Introduction

Social computing is essential to the lives of today's teachers and students yet K-12 curriculum rarely reflects this deep, interdisciplinary integration.[1] Engaging formally with pervasive computing enables a learning community to use a variety of frameworks to observe and explore the technological apparatus of their day-to-day activities. Teachers in many schools miss the opportunity to draw on the rich experience and curiosity of their students as discussions of computing are relegated to elective periods and after-school programs. These schools will benefit tremendously from a holistic view of computing that considers its role across the curriculum.

Institutions that implement interdisciplinary computing profit socially as well as academically. These institutions take a positive, proactive approach to the questions raised by the online lives of their students. This foundation establishes a shared vocabulary and set of expectations to guide the school through curricular design, policy-making, and disciplinary action. By its nature, social computing leaves traces. When integrated with academic activities, these artifacts make learning visible and provide new points of entry to engage families and friends of the school community.

It is natural for teachers to share strategies and learning materials with one another. As the school explores social computing together, teachers can draw threads from the community-wide discourse into their discipline-specific pursuits. They may also design more technologically rich projects knowing that the students share a set of foundational information-management skills. Computer Science teachers will not left out of a job; quite the contrary. Free of the pressure to address the myriad aspects of personal computing in a single course, they will finally be free to focus on the core competencies of their discipline: computation, algorithms, data structures, etc.

Although there are many ways to frame them, social computing technologies impact the way that students today engage with and construct their culture and identity.[2] Taking their online lives seriously shows respect for this exploration and engages multiple learning styles and literacies. Exposing the tensions in online culture opens space in the school community for other difficult conversations on topics of identity, difference, bullying, sexuality, language, and justice. Students for whom the classroom environment is not a safe space for participation may find their voice in text. And as there exists no canon in this space, students and teachers must learn and explore together.

The curriculum materials I present below are designed to be as flexible as possible. A teacher of any discipline can implement some or all of the activities. I explicitly link writing to social computing spaces (email, blogs, and wikis) as much to remind reluctant teachers of their expertise as to highlight the potential of these new modes to strengthen students' "traditional" literacies. Although I title the lessons "Week 0" and "Week 1", they may be adapted to different course structures. One particularly powerful implementation would be to introduce all of the material as part of a week-long orientation at the start of the school year.

There are several weak areas in this curriculum sequence that deserve further attention. More time should be dedicated to discussing the implications of writing in publicly archived, indexable spaces. How will students respond to this level of exposure? I suspect vast potential audience of the Web is as anxiety-producing for some as it is inspiring to others. There are small assignments suggested for each session to give teachers a sense of the students' progress but I leave more formal assessment to discipline-specific projects. To this support this arrangement, it would be useful to gather educators from a variety of disciplines and grade-levels to devise a comprehensive rubric to accompany this curriculum.

In the future, I would like to explore the possibility of adding "code" to the writing skills covered by this curriculum. An introduction to programming languages could follow the existing exploration of hypertext markup languages. Approaching code as a specialized form of writing could have surprising and delightful results as it foregrounds the philosophical question of audience; a rare arrangement for introductory programming courses. Who is the audience for code-writing? Is it the compiler or interpreter? Is it the machine? Or is it the end-user?

In the quarter-century since the first labs of Apple IIs and IBM PCjrs were built, students and teachers have found numberous assistive applications for computer-based tools. While their impact on standardized test scores and classroom pedagogy may have been "oversold", their affect on the lives of their users has not. Outside of their classroom experience, teachers and students are engaged users of creative computing technology. By drawing these experiences into the curriculum across disciplines instead of confining them to a single elective, we simultaneously render personal computing banal and free its revolutionary potential.

Footnotes

[1] Cuban, Larry. "Oversold, Underused: Computers in the Classroom". Harvard University Press. 2001.

[2] Gasser, Urs and Palfrey, John. "Born Digital: Connecting with a Global Generation of Digital Natives". Basc Civitas Books. 2008.

Overview

This is a flexible unit of ten 50-minute lessons to guide younger students through the various modes of writing online. In particular, we cover search queries, emails, blogs, and wikis.

