Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Read/Write Web?

The most challenging assignment I have has this summer was to add to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. I use it all the time to get background info on everything from political events to obscure actors from old TV shows and it's a tool I encourage my students to use frequently...but what do I know enough about to ADD to Wikipedia? It's all been said and done, right? Anything I would add would come from research from somewhere else. And that leads back to the heart of what I am puzzling over in my own instruction. How do I move from everyone doing the "same" assignment in order to gather background knowledge to becoming knowledge constructionists? Especially, as I seem to be having a bit of trouble myself, in this area. Ultimately, I reviewed the work of my colleagues to get some ideas for my Wikipedia post and found out some interesting things about my fellow teachers. Who knew that cloth diapers are now made from microfiber or that Robert Urich was Catholic? And then it occurred to me that this is what the whole read/write web is about. Through collaboration and sharing, we will come to new learning and understandings all around us. Our own experiences and interests will help to add dimension to the content we are expected to master. Or, to quote Lee LeFever, help create the world's biggest encyclopedia.

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