I am just beginning to look at this as a possible teaching tool. I teach AP Computer Science (high school) and can see this as a way that students together can work on class notes, reading notes, study guides, help and examples with their coding. I intend to assign my students specific pages to complete either as individuals or as teams - as part of their grade.

So I've put up a Wikka installation for my school in hopes that other teachers will see this as a way to encourage students to collaborate in their learning. But the other teachers are (not surprisingly) rather resistent to new technology so I am looking for ways to easily administer the Wikka site and provide a simplified structure so the teachers are not totally baffled (students will be fine with it since many have used wikis). My administrator is somewhat interested but cautious.

The Wiki idea was presented at the recent Advanced Placement Computer Science Exam reading (19,000 exams, 4 free-response questions, 147 readers) - with enough positive discussion about the need for supervision that I was convinced that it could work.

I've just gotten the Group-based administration working - and I have a BlackListedPeople page just waiting for students to blacklist. The BlackListedPeople list is included in the default read_acl value in the configuration file.

my email address is cfischer5deletethis@comcast.net (remove deletethis). I would be very interested in hearing from others who are working in a high school environment. NOTE: I delete email from people I don't recognize, so please use wikka in the subject line.

Some Experiences - Sept. 25 2005

I am using the wiki with my AP Computer Science class now - exploring ways that they can collaborate in producing reading notes. I've tried having them write pages about topics. That didn't work real well. They were confused and they're not very good at reading and getting meaning from the reading - computer science can be confusing. Then I posted reading questions for the first chapter in our text and required that they post answers - right in the page - to a given number of questions. We discovered what happens when two people try to edit the page at the same time!!

I also ran into a problem with the page history - I discovered that even though the database clearly holds all of the revisions, I can only get the wiki to show 20 of them. I've tried changing the database value for revisions for my pages. That didn't do it. I also tried changing the number given for default in handlers/page/history.php. Maybe that setting is in revisions.php ....

My latest thought is to have each student write three questions for an assigned reading and answer three questions from another student and another reading assignment. They will have to link their question page to a central page for that section. Maybe I'd better set that up ....

But I do think that this group of students will do better on the first chapter test because they were all very interested in getting their points for answering questions - a significant increase in interest in the reading!!

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