Last year our science facility adopted a science content map, and since then I have shared instructional materials mostly by emailing the science faculty content files. This practice quickly saturates our email capacity. A Web site allows our department to share instructional materials while proving an online storage location for materials. The site will also expose our English Learners to virtual learning workspaces. The primary function of collaboration tool, is a critical element for our department’s effort in advancing student learning in science and English language acquisition.
Exploring three Wiki sites, Code Blue , Digital Research Tools (DiRT), and Discovery Utopias, borrowed several key format features to put together what is virtual workspace for my department. My goal for the site is that it fully contain the science map
content resources. This will allow for more consistency in our instruction practices. The three sites I visited were inviting to look at and I also found navigating through the Web pages to be very easy. Code Blue is a Life Science site, and the subject materials
target the human body. The learning materials are the same types of items most lessons require, such as topic content pages, content links, subject worksheets, and lots of colorful images. There is also a page for student publishing, a great way for students to experience peer-learning. This page would be more effective with the use of a plug-in that allows students to blog and experience the read-write component Richardson (2010) advocates for higher learning with topic reflections. Digital Research Tools (DiRT) is a resource site and provides tools and information for research and documentation. It is a must have site for graduate students and educators. Discovery Utopias is a student centered virtual classroom. Middle school students lead a collaborative learning community focusing on social studies. Once all the content materials for our department site are uploaded, the next step will be to support more student directed learning and student publishing such as the examples at Discovery Utopias.
Richardson, W. (2010) “Blogs, wikis, podcasts and other powerful web tools for classrooms.” Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.