Wikis and Blogs at Westwood This Week – Feb 28

This has been an exciting week and we have enjoyed our classroom blog on classblogmeister.com. (If you want to know how to set yours up, see my How-to article.)

My computer science went down to Wikiville and added some humorous work at their Camilla, Georgia wikiville page.

This is a meaningful, useful class project for several reasons:

  1. It uses true to life wiki coding, a step up from the wikis we’ve been using which have been made a little easire.
  2. It is an easy way to migrate to actually working in something like Wikipedia in a meaningful way that they understand.
  3. Students “get it” and truly begin to understand the importance of social collaboration software as we create global, multi-contributor type documents.
  4. On this page click the watch button in the top right hand corner. This allows you to monitor who is changing things and what is being said.

To get started on wikiville, Here is what I did before class:

  1. Go to the Wikiville homepage – http://www.wikiville.org.uk/index.php/Main_Page
  2. Click “Create and account or log in” in the top right hand corner.
  3. Set up your account and confirm your e-mail by going to your e-mail account and clicking on the link.
  4. Go onto your state, Click Edit and create a hyperlink to your new page. — just use brackets.

    ex. [[Camilla, Georgia]]

  5. Save the page. Click on your newly created page (it should be red) and then go there and edit. Type a little bit about your town and save. This is just a starter for your students.
  6. Review the lesson plan listed below and prepare for the lesson. (Trust me, this is not too hard! If you don’t understand a wiki technique, just don’t use it for now. If you point your kids to the wiki help listed below, they will be teaching you before class is over!)
  7. Click on the watch button the page you have created so that you can keep an easy and watchful eye on your “wikiville.”

Here is what I did in class.

  1. Sign Up. Have your “selected” students do steps 1-3 above. (You can assign this as homework the night before so they are set up when they come to class.)
  2. Learn how to wiki. Point your students to http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:Filling_the_page as it gives them guidelines for how wikis work. Send them on a scavenger hunt to find out the following items.

    I split them into groups of two, give them an item or two to find, ask them to practice it in the sandbox (a “harmless” place to work). I then have the students come up to the board and demonstrate their technique using the sandbox and ask the class to take notes in word or by hand. Here are the basics they need to know and demonstrate for the class (in order as shown on the wiki help page):

    How do you format sections?
    How do you create an internal link?
    How do you create text that needs a page? What color does it show on the final wiki?
    How do you sign a post on conversation pages?
    How do you link to external web sites?
    How do you insert images?
    What are some basic formatting techniques?

  3. Learn what happens when two people are editing the same page by leading them in a discussion. (Based on http://www.wikiville.org.uk/index.php/Help:Contents#
    What_happens_if_two_or_more_people_are_editing_the_same_page.3F
    )
  4. Discuss the sections you want and split them into teams. We decided on a typical day and how students dress (any chance to complain!)
  5. If students are having a hard time, I have the students compose their work in Word or other wordprocessor so that they can copy and paste it in. (I did it this way for spell check purposes also.)
  6. Help them add the wiki coding and save it.
  7. Go to any pages where they worked and “watch” them. (For obvious reasons, we must supervise these activities!)

Our questions I’ve used online recently have been:

How do we decide when video games go too far? 03/2

In the US we are guaranteed free speech and part of that is the right to produce materials that are objectionable to many. The video gaming industry is such an example producing more violence daily. A new video game centers around killing police officers.

What do you think?
Does the video rating system work? Does this particular video game go too far? Do video games cause violent behavior in students? Why.


Eighth grade question: Ipods and MP3 players 03/1

Today in our blogs we are going to answer the following question:

Do you think iPods and MP3 players have the power to change the world? Why or why not?


Cell Phone Spoofing 02/23

There are services on the Internet that are available for people to call cell phones while “spoofing” the cell number. This means that the number shown on caller id of the receiving phone call shows as an incorrect number.

Additionally, one service allows not only spoofing but voice changing capabilities.

Question: Does a person calling another have the right to conceal their identity in such a way? Why or why not?

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