Essential Questions

  • How can the computer help me do what I want to do?
  • What is freewriting?
  • Why is maintaining a consistent email address useful?
  • What does a professional email look like?
  • What is the difference between a blog and a paper journal?
  • How will anyone find your blog?
  • What other tags can I use in my blog posts?
  • I'm looking for something. It's probably on the web. How do I find it?
  • What special features are hidden in Google specifically?
  • How can a group collaborate on a single document?
  • How do I add new pages to a wiki?
  • How do you make sense of a new web service?

Content

  • Managing multiple online identities
  • Email courtesy
  • Publishing a blog
  • Maintaining a wiki
  • Smarter searching
  • Reflecting about your online experiences
  • Sharing your learning with others

Assumptions

This unit makes the following assumptions:

  • The classroom has at least a 1:2 computer:student ratio
  • The classroom has unfiltered Internet access
  • The classroom teacher has access to a computer with a projector
  • The class will be thirty or fewer students
  • "Groups" means clusters of four or five students
  • "Pairs" means two or three

Implementation notes

This unit is designed to be as flexible as possible. They should fit as well in a homeroom or advising period as they might during a "computer" class. Likewise, activities may be sliced out and fit into any number of existing sequences.

Although filtered Internet access is unfortunately becoming a reality in K-12, it often fails to filter data that could actually offend. As such, it is important to check all of the sites you plan to use in class in advance.

Week 0

EQs

  • What is freewriting?
  • Why is maintaining a consistent email address useful?

Goal

Students will ...

  • experience freewriting
  • create a professional email alias
  • explore secure password strategies

Freewrite

Every class meeting begins with a short freewriting session.

During this time, students sit at their desks with scrap paper and pens or pencils. All screens are turned off. There is a prompt and a timing device visible to everyone in the room.

The teacher should have a timing mechanism that is visible to everyone in the classroom. A projected http://www.google.com/search?q=teachtimer Teach Timer is ideal but a wall clock is sufficient.

Students locate a piece of scrap paper. This paper can be taken from anywhere, even the recycling bin.

The duration of time given to freewriting will depend on the particular character of each group of people. A typical freewrite for a group of 14-16 year olds might be :30 but freewriting can be as short as :10 or as long as 5 minutes.

Freewriting need not stay on topic. It need not make an argument. It need not be in English, or any known language. Simply keep your pen or pencil moving and write EVERYTHING that comes into your mind! Even writing random thoughts like, "This is stupid. I don't know what to write. La la la," is OK!

Remind students that they will never be asked to hand in their freewrites. They will never be graded and they will never be collected. It is totally private.

Everyone in the room participates in the freewrite. It may be tempting to use this quiet time to conference with a student or prepare materials for class but students will be looking to the adults in the room to model freewriting.

There are many reasons for freewriting:

  • Flex your mind like stretching before athletics
  • Relax after a stressful class
  • Think more about a problem
  • Organize a thought before a class discussion
Students will discover more as the year goes on. It is useful to occasionally go meta with recurring activities like freewriting to see what the students think about them.

For this first class, I suggest the following freewriting prompt:

  • How many passwords do you know? What is the maximum number of passwords you can remember at one time? How did you select your most used password?
Budget a few minutes following all freewrites to chat. Did anyone think of something interesting they'd like to share? Was there a question from the last meeting that you can now answer briefly?

As this is the first class, you will need time to establish classroom norms and describe the features of your lab. Many schools also require students to sign a user agreement. This may also be a good time to pass out these forms.

Activities

Selecting a professional alias

Two primary goals drive this activity:

  • Avoiding spam filters
  • Tying your professional name to your email address
A few years ago, I had a student who could not seem to connect with an advisor for her senior project. Only by calling him on the phone did she discover that his email server was filtering her address: seximami92@hotmail.com.

Give students a set of hard limits. Perhaps their aliases must be 8 characters or fewer. Offer several examples but stress the connection between the name they will use professionally with the email address.

Password strategies

The ideal password is ''easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess.'' Hand out the password worksheet and discuss a few strategies for creating such passwords. Next, give students 5 minutes to invent their own personalized strategy. This is a great time to circulate and check in with students.

Signing up for an email address

Each institution will implement this activity differently. Unless your school IT team can support all of the students, you may guide students through sign up for free service like Gmail or Yahoo. There could be an interesting discussion about the implications of selecting one service over another. Encourage students to share their experiences with these free services in the past. Does seeing ''@yahoo.com'' mean something?

