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[Replicable Practices] Week 07: Wikis (Post 1 of 2)

Thing #12 Learn About Wikis

The seventh week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to discover wikis. Thing #12 encourages me me to explore, collaborate, contribute, author, add, remove, and edit content all through a Wiki.

I don’t get it?

Watch a video by CommonCraft and Lee LeFever. The video is can be see at YouTube via this Link.

What’s the point?

Read the article hosted here at The article is entitled 7 Things You Should Know about Wikis. Pay close attention to sections 4, 5 and 7. Thanks to EduCause Learning Initiative.


There is no one particular Wiki that inspires me because there are so many Educational Wikis that have some value or resources that can be further developed. I have been personally involved in 3 wiki projects through the AQ’s that I have taken. Two of the wikis have been hosted on Wikispaces and the other on PBworks. It amazes me (after seeing and collaborating on it first hand) how fast a wiki grows with information and ideas.  I admit these wikis were staged or urged to be created and filled but after a while collaborators were more than happy to continue to develop ideas and carry on discussion passed the last day of the AQ.

There are however some hurdles that might stand in the way of educators that need to be overcome before Wikis are implemented regularly in a classroom.

  1. Not knowing how to begin/use or setup a wiki – Teachers need to delve into it and try it out. They can experiment on their own or sit with another and explore and collaborate together. Also seeing examples of wikis and how they are used can be an incentive.
  2. Anonymity – Chances are that instructors are afraid that users will spew out unintelligent pointless dribble. Although this may occur chances are a teacher will be able to catch the culprit. Users have to register on the wiki before they can make a comment. A collection of names / user names can be kept. Also teachers can assign user names. For example use student numbers. This helps keep some sense of order. Usually users end up regulating each other. Some wikis offer the ability to look back at revision history therefore changes can be quickly fixed and tracked.
  3. Time / Organization – There is not much of it and yes at first the task can be daunting however you will be amazed on how much a wiki grows in a short amount of time. Users also normally maintain some consistent formatting feature. A chaotic wiki is no good not even to its contributors.
  4. Getting with the times – Of course there are the early adopters and those others that are stuck in an old rut. It might take some easing into however through positive encouragement, collaboration and courage anyone can move out of the rut. Think, pair and share.
  5. Technology (Limitations or Resources) – Wikis are not necessary power hungry web applications. The majority of the wikis are normally text based. What is required though is a solid internet connection. I am blessed with having multiple computers in my classroom. Encourage students to bring in their own laptops, tablets or smartphones. Give students a positive purpose and set some simple and clear rules. WiFi is where it is at.

Is it worth the fight? – Without giving it an honest effort a teacher will never know. I happen to think it is.


[Replicable Practices] Week 06: Tagging, Folksonomies & Technorati (Post 2 of 2)

Thing #11 Bookmarking with Delicious

The sixth week also encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to explore the social bookmarking site Delicious.


Having a solid foundation of what social bookmarking is thanks to [Replicable Practices] Week 06: Tagging, Folksonomies & Technorati (Post 1 of 2) I set out to complete Thing # 11 by creating a Delicious site account and watched the following three videos.


Delicious User Name: michelangelus

*Additional Bonus Link: Michelangelo Buonarroti

Social bookmarking can be used in my replicable teaching practices because I can develop a shared reading list with my students where both I and my students can collaborate and build together.  Students can begin to take ownership of their own learning by contributing to the content.

Social bookmarking can also enhance team and group working abilities on specific issues. Students can search through information for instance that I have tagged and discriminate through discussion which resources are useful and which are not.

It also helps with the organization, communication and updating of bibliographical references for individual or group projects.

The benefits above would also apply to teachers that collaborate within their departments as well as through across curricular. I can search out say bookmarks from the Religion department to help a resource student with a religion project.

Personally it enhances my productivity because of the accessibility via other computers connected to the internet vs. my local bookmarked sites. It also helps me gather sites and resources that others have found reducing my search time.

A Future Thing: Diigo

[Replicable Practices] Week 06: Tagging, Folksonomies & Technorati (Post 1 of 2)

Thing #10 Social Bookmarking and Tagging

The sixth week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to explore social bookmarking. In the old days (although I still primarily use this method) bookmarking or remembering your favourite website meant you had to save or bookmark the website in your local browser. Whenever you wanted to go back to that site you would have to either type the URL, search through it via a search website or reload your bookmark through your web browser on your machine.

To gain a better understanding of what exactly social bookmarking is how it works I watched the following video:

You Tube IconLeFever, L. (Director) (2009). Social bookmarking in plain english [Web]. Retrieved from

I also read the following two articles:

Educase, W. I. (2005, May 05). 7 things you should know about social bookmarking. Retrieved from

Sathishkumar. (2011, November 02). How social bookmarking fetches endless traffic? Retrieved from


Why is Social booking tagging useful?


Accessibility. I do not have to pin down or wait to get to my home computer to access bookmarked sites. I can access them via any computer connected to the internet or through my iPhone 4s. I can also decide if my tags and bookmarks are private or public.

