BREAK THE BARRIERS – USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS A LEARNING TOOL! PART 2-WIKIS AND SKYPE FOR COLLABORATIVE AND GLOBAL LEARNING

Social media can help students create shared projects and one way you can do it is through wikis. Wikis are shared web spaces everyone who is a member can add content or edit content that has already been added. They are easy to use and great for collaborative learning.

Wikis can be used for project-based learning,  collaborative writing, professional development,  curriculum developmentlanguage learning, and more.

When Wikipedia was introduced, people realized how powerful collaborative content can be. Soon, wikis became valuable tools for educators.  The greatest strength of wikis is the world-wide collaboration they provide. That’s why they are widely used in global projects.

Wikispaces provide wikis free of charge to educators. Teachers can easily set up multiple accounts for the group they are going to work with and students can work on wikis 24/7 without going into the trouble of finding a common meeting time and place.

If you want to create a wiki for your students, you may start by reading the tutorials and the handouts prepared by Wikispaces Classroom. Teacher Tips for Wiki ProjectsDefining Wiki Goodness,  and Exploring Wikis in Action by Bill Ferriter are useful guides for the teachers who are going to use wikis for the first time. You can also share The Characteristics of quality Wiki Pages,  Wiki Tasks for Students Groups, and Wiki Scoring Checklist with your students to use as checklists. Finally, you can use this Wiki Rubric as a model to prepare your own rubric.

Wikis  are one way to make education interactive and collaborative and to stimulate interest in learning. Another fun way to enhance global cooperation in the classroom is Skype. We all seem to agree that the globalized world today needs globally competent students/ who are able to understand and thrive in the contemporary society where cultures, economies and people are continuously connected. Therefore, making meaningful connections with the larger world should be a part of our program while we are integrating 21st century skills into the traditional classroom curriculum as brilliantly explained in the slides by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano:

If you haven’t tried Skype in the classroom before, The Comprehensive Guide to Using Skype in the Classroom, The Complete Guide to the Use of Skype in Education, Dos and Don’ts for Skype in the Classroom and the videos below will help you connect your classroom with the world.

How to create a profile and find a teacher by Skype in the classroom on Vimeo.

Mystery Skype – the global guessing game – is another popular and interesting way to connect with the classrooms all over the world to enhance global cooperation and learning. Med Kharbach from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning prepared an excellent guide for teachers to connect with the outside world that will help them use it effectively in class.

Our students should know more about the world beyond their immediate environment, recognize perspectives of others as well as their own, communicate ideas effectively with diverse audiences and video calls are one way to do this among the many other possibilities social media provides us.

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