Late last night I was working on a brand new wikispace for my husband’s class. As keen as I am on trying new literacy practices, it is easy to get bogged down in the details.
First hurdle – what was the username and password? It sounds simple but we had set up the site up a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’ t for the life of me remember what we had used. To complicate matters, we had orignally signed up for a blog with edublogs.org and had received a free space on wikispaces. I had initially tried to set up the wiki and blog there but ran into some snags and moved to WordPress. So there I was trying to sign in and not sure what my username was and which password we had chosen. I got logged in but then found I was not administrator of the site for which I wanted access. Back to the drawing board! Finally, we found the email from wikispaces confirming our site and the all important username and I chanced to remember password and I got to work.
Second hurdle – I wanted to set up a series of pages for the students to work on. One for each group. I added the page but it didn’t appear in the sidebar as I had expected it would. After some searching around I figured out the navigation editing tool. First to make it list the pages I had added and then ohh! you need to make them into hyperlinks yourself! Finally, I had the page set up the way I wanted it.
Yes the technology is simple but you need to have practice and get used to it. I can’t imagine trying to do this while working full time in a classroom. I have the time (kind of) and the energy (sort of) and its the focus of my project in a class I am currently taking, I have to work it out to have completed my project. How much harder it would be if I had to work on all of this in my all-too-sparse planning and preparation time and as far as that goes my division gives more than most (thanks guys).
As I struggle through some of the small stuff complicating the use of technology tools, I wonder about the student use of these tools. My husband mentioned that he wants the current unit using these wikis to last two weeks. We don’t yet have permission forms from all the students and I will not invite them on to the blog and set them up as members of the wiki until those are in place. Two weeks – we need permission, we need access, we need to know how to use the tools, we need to use them effectively to produce improved understanding of German. I think maybe two weeks is not quite enough time but I know they learning the vocabulary and strutures of German are the point here. It’s an interesting balance. I know the first try is just that a first try. I’m cautiously optomistic but I wonder whether we are setting ourselves up for the kind of problems Vicki Davis outlines in Mistaken Identity of Blogging. I’ll let you know how it goes!!