Student Wiki page

I am so proud of my freshman today! Tuesday I assigned them to create a wiki page about any constellation. I gave a few guidelines about what I wanted them to include (names of stars, & distances of stars) and then I told them to include any other information that they find interesting. After having a discussion about plagiarism — what it is and is not, and what the consequences are — they were set loose.

The wikis turned out awesome! Each page is different from the next. The students really seem to enjoy the wiki site. They were on task the majority of the time (when they weren’t choosing what song to listen to next) and they were digging deep in the internet to find some good pictures and information. And, from what I can tell thus far, they are not copying and pasting (a problem I’ve had with all 9-12 students this year)!!!

So many things do not appeal to this group of 9th graders, I am trying to figure out why the wiki works for them…
*freedom?
*get to be creative?
*get to listen to music?
*find info that THEY find interesting?
*get to use computers?

My question is: why do my junior and senior students in forensics find the wiki to be such a chore? Maybe I gave them too much guidance when we began using the wiki page…

In Forensics we took an entire week to look at different free web tools to use in the forensic wiki. A few of the tools we used include vocaroo, xtranormal, and poll everywhere.  At the end of each unit in forensics students are to take 1-2 class periods to create a new wiki page about the things we learned, and any other info they can find on the unit topic.  When I tell them it is wiki time, most of the students moan and groan about it — Why the difference?!

I think that I probably made the wiki too much of a required staple to the class in forensics, whereas in earth science the wiki is there as an optional (usually)  way to show knowledge the students are gaining.

What are you experiences like this?

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