One of the things that many of my education professors use is wiki spaces. I like wiki spaces, because I find them easier to navigate then the UR courses. In my esci classes, the students can edit, so we would use it to make new pages to share information and resources. I also liked it because we all handed in our assignments via the classroom wiki space, and since our assignments were usually directly related to science teaching, I could go in and copy all of my colleges lesson plans to use in the future (with their permission of course).
I started my class wiki as a way to facilitate my flipped learning style unit. If you click on the link you will see that I put the ‘follow along notes’ at the top of the page (which the students would fill out as they watched) and then I embedded all the videos in order after that. If you are interested in my flipped class experience, click here to read my blog post on Flipped Lessons. I also had pages for extra help in each unit and then the assignments that were covered along with the posted answers keys to help them study.
As my internship moved along I changed my teaching strategies a lot, so as you work through the units, you would see that the pages differ in the content and organization that I provided for my students. I simply was trying to adjust to my students needs.
This online classroom space started because I was attempting to flip my classroom, and although I chose not to continue with the flipped platform, I continued to use aspects of it. I found that this website provided me with a solution that many other interns raved about…
Student: “I am leaving for the next three weeks on vacation, can I have my notes?”
Most interns would tell you that, being an intern, they were not planned far enough in advance to send the student with homework. This also applied to students who would miss without notice and then come in the next day, asking that you drop what you are doing to provide them with all the paper work that they missed.
This site SAVED me in these situations. Every day after school I would spend 5 to 10 minutes transferring my smart board notes into PDF’s and posting them to the page. If there were any assignments handed out, they were posted on the wiki as well. My students soon learned that it was easier to go to the wiki and print out anything they needed then come to me and wait for me to go photocopy things or copy the notes from another student. Students who were sick or gone for long periods of time started to stay caught up because I was updating the page almost daily. At first, it was not like this. My students did not stay caught up when they were gone and they did not use the online classroom to their benefit, but as time rolled on, the traffic on the website became overwhelming. A class of 30 students were visiting around 2000 times per month.
If I had students who were struggling, and concerned parents, I would also invite them to the wiki space so that they could help “encourage” their student at home. “I lost my assignment,” “I missed the notes,” and “I left my binder at school” were excuses that no longer mattered, because it was all online!
There are so many parts of my website that I am ashamed of, which has almost deterred me from posting it for you. If it were up to me, it would have a more organized menu (all the content areas would be grouped) but I never found the time to change the layout, I was just happy if I was getting all the content up there! I would also have loved to make it more visually appealing for students, with pictures and more science videos to supplement the content.
I will have a online space for my classes in the future, I dare to say, for every class that I teach, because it helped me that much. I encourage any teacher to do it!