December 14, 2006
Thank you to Lisa Valentine for pointing me in the direction of http://www.teachersfirst.com/content/wiki/ which provides a simple to understand introduction to wikis for teachers and has links to some great case studies.
I’ve just heard about a college who has received a strongly worded email from an American organisation who are apparently demanding to find out who deleted several pages worth of information that they have produced on Wikipedia. They have managed to trace the deletion back to someone from the college via the wikipedia logs and they are threatening legal action if the college doesn’t disclose who did it. How ridiculous. As far as I can tell the whole point of having information on a wiki, is that people can edit it, secondly wikipedia stores pre-edited pages so the previous version should be easy enough to roll-back.
I’ve been looking into the educational value of various virtual worlds. On the whole I have found it can take a hell of a long time to get started with and get used to these virtual worlds, and that’s before you even start to create something of any useful educational value. As far as I can tell, second life it the biggest of these virtual worlds, however it contains a lot of adult content, so I guess the family friendly version teen second life would be more appropriate.
An alternative is to incorporate learning into existing computer games. This has been done with Altered Learning (http://www.alteredlearning.com/) who which teaches keyskills within the Atari game Neverwinter nights and DoomEd (http://www.desq.co.uk/doomed/index.shtml) which is a project based around teaching science through Half Life 2. From what I have seen the education feels badly crow bared into the games, and although game play might get students interested I can’t help feel that these games might not be the best environment for learning. Maybe I’m sounding too negative but have a look at the demo for the DoomEd game, it has one multichoice science question followed by a lot of graphic violence. http://www.desq.co.uk/doomed/video.shtml
The option I prefer is 3B.with 3B you can create virtual rooms where the walls are live web pages or online images. Characters can walk around, chat and interact with each other. It might not have as many features as Second Life but it is small and manageable, compared to the other options.
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