Created by Ruth Elliott

Welcome! Join me as I reflect on my learning journey with Web 2.0 tools. I'm sure I will find bandwagons to jump on along the way. Let's enjoy the trip.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Natives build scaffold for Novices

Sunday evening family birthday party. Five cousins playing on 3 DS's. One grandma entering information on a wiki. She's recalling her experiences with streetcars in earlier days in Saskatoon. I have created a few more pages on my Caswell Homes Project wiki so Mom can add more information. I asked her if there would be others in her apartment building (mainly senior citizens) who would have computers and be willing to add to my wiki. She said, "They're old. They don't have computers." Mom has a computer because the family helped her get one. I sent her the link for the wiki and showed her how to get back into it to add information to the additional pages.

This experience helps me realize that the people who have the oldest stories to tell for my Caswell Homes project wiki, may also be the people who don't have computers (the digital divide). If they do have computers, they may use them for Web 1.0 things like surfing the net and sending and receiving emails. So why not put the digital natives (like the five cousins using the three DS's) to work assisting those with stories to tell to put those stories up on the internet.
The digital natives can provide the scaffolding to support those with stories to tell, to place those stories on the internet for others to discover and add to. Tonight my Mom said, "I don't remember how much it cost to ride the streetcar." I said, "That's alright. Someone else will remember." I asked my brother-in-law if he remembered the Saskatoon Arena which used to be downtown beside the Saskatchewan River. He remembered Bruno Gerussi riding a Zamboni at the Arena. He remembered the asbestos falling from the ceiling. I inveigled him into typing those bits of information into the wiki. (One of the homeowners helped start the Saskatoon Arena.) Every little bit of information will trigger other people's recollections of personal his-story and her-story.

Before I continue on with other ways to use wikis, I would like to talk about my own process of discovery in creating my own wiki called Caswell Homes Project. After looking around on the internet and reading through the Trailfire articles, I understood enough about wikis to jump into creating a wiki. I wrote down the names of the three recommended web-based wiki sites. Then I came across the Wiki Matrix where I compared all three sites. The three sites were P

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - FEBRUARY 24:  Donated p...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

B Wiki, WetPaint, and WikiSpace. I watched some YouTube videos on PB Wiki. PB stands for Peanut Butter since creating a wiki was supposed to be as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich. The first PB video was about how to get started making a PB wiki. Another video gave ideas about how teachers were using wikis in their practice. In How Do You Use PBWiki? teachers were using wikis so that students could find definitions for new vocabulary, to centralize documents, to organize other wikis, to support the textbook (jigsaw learning-students would gather information for various chapters and post it on the wiki to help other students), to decrease and focus meeting times by posting agendas, documents, and possible issues ahead of time, and to do web design evaluation. I decided that I liked what I saw about PBWiki. My only reservation came when I discovered that recently they have changed their name to PBWorks. (For more information about how this name change may impact users go to this page: Why has PBWiki changed to PBWorks? . I went to PBWorks to sign up for a wiki space. I filled in all the forms and then received a message that one of their representatives would be in touch with me. So far (30 hours later), no phone calls or emails from PBWorks. So I have not set up a wiki with them. They sounded friendly on their YouTube videos but so far the customer service is lousy. I decided to try WikiSpaces next. I filled out forms. However, when I reached the part about paying for the service, I backed away. I thought I read somewhere that WikiSpaces was giving away thousands of sites free to educators. Maybe they ran out of free sites or I did something wrong. (I think one thing I run out of quickly in this course is patience. I don't wait more than ten seconds before I move on if a site is not loading or something is not working.) I think that Shirley was able to create a WikiSpaces site. (My practice is that I don't read the other blogs about this new tool, until after I have completed my blog entries about that tool.)

Image representing Wetpaint Wiki as depicted i...Image via CrunchBase

I was left with my final choice which was WetPaint. Fortunately (kind of like being picked last for the team) they didn't know they were my #3 choice. I found their site very user-friendly. I set things up with full privacy. However today when I went back into the wiki, I realized that I was excluding my classmates and professor from even visiting the Caswell Homes Project wiki. So I threw the doors wide open so anybody can find the wiki and make changes. (It's back to the old, if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, did it really fall idea. Probably no one besides my classmates will read this wiki. No one will find it by happenstance.)

When I watched the video about PBWiki/Works, it sounded extremely easy to make new pages which linked with old pages. However, when I tried to do it that easy way (click on a word, turn it into a link, a new page opens), it did not work in WetPaint. Today I spent more time looking around at the Edit tools in WetPaint. I discovered that I first needed to create the page on my Table of Contents. Then I could highlight that word in my text on another page and link it to the corresponding page. Unfortunately I am already very muddled organizationally. I just jumped in feet first and started creating pages. I am hoping I can go back and put some organization into place. For example, with my Mom's input, I created two pages that really belong within a page that has not been created yet--the page for the house at 419 25th Street West. As well, after the fact, I have searched out some videos that will fill me in on some of the WetPaint ideas that I may have missed in my rush to get my wiki underway. Here are some links to WetPaint tutorial videos (As I reflect upon it, aren't these YouTube videos created by Digital Natives who are scaffoding for me (the Wiki novice) so that I can build a wiki.)
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1 comment:

  1. Hi Ruth,
    I truly feel for you and the frustrations in using a new Web 2.0 tool. This often happens to me and I think to myself "Why can't this one just work the first time through????" Unbelievable especially when it is supposed to be soooooo easy! But, we do learn best by the mistakes we (or others) make. Happy Learning! =)