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Student Developed Learning Environments- Wiki Learning Environments (WLEs)! April 10, 2008

Posted by Joselyn Todd in Educational Technology.
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One of the things I have been doing in my classroom is moving towards having the students develop their own learning environments by showing them how to create mashups. They basically can do this through their My Space or Face Book sites but they can not personalize them in a way that best fits a “learning environment” (PLE or WLEs in this case). My students have not done this yet, but they will. Here is a mock up page of how a “learning environment” can be created using a wiki. It is incomplete but may be a useful template. The students are all thrilled to see that they can personalize their pages with Gadgets and Widgets (Widgetbox). I intend to have students choose a topic of their choice that they are interested in re: science (because this is what I teach) and have them develop their learning environments through the guidance of a rubric. (I might let them develop a page of their personal interest as well, but for my purposes, I want them to focus on a science topic- not Pac-Man 🙂 ).

We will develop our learning environments on the class wiki. I add that there are great mashup tools already available, but I like the accountability that I can get through a wiki. Pageflakes and Netvibes are examples of commercial applications. One can also do this through iGoogle. Again, why do this in a Wiki platform? We can incorporate RSS news feeds (Google News Feeds) about science topics. We can add interesting Widgets/Gadgets that pertain to the Science topic at hand or simply add to ones WLE. One can add their own podcasts, slideshows, movies, etc. Finally, it is also a platform in which other students in the class can comment on and discuss. But perhaps most importantly, I can monitor the sites carefully (I teach middle school students) and by creating a template, attempt to create a foundational structure for their WLEs while still allowing them to be creative.

What do you think? Is this useful? Is there a better way?