Search Ability. Tags help eliminate frustrating searches. No longer do I have to remember exact search phrases or become frustrated with finding content I know is there but cannot find via a search.

Organization. No longer does one have to stick to alpha lists or dates to organize content. Tags are created by humans who have read and appropriately tagged the content. Search engines normally have a program or formula used to rank sites when searched.

Popularity.  People gather at social websites. Chances are your site or your bookmarks will gain in views very easily.

Professionals. Experts could have collected relative sites that I can use as well. Take for instance a professor who has a specialty in Shakespeare. That particular professor may have bookmarked incredible sites that I can use as well, say if I was teaching an English unit on Shakespeare.


Inconsistency. Tags or inappropriate tags or miss-tags are linked to different content then using tags become useless. Tags can be spelled incorrectly or have more than one meaning. There is at the moment no standard tag.

How could I use it in my classroom?

Taking advantage of its organization and accessibility and search ability. At the end of the semester a student can search for the final exam via tags and only gather related class and study material to that specific subject tag. For instance I can tag bookmarks to a particular historical event. Both students and I can create reading lists and share popular current events.

Another way that I can use social book marking in my classroom is by having a collection of bookmarks that I share with my students that are the most relevant sources for a particular project or subject. In turn I can have the students search, tag and share their bookmarks with me and other students. This way the students control the content vs. it be given to them.


I also happen to think tag clouds are cool. The most highly used tags are usually the largest words in the tag cloud. You better bet the house that there will be at least one exam question related to this concept.

[Replicable Practices] Week 05: Play Week (Post 2 of 2)

Thing #09 Online Productivity

The fifth week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to explore and collaborate with more Web 2.0 tools.


I happen to enjoy the number of online applications that Google has to offer. One login and password grants me access to many services and related settings. Although there is an argument to be made that relying on one application or suite is harmful if it should ever go offline. The possibility of anything happening to any service always exists.

Remember when your favourite sushi restaurant closed without giving you any warning?

I try to maintain a backup of really important files on an external storage device and try not to get overly stuffed with multiple copies of the same file. I suppose knowing the existence of other services exist is better than not knowing. Take Flickr for example. Through this adventure I joined and shared in the Flickr experience, however I was already a user of Picasa, Google’s version of an online photo storage, organization and sharing site. With a built it Blogging tool for its own Blogging service.

A few comments on TWO notable Web 2.0 collaboration tools:

Google CalendarGoogle Calendar – Keeping my professional and personal life organized and efficient need not be complicated. I can share my calenders with anyone or display them on websites. I maintain control over who gets to see what. Calendars are colour coordinated therefore visually I can distinguish very important events (Anniversaries and Birthdays) vs. less important events. Professionally once a calendar is setup I can encourage my class and their parents to visit it on a daily basis. The best feature is that I can also attach a Google Docs to particular days (Lesson Plan or Class Notes). Colleagues can see when meetings can be scheduled. An equally important feature is that I can manage both my professional and personal events at a single glimpse.

How awesome would it be if students helped themselves to the class notes they missed on the day they skipped?

How awesome would it be if a colleague and I collaborated on a lesson and then shared it with other teachers?

Below are 3 videos to give you a better sense of Google Calendar. Beware that the second video is a long webinar.

You Tube IconGoogleApps. (Producer) (2011). Google calendar overview [Web]. Retrieved from

You Tube IconGoogleApps. (Producer) (2011). Introduction to google calendar [Web]. Retrieved from

You Tube Iconjrsowash. (Producer) (2010). Using google calendar for lesson planning [Web]. Retrieved from

Please Note: Google Calendar can become quite addictive and someone I can become obsessive over inputting events.

Google Calender (

Google Calender ( is an easy to use mind mapping tool that users (once registered) can save the mind map. In addition users can export their mind map in either a .jpg or .png file format. It is intuitive and allows for some user controlled function like changing the font size, colour of the bubble and placement. An awesome tool to use to organize brainstorming ideas, develop writing ideas, as a comparison tool or to help students map out semester concepts as a study sheet guide. Excellent for timelines in History or English class. Students can create, print, or export into other projects.

A future thing: Google+

[Replicable Practices] Week 05: Play Week (Post 1 of 2)

Thing #08 Google Docs

The fifth week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to explore and collaborate with colleagues using Google Docs.

To get an understanding of what Google Docs is I watched the following 2 Videos.

You Tube IconCommonCraft. (Producer) (2007). Google docs in plain english [Web]. Retrieved from

You Tube IconGoogle. (Producer) (2010). Introducing a new google docs [Web]. Retrieved from


You Tube IconGoogle. (Producer) (2010). Teachers and principals talk about google docs [Web]. Retrieved from!

My thoughts on using Google Docs in professional life

Google docs is another tool to aid in the collaboration process. However, collaboration is a two way street and although the tool exists for collaboration it does not necessarily mean that it happens.

Another interesting dynamic that comes about from this collaboration tool is that groups of teachers never have to physically meet so the collaboration process is not defined by time however just as much as this is a good it can also be bad because it introduces another mechanism of seclusion.

