Wednesday, January 14, 2009

WikiJunior: Egalitarian Elementary Nonfiction

In the May 2008 issue of T.H.E. Journal, they included a blurb about an article called Free Social Media Tools for Educators. In the article, they reference WikiJunior. Here's a snippet:

Wikibooks is a collection of educational textbooks freely available for use (including printing). Textbooks are available in a wide range of subjects, from arithmetic to calculus, psychology to linguistics, introductory chemistry to astrophysics. It also includes various professional development resources, study aids, and a special Wikijunior section for finding books aimed at younger learners.

I checked it out and thought about an exciting school-wide project: Each class could choose one unit per year to create a class "book" about. That would be the evaluation tool for the teacher instead of a quiz or project. Then, that book could be submitted to Wikijunior so that other people could learn from our kids, too. The element of having something published online is quite appealing to the kids, I know, and a good motivation. The real trick of it, however, would be making sure that it's not just a compilation of facts that can be found in any basic web search. It would have to have a "gimmick" or hook that would garner interest and provide a unique framework. I know there is a hub-bub about webcontent not "edited by professionals" but I think that argument ignores the fact that folks online are more than vocal about inaccuracies. Check it out for yourself, maybe.

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