Some people have more than one email address. For example, teachers! Why would someone want the hassle of maintaining two inboxes?

Homework

Share your email address with the students. They can then give you their new addresses by emailing you.

Note

Teachers may wish to gather passwords from younger users. It is important to encourage students to regularly check these inboxes but inevitably a few students will forget their passwords each week.

Week 1

EQ

  • What does a professional email look like?

Goal

Students will be able to...

  • compose a professional email
  • take advantage of spell check tools
  • read emails with Re: and Fwd: subjects and bracketed quotes
  • use CC: and BCC:

Freewrite

  • What are things that you have typed but never spoken out loud?

Activities

Project the email client your class is using. Open a new message.

Look at the apparatus. What makes the process of composing a new email different from writing a traditional letter?

  • Subject line, Subject/Body distinction
  • Multiple recipients
  • Rich text options
  • Instantly sent
  • ...etc, etc.
(Students will likely come up with this list with just a little prompting.)

Subject line

What do your recipients see first when you write them?

  • Email address
  • Subject line
We already have a professional email address. What makes a subject line professional? Why can't you just write "Hello"?

  • Spam! Again!
  • Capitalization
  • Preview of what's to come
Find some real-life models. Perhaps there are messages from your school's internal email that model this well.

Break your class into groups. Pass out strips of paper with short email messages and challenge them to write compelling subject lines. (5 mins)

When time runs out, have the reporter in each group share the group's subject line. Ideally, you can project the original messages and fill in the student subject lines.

Keep the students sitting in groups ...

To, CC, BCC

Like many of the terms in personal computing, "CC" has roots in office culture: carbon-copy. If you can get your hands on some carbon paper, bring it in! Some schools use carbon paper on medical forms. You can also get it at arts and crafts stores: http://www.sherwoodonline.com/item.asp?id=1589

The difference between CC and BCC is rather subtle so this time, we'll pass out slips of paper with situations on them. Groups will have time to decide whether to use CC or BCC and prepare a defense for this decision. (5 mins)

Depending on the time, space, and size of the group, you can debrief this activity in a number of ways. The simplest is to the ask groups to report back as they did from the previous activity. A more fun report back is to use the "axis of agreement" activity in which everyone stands up and moves around. You give each reporter a chance to make their case and then students arrange themselves along a line in the floor from "agree" to "disagree". You can then tap people from the distribution for comment.

''Note:'' Many clients have collapsed To: and CC: into a single field. If this is the case, "CC" is still a useful vocabulary word as it is often used as a verb. For example, "Please CC me on that!"

Reading Incoming Mail

Many of the students will be familiar with the basics of email but it is useful to look at the three models of quoting behavior together - inline comments, comments atop a stack of previous replies, and comments below a quoted reply. Through this short, if dry, exercise, you can establish a vocabulary for talking about email: "quoting", "forward", "reply."

Depending on time, you might take this opportunity to talk about "forward" used as a noun. What is "a forward"?

Homework

  • Each student should select a teacher in the school. Their assignment for the week is to ask that person for his or her email address, compose a professional message about classwork, and send it with a CC to you.

Week 2

EQ

  • What is the difference between a blog and a paper journal?

Goal

Students will...

  • set up a blog
  • write their first post

Freewrite

  • If you could write a note to yourself two years in the future, what would it say?

Activities

Before this class, you should select a blogging platform to use in your class. If your school has consistent access to the web, you may choose a platform like Blogger or Wordpress. Other situations might require different setups.

Be forewarned (and warn your students), the process of signing up for things in groups can be really tedious so everyone just needs to hang on and help each other out. By the end of class, everyone should have a new blog.

What is the point?

Web + Log = Weblog; 'blog' How is a blog like the log a captain keeps on his ship?

Break students up into pairs and send them to a machine. Make a list of blogs and give each pair a blog URL to explore. They should be able to answer these two questions:

  • How often is this blog updated?
  • Who would enjoy reading it?
(5 min)

Circulate and see who has interesting things to say. Ask if they are comfortable sharing their observations. When the time runs out, throw a couple of those blogs up on the screen and ask students to describe them.

Our blogs will definitely be used for documenting projects we are working on in school. How else might they be used?