In a classroom I can:

  • easily set an initial template that students can follow
  • share my notes with the students (cuts down on copies that I need to duplicate sometimes more than once)
  • create another entry point of interest that motivates students in completing assignments
  • correct submitted work
  • give limited access to parents so they can share in the learning and feedback process
  •  create complicated notes easily through charts and diagrams

Some issues I see include:

  • having too many editors (students) working on the document therefore confusion can occur as to who is doing what
  • students posting confidential information or other inappropriate comments that get shared and duplicated quickly before I have a chance to address the issue
  • the fact that all the students will need an email address that can be addressed through assigned emails
  • the fact that not all web browsers were created equally therefore it can create some frustrations

My thoughts on using Google Docs in my personal life

It is nice to have a central location for all of my files. No need to rely on emailed documents or USB Memory Keys that can easily get lost, stolen or damaged. Whenever and more importantly wherever I am the document is waiting for me. The need to email does not become obsolete because that is how the other person becomes invited to the collaboration process.

Overall Google Docs is an amazing collaborative work space that gives users all the major Productivity Suite features. There is one catch however, it is FREE.  I can create different types of online documents and work on them in real time with other people. The most convenient thing is that all documents are stored and can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection.

[Replicable Practices] Week 04: RSS & Newsreaders (Post 1 of 1)

Thing #07 What is RSS?

The fourth week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to make life real simple starting with an exploration of RSS & newsreaders.


What does this mean?

Rss Icon

I was never sure what this little orange icon referred to. In an age where contracting a computer virus is as easy as a mouse click certain unfamiliar things in my mind are best left un-clicked.

However this exploration activity and the YouTube video I share with you below has made life truly simpler. Really?

You Tube Icon

CommonCraft. (2007). Rss in plain english [Web]. Retrieved from

My Thoughts on RSS uses in my professional life:

What if I create a website for my GLE 2O1 class and relay homework assignments, reminders, announcements or notices to the students and any parent quickly through the site RSS feed.

My Thoughts on RSS uses in my personal life:

Life is simpler. Really? Well that may be a bit of an exaggeration, however managing, consuming, broadcasting and reproducing information found online has become more manageable, more efficient and more personable, more exact and more relevant to me. Can I get a little help on how to choose the sweetest oranges?

Help me choose the sweetest orage?

Like most things there are usually more than one way to subscribe to information. My preferred address for my information delivery is Google Reader. Why? I already have a Google account.

  1. Subscribe
  2. RSS Site Button
  3. Subscription via Toolbar

After trying all three methods above I have come to the following conclusion.

If I was using my own personal computer I would use method 3. Why go through unnecessary, mundane steps of always having to login. I thought RSS feeds were going to make my life simpler. No need to login into my Google reader since my preferences are stored.

If I was using a a computer other than my own I would use method 1 and 2. These methods give me more control over login and password information. Not all browsers were created equally therefore not all will have the subscribe feature within the tool bar. Besides do I really trust your computer with my login information.

What does not make much sense to me is that this too can make my life difficult since it can become overwhelming to digest all the content. For example prolific reproducers or original content creators can easily deliver a few unread messages a day times a four to five subscriptions and once again life is complicated.

Excuse me,

While I go and eat my orange subscribe to my Replicable Practices Blog. Use any method you like.

[Replicable Practices] Week 03: Photos & Images (Post 3 of 3)

Thing #06 More Flickr Fun

2 number 3 letter T green H Scrabble White Letter on Green I letter N Fridge Magnet Letter G rubber stamp handle letter s at symbol @ letter M Scrabble White Letter on Green P letter J

Spell with Flickr (a tool I will certainly use to create visual interest)

The third week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to take an closer look at online applications, third party tools and ‘mashups’ using images found on Flickr.


Mappr – allows you to take Flickr images and paste them on a map. Note: As of 2007, Mappr is no longer processing images from flickr. Take a look at flickr to find images on maps.

Flickr Map – Photos are often tagged with information that can be used to make educated guesses about their locations in the world. Mappr uses this data, which is provided by Flickr users to place their images on a map.

Flickr Map is a useful tool for teachers to use if they want to take students on virtual trips and plot out historical and/or geographical connections.

Montager – Users can create a photo mosaic from photos found on Flickr by either search through tags or by uploading their own picture.

Montager is a useful tool for teachers to help students remove themselves from compartmentalizing ideas and and visualizing connections to prior knowledge or to a larger concept or area. Very helpful for pre-writing and planning stages in the writing process.


Big Huge LabsMosaic Maker: A world of creative photo possibilities

Make a mosaic from a photoset, favorites, tags, or individual digital photographs or images. It’s a whole world of creative photo possibilities — themes, colors, shapes. So, get that digital camera out and shoot some photos!

Big Huge LabsTrading Card: Turn your photos into trading cards!

User can create their very own collectible trading card using a Flickr photo or by uploading their own photo.

Trading Card is a useful tool for teachers to create flash cards of information about historical (or current) figures, places or events. In addition students with Learning Disabilities (including Multiple Exceptionalities or Developmental Delayed students) can use these trading cards to tap into their multiple learning styles (KinestheticAuditory and Visual) and create study aids, routines or recognition patterns.

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