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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wiki Wiki (not Waka Waka)

I have just created my very first class wiki! The wiki is one of the free educational wikis wikispaces are giving away at the moment.

I am currently designing a programme for one of my young learners' groups for next year, for which I have decided against having a course book. The programme is based tasks and activities related to different areas of the primary curriculum. Since the children will have no book to take home and show their parents, I decided to create a wiki which the parents will be able to access and see some of the work their children are doing in class, as well as helping them practise what they have learnt at home. The idea of involving parents in learning is not new one, however it is one that can be difficult to implement, especially when you only teach the children for two hours a week. Parents show much more interest in mainstream education and often they treat their after school English lessons as a bit of a hobby or babysitting service. For this reason I will send out a letter to all parents, explaining what a wiki is and how it will be used, and asking them to participate. Hopefully, in this way we will see a bit more interest in what the children are doing, on the part of their parents.

The wiki in question will have a page per topic; meaning that approximately every month a new page will be set up. On that page I plan to upload some of the children's work including drawings, photos and videos for all the parents to see. The wiki will be private and only those with a password will be able to access it. Parents with passwords will be able to log on and help their child answer questions and complete tasks that I leave on the page. Parents will also be able to comment on what we have been doing.

I really hope that this way parents will be encouraged to participate actively in their child's learning, whether it is just showing an interest, or actually doing extra practice with their child.

Has anybody else set up a wiki for young children? I would love to hear about how it went and any suggestions you may have.
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