Friday, July 22, 2011

Your Invitation to Reform Symposium's E-Conference

In a few days, nearly 8000 educators from over 40 different countries are expected to attend a free 3 day virtual conference, The Reform Symposium, #RSCON3. This free award-nominated e-conference is going to take place on July 29-31st, 2011. Participants can attend this online conference from the comfort of their homes or anywhere that has Internet access. This amazing conference provides educators new or currently active on social networks the opportunity to connect with educators and professionals in the field of education worldwide. With over 12 Keynotes, 80 presenters, and 3 keynote panel discussions you are bound to be inspired!

View the schedule to plan which presentations you will attend!
Download the flyer to share with your school!
Watch this Youtube video of January 2011's conference!
See if your school will count this as continuing education credit!
Consider hosting a viewing party!

We would like to thank the incredible organizers- Shelly Terrell, Kelly Tenkely, Chris Rogers, Lisa Dabbs, Melissa Tran, Clive Elsmore, Mark Barnes, Ian Chia, Cecilia Lemos, Jerry Blumengarten, and Kyle Pace- and Steve Hargadon of Classroom 2.0 and The Future of Education online communities for making this incredible conference possible.

We hope you can join us for this incredible professional development experience!

Here is a preview of my presentation, Using Skype in the Classroom.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gifted 2.0: Wikis

What is a wiki?

Wikis are another excellent tool to collaborate online. Wikis were named after the Hawaiian word wiki-wiki, which means fast (Fitzgibbon, 2010; Richardson, 2006; Witt, 2009). Wikis are public forums where individuals and groups of individuals publish content online. Wikis have many uses across fields. Some corporations have used wikis to manage business documents, information, and team projects, while universities have been found to use wikis for learning and collaboration among their faculty and students (Richardson, 2006). The idea is to create a space where anyone can post, edit, or publish content on a wiki at anytime (Richardson, 2006). Wikis are participatory in nature and offer a non-linear approach to sharing and retrieving information (Fitzgibbon, 2010).While the most people are familiar with Wikipedia, two of the most commonly used wikis in education are wikispaces and PB works.


Wikis provide an ideal platform for online enrichment learning opportunities. They can be created in place of a class website, with pages including assignments, videos, and links to pertinent websites on specific topics (Eckstein, 2009). Teachers can also create student accounts which allow users to add, edit, and share content on the wiki.

Here are some ways to use wikis in the gifted classroom:

1. Publishing Student Work-Wikis can be also used as a virtual space where students both gather information and post products. If a teacher is exploring a specific topic, she can post information on that topic on a page and then designate another page where students can publish or post a research project or findings on a specific topic(Eckstein, 2009). Some examples of products that can be uploaded or included on a wiki include 1) a research report, that was edited and written by a group, 2) a presentation, which can include an Animoto slideshow, PowerPoint Presentation, glog, or 3) a podcast, where students audio record their findings. Google docs can also be embedded on a wiki.

2. Global Collaboration Projects-Several teachers have started projects to connect with other schools globally. The idea behind many of these projects is to have partner schools post information pertaining to their target culture, country, or a specific topic. See the Resources section for some sample projects.

3. More Project Ideas

*Write a book as a class, where each group is responsible for a chapter, and embed it as an e-book

*Create an “All About Me” wiki page where students can include information such as favorites (music, food, book, etc) along with hobbies and interests. This would be excellent for the beginning of the year.

*Participate in a collaborative writing project with a partner class from a different state or another country.

*Create a wiki on a topic of interest which was researched independently. Students can include favorite links, pictures, and (how to) videos.

*Share the findings to an experiment. Upload observations and have partner class try the same experiment to share and compare findings.

*Use the wiki as an online portfolio where students can store and share work samples and reflections.

These project ideas have been modified from Diane Witt (2009).


Getting Started:

Technology 4 Kids: Wikis- A great collection of resources and video tutorials.

Teaching Tips: Wikis in the Classroom

Cybraryman’s List of Educational Wikis

Wikis in the Classroom- An introduction to wiki uses in the classroom and some class examples

How to Guide for Wikis

Wikispaces Starter Sheet

Wikis in the K-5 Classroom- Examples of elementary classroom PBworks wikis & ideas.

50 Ways to Use Wikis for a More Collaborative and Interactive Classroom


Animals Wiki- Join this wiki to share information on different animals in various languages.

Global Hello Project-Create a page about your school and say hello in your own special way!

Greetings from the World-Create a glog showcasing your city or country and share it here!

Green School Project- Students from around the world are welcome to share their environmental activities in their schools. This wiki explores the impact of global warming and sustainability.

Monster Project- This wiki is a continuation of a collaborative project with several schools, where each school describes one part of the overall monster, and then all schools use the combined descriptions to create monsters to display at their sites. The project aims at building communication skills, creativity, collaborative skills, and writing skills.

Class Wiki Examples:

Grade Two Class Wiki

Mr. Tillman’s Class Wiki- Great example of upper grade class wiki that includes assignments, class updates, and projects.


Eckstein, M. (2009). Enrichment 2.0: Gifted and talented education for the 21st century. Gifted Child Today, 32(1), 59-63.

Fitzgibbon, K. (2010). Teaching with wikis, blogs, podcasts & more. New York, NY: Scholastic.

Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Witt, D. (2009). Strategies for the tech-savvy classroom. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.