Students make take this conversation toward the question of what is appropriate on their school blog. Ask them to consider people that have two or more blogs and websites. Why would they do that?

The Naming of Blogs

Demonstrate creating a new blog on the projector. Pairs will then create a blog for each student. Circulate and help people get unstuck.

One common error is that students confuse their username, URL, and blogtitle.

  • Must your blog's title and URL match?
  • How does your URL compare to your email alias?
This is going to take at least 15 minutes.

Your first post

At least half of the class has succeeded in creating their blogs (i.e. at least one person in each pairing), bring attention back to the projector and demo the creation of a first post. Ask students to guide you through the process based on their instincts and experience with email.

''Note:'' Depending on your blog software, you may have to mention tags or categories here. This is up to your discretion.

Nearly all blog software makes a distinction between "draft" posts and "published" posts. Another common error students will make is to write posts but never publish them. This can be especially frustrating.

Homework

Two simple tasks:

  • Find time to make a first post
  • The student will then copy-paste the address of the blog into an email to you.
''Notes:'' by now you should have an email address and a blog URL for each student.

Week 3

EQ

  • How will anyone find your blog?

Goal

Students will...

  • code a link using HTML's anchor tag
  • (be able to explain the need for permalinks)

Freewrite

  • How do you know where to click on a webpage?
''Note:'' http://blogoscoped.com/click/ click survey is a fascinating tangent to take from this discussion.

Activities

Return to last week's EQ. What makes a blog different from a journal? Hyperlinks! Links make the web.

Links need two things:

  • Something to click on
  • Somewhere to go

Project a website and mouse-over a text link. Indicate the URL in the status bar. Something to click on; somewhere to go.

Next, demonstrate using the "View Source" feature of your browser to display the code making up the page you see. Introduce the idea of the browser as an interpreter. Use the search feature to locate the link you were hovering over before. Isolate the text and it's anchor tag and copy-paste it into a text editor with very large font size.










Show them the destination and anchor text. Let students know how weird this is and that you'll mess with it for a while. No sweat, right?

Break the students up into pairs and give each a URL. These sites should be really simple but full of weird, fun information. Pages from and about web history are a great start. Try to find sites without Flash or crazy Javascript to make the code less hairy.

Challenge each pair to find a link and isolate it in the code just like you did. (5 mins)

Putting a link on our blog

Show students how to open a new tab in their browser window with their blog admin panel. Demonstrate creating a new post in which they can use HTML tags.

Paste this code into the blog post and save it. View the new post and click the link. Flip back to the code. What are the kinds of errors that can break this? Students will quickly learn how easy it is to make syntax errors.

This time, alter the two components to the link. Change the clickable anchor text and change the destination.

Does the anchor text matter? Compare "click here" with the subject line "Hello" in writing emails. It tells us so little! (You might also mention here the impact that anchor text and links have on bookmarking and Google indexing.)

If we are successful, everyone will have a customized link on their latest post!

Linking to other blogs

''Note:'' Lots of things can go wrong in the earlier part of this lesson so this activity is time-permitting.

The first thing to notice about our blogs now is that the new post has pushed down the old one. This is because blogs display information in '''reverse-chronological order.''' This means that linking to blogs is a problem.

What happens after a few weeks if you link directly to my blog URL?

To solve this problem, we can link to a post directly via its "permalink." Sometimes permalinks are difficult to find. Have students locate their permalinks. Round-up this activity by projecting a variety of student blogs and asking students to point out their permalinks.

Homework

  • Compose a paragraph about a website you often visit. Explain what brings you there. Do you recommend it to others? Provide a link to this website.

Week 4

EQ

  • What other tags can I use in my blog posts?

Goal

Students will...

  • master a subset of XHTML tags useful across a variety of platforms.
  • be able to access extended ASCII characters

Freewrite

  • Dramatically describe your earliest memory of the World Wide Web?
How did you find it? What did you think?

The discussion that follows this freewrite can go off into myriad fascinating directions. Go with the flow. Students are rarely asked to reflect on the technology in their lives. Where does it come from? What origin myths are in place? Share your own stories in contrast. What does everyone imagine today's 3rd graders might say in the future?

Activities

Outline in some detail the transactions among a user, a browser, and a webserver. Where is the code we see in View Source in this process? Why do we call it "markup language?"

