come into it for the young people – how many of them have a Wiki? This is a project based on social & collaborative working where proximity to others undertaking the same kind of function will add interest & the aspect of peer review. You’ve only got to look at FanFiction.net to see this in action.
What WikiVille is aiming for is giving school age people the responsibility & challenge of collaboratively establishing, running and maintaining a resource that mirrors their day-to-day issues in life. Leisure—Community—Crime—Schools—Values—Trends—folklore—environment—quality of life, big stuff.
We’ll brainstorm for more themes with the students next week to see what they come up with – this is so embryonic.
So what will be achieved? That’s yet to be seen.
A ‘Rough Guide’ to Life through the eyes of our young people?
A sense of ‘legacy’ for these young people?
An opportunity for compare & contrast between towns of the world to support study?
A resource to develop understanding for the importance of web literacy in the 21st century?
A self-evaluation tool for the Local Authorities in our towns?
A social analysis of the symptoms we see of a bored or contented youth?
An opening of minds and eyes for young people who’ll never leave their own country in their life time?
A resource for teaching and learning in the curriculum?
A greater sense of community and understanding for the youth of the world (Whooo – that’s a cracker!)
I sincerely hope that young people will come together to make their voices heard while developing 21st century collaborative/ social web literacy skills. I also hope that we can surpass expectations, focus on learning and avoid numeric categorisation like 1.0 & 2.0 altogether. ;o)
Ewan McIntosh says
Do you want a hand next week? I wouldn’t mind jumping on a train to come to Manchester for a day or two. Would be good fun.
John Bidder says
MEssed up my comment entry –
Get in touch by email if you like
I heard about Wikiville from someone and may have jumped in too quickly to what looks like a great idea by adding an entry for Tasmania, Australia. I now read that you haven’t gone through some processes you have planned with students – sorry – feel free to delete. 🙂
I can appreciate there are many ways of implementing this idea but this one certainly captures my imagination – partly because it involves Wikis – a technology I am just starting to explore – and partly because it is so open to ’emergence’.
Just before I saw the link to Wikiville I was reading about ‘designing for emergence’ ( http://www.co-i-l.com/coil/knowledge-garden/oi/dfe.shtml ) and it struck me that that’s exactly what John has done with this concept.
I’m sure I’ll have some interested students once you get going. Good luck!
Hi Will- I have an idea. I’m starting a research project next week with my 6th grade English class about the local angle on the civil rights movement. I’m in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk, VA. area of the country. I’m trying to get the students to write about real events from the civil rights era that directly involve our area. I’m also trying to find one or two older citizens that will come and talk to us about their personal experiences. I’m planning to record the conversations to post online as mp3s. It would be great to somehow put this on your UK wiki. My students are somewhat fluent with the technology- they all have their own blogs- and a few have already contributed to my class Book Wiki.
Are you interested? George
Will Richardson says
Hey George…that sounds like a great idea. Let me float it with the group tomorrow and see what they say. Maybe that could do some short text reflections as well? I’ll be in touch.
John Bidder says
Great that you’d dropped by – thanks. I wondered who it had been…I ‘know’ only one person in Tasmania.
Lou Joscelyne-Loane from Campbell Town District High School, Campbell Town. You’re so welcome to join in the work.
The designing for emergence link has some really thoughtful stuff in there – I fully back up the ‘self organisation’ bit and look forward to reading the rest.
Just been reading the reflections and mentally been saying “Yep” all the way through.
Lee Baber says
I would love to join in. I have 140 8th grade students and I am anxious to teach them how to interact on the sites such as this. My name is Lee and I will gladly participate.
My course is
Login as Guest to see my site . I am only now starting it on moodle so it is not even done being molded!