Case Study 3: Group Research Projects (Class Wiki)

classroom applications

Case Study in relation to lessons/activities that have been changed before and after 1:1 implementation.  Technology use not for technology sake but in order to increase effectiveness and/or efficiency.  (Names have been changed to protect the innocent or I just made up the whole thing from a mixture of examples that I have observed.)

  • Mr. Francis is having his students do a research project about various civilizations.  He has a list of civilizations that they can pick from and they have to do research to share with the class.  He usually has them create a poster or even a Powerpoint presentation.  He also usually shares them with parents during conferences since some of the projects are so very good.

  • Mr. Francis tries to make sure that there are at least 2 of the 4C’s in each project.  The 4C’s (creation, communication, collaboration and critical thinking) are such an important part of the learning process that Mr. Francis tries to emphasis as many of them as he can with each activity.  For this project he wants to focus on creation, communication and collaboration.  The critical thinking aspect will come in the next activity where he wants his class to make use of all of the work that they did for the research project.  He wants the information that his students put together to be available to everyone in the class in an efficient way.

  • Mr. Francis is very fascinated with Wikipedia.  He always used to tell his students that it was a bad resource but he has found over time that it has not only improved, it has become a very useful resource in class.  He makes sure his students know that they should never rely on any single resource, which he emphasized in his activities that help students find good resources and critically analyze the information they get.  Mr. Francis is amazed by the fact that Wikipedia is the largest collection of knowledge ever put into one place.  The fact that it was done by so many people that did it for free is even more amazing.  He would like to recreate this in his classroom for his project.

  • Mr. Francis decides to have his students create their own wiki for their project.  He looks over the various ways that he can do this, from a simple way involving just Google Docs to using a tool like Wikispaces.  Another teacher in his school uses Wikispaces so he decides to talk to them first.  After discussing his ideas the other teacher gives him some advice and he decides to try this project using Wikispaces.  Mr. Francis is a little worried that this will not work as he had hoped but he remembers that nothing worth doing is ever easy.  He really wants to not only increase engagement, he wants to focus on as many of the C’s as he can.  He writes up his lesson plan and then sets up his account on Wikispaces very quickly.

  • The first day of the project he has his students get into groups and they pick their subject.  He tells them to create a single Google Doc for each group that is to be shared in the group and with him.  He wants them to work on this before putting it onto the Wiki.  He is able to monitor their work in class and even after class since they are using Google Docs.  After school he notices a couple errors in one project so he leaves a comment for them to double check their information for that part, he could just tell them it is wrong but he wants them to make use of multiple sources in order to make sure they are correct.

  • Mr. Francis waits until most groups are ready before giving them the directions on how to upload their information to the Wiki.  He also creates a quick video showing how they can do it in case they forget to follow the directions in class as well as for the students who were gone that day.  He then tells them to look over the other groups work when it is posted and see if they want to make changes to their part.

  • Mr. Francis is very excited as he sees the posts being placed online and then edited again and again until each group is satisfied with their results.  He places a link to this site on his class website so others, including parents, can check it out.  He starts looking forward to his next activity where the students will have to do some critical thinking using the information posted on the Wiki.  He knows this will be a great resource for the rest of the unit as well as for next year.  The students provide feedback during a quick formative quiz that they not only enjoyed the project but felt that they did a better job since it was posted online for others to see.

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