HTML is platform-independent. Beside your blogs, where else do you see markup languages? (Students may anticipate future lessons and mention Wikipedia. They may also mention messageboards like PhpBB that implement a special kind of markup.)

Why does HTML use angle brackets? Would you have chosen a different character?

HTML Essentials

  • p: paragraph
  • a: anchor
  • h1, h2, h3, h4, h5: headings
  • em: emphasis
  • img: image

Hotlinking Images

All images on the web have a unique URL. With most modern browsers, you can get this URL using a "Copy Image Location" feature.

Demonstrate constructing the self-closing img tag:




<span style="font&#45;size: 12px"><img src="<em>url</em>" alt="<em>description</em>"<em> /></em></span>








Why alt? What happens if the URL is broken? What if you are blind? Do blind people use the web? What do they experience?

What are the ethics of hotlinking?

Where are the accent marks and non-English characters?

First, ask the class. There are many ways to access the extended ASCII set and it is likely that students in class have already developed strategies. Type their methodology into the class notes as they come to the front of the class to demonstrate.

Demonstrate the method implemented by your operating system. For example, in Windows, if you have a full-sized keyboard, you can access these characters by holding down alt and typing the four-digit ASCII codes on the number pad.

Describe the 255 characters in the ASCII set. How many can be reproduced with a single or double keyboard press? If students challenge you, ask for a demonstration.

We can access the rest of the characters in a number of ways. One of the most reliable on the web is to use an HTML tag such as this one: ¿ which corresponds to the decimal ASCII code (191) for an inverted exclamation point.

There are many resources on the web for these codes. At the time of this writing, it appears that http://www.ascii.cl/htmlcodes.htm is an up-to-date listing. It is probably best to identify the characters that will be most needed by your students. Create a handout with this curated list and pass it out in class as well as posting it up around the classroom where others will be able to encounter it. You may find that students have never typed their names with the appropriate characters before!

Homework

  • Compose a paragraph for each of these questions:
  • What is an object that you know very well? How did you become an expert?
  • What is an object that '''knows you''' very well? How do you know that it knows you?
  • Post a rich version of this piece of writing. Link to more information about your object and/or include images.

Week 5

''Note'': Meetings 5 and 6 are about searching. The ideal implementation of this idea will fit with research happening in another course. You can then use the material from the other class to inform all of the examples you use in this class. It might also inspire different freewrites and homework assignments.

EQ

  • I'm looking for something. It's probably on the web. How do I find it?

Goal

Students will...

  • be able to identify keywords and phrases for a search
  • differentiate sponsored links from "authentic" results

Freewrite

  • When is the last time you had to search for something on the web?
The resulting conversation should flow right into your instructions for the day's activities.

Activities

Most search engines are not http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_language_processing Natural Language Processors. They try to intuit what you are looking for by analyzing your input for patterns, keywords, and commands. Anything you can do to be more specific will help this along.

Prepare a few search topics in advance of class relevant to events in your community. Definitely try them out a few times to make sure you aren't going to be too surprised by what pops up in class.

Model the process by which you would travel from a question to a list of keywords.

Question: ''How many dogs live at the White House?''

Keywords: dogs, white, house, president, pets, bush, george, how, many

Break the class up into groups and give each group a slip of paper with a question on it. Circulate as the groups brainstorm keywords. (2 min)

Selecting Keywords

Call attention back to the front of the room. The best keywords will fit certain criteria:

  • Specific
  • Unique
  • Anticipating your answer
What does it mean to anticipate your answer? You should know the form that your answer will take. Try to imagine what the page containing your answer will look like. What words would likely be on there?

Now have the groups arrange their keywords from best (most specific, unique) to worst. (2 min)

Keyphrases

Sometimes, we will want to combine multiple words, e.g. White and House. To do this, we can create a keyphrase by enclosing them with double-quotes, "White House."

Keyphrases are particularly useful in these cases,

  • Quotes
  • Proper nouns (Names, Titles)
  • Familiar phrases (Lyrics)
Can you think of more?

Do any groups have keyphrases?

Creating a query

There is an elegance to composing a query or a search string as Google's algorithm regularly changes. Sometimes you have to massage it to find what you want.

  • Order your keywords in importance, left-to-right
  • Try repeating a keyword multiple times
  • Always repeat your search with multiple queries to stir up the results
Give each group time to craft a few search queries. (3 min)

Have them gather around ONE machine and try them out. Ask them to stay on the results page.

Reading Results

Use magnified examples on the overhead to break down the anatomy of a search result.

  • Sponsored Links
  • Results
  • What is IN a result?
Wait… what IS a sponsored link?

Homework

  • Teach a friend or family member how do sharpen their search skills. Compose a paragraph or two on the blog about the experience. Which techniques did you share? What did they find difficult? What was easy? Do you think they will continue to use the skills you shared with them?

Week 6

EQ

  • What special features are hidden in Google specifically?

Goal

Students will...

  • logically construct their search queries
  • implement a variety of search techniques

Freewrite

  • How often do you look at the second page of search results?
Hopefully this discussion offers space to follow up on open questions from your last class meeting.

Activities

Today is a good day to let students break down into pairs and jam on their own for a while.

Boolean logic

Depending on the age and math background of your students, you may find that explaining Boolean logic in terms of set notation or systems of equations is helpful.

  • AND, '''implicit in all multi-keyword queries'''
  • OR, |
  • NOT, -
  • nesting, ()
  • phrase, ""
Nesting is often most useful with the OR operator. For example, to look for molecular biology activities on Cambridge university campuses, you might search for:

"molecular biology" (MIT OR Harvard) -spring

Give each pair 2 or 3 challenges in narrative form like this. Leave blank spaces for them to create more challenges. When it seems like people are starting to drift, announce that everyone must switch papers. The scenario writers can decide how much help they want to offer.

Special operators

Give out a special operators handout after groups have been working for a while. Rather than give it to everyone at once, give it to just one or two pairs. Who gets curious?

Don't explain these operators but challenge the students to experiment with them, figure out how they work, and what they do.

  • ''n..m''
    • "red sox" 1999..2002
    • "cd player" $20..$30
  • ''site:''
    • site:ibm.com "thinkpad t40"
    • site:mit.edu "tae kwon do"
  • intitle:
    • intitle:"computer science" robot
  • inurl:
    • inurl:edu "new england"

References

Homework

  • In one paragraph, identify a weakness of Google.
  • In a second paragraph, suggest a direction they might take toward fixing this problem.

Week 7

EQ

  • How can a group collaborate on a single document?

Goal

Students will...

  • be familiar with the driving concept of a wiki
  • log in to the wiki
  • edit a page

Freewrite

  • Think of a time that you worked well in a group.
What are the characteristics of a strong group project?

Activities

Everyone always asks and it's nice to have an answer: wiki is a Hawaiian word that means "quick."

Unlike the blogging activities, I strongly recommend using MediaWiki software for your class wiki. Because Wikipedia uses MediaWiki, your students will be able to more easily transfer their learning between the two sites.

Creating a login

This process will depend on your setup but provide time for students to sign up for the wiki and establish a persistent identity. I suggest limiting editing to people with usernames only and limiting registration. Unfortunately, there is a considerable possibility for abuse and bullying within a class wiki.(15min)

Create your User Page

Every user on a MediaWiki installation has a homepage. This is his or her little place on the site. It also provides an excellent scratch pad for experimenting with the MediaWiki markup langauge.

Break the class into pairs and remind the students of what they learned about HTML. Pass out a reference sheet about MediaWiki syntax. Demonstrate editing an existing page, adding a heading, adding a link, and saving the changes. Make note of the difference between linking to another wiki page and linking to a URL elsewhere on the web.

Require students to post links to their blogs on their homepages but otherwise give them some freedom to plant a flag. (15min)

Homework

  • Create a username and User page on Wikipedia
  • Link your school User page to your Wikipedia User page.

Week 8

EQ

  • How do I add new pages to a wiki?

Goal

Students will...

  • add new pages to the wiki
  • be able to read the history of a page

Freewrite

  • Have you ever worked on a project that could have benefited from a wiki?
What kinds of teams and projects fit well with a wiki? Which might not?

Activities

Stubs are the beginnings of new pages. There are three primary methods for starting them:

Stub, URL method

Point your browser to a URL that does not yet exist. MediaWiki will report that the page does not exist and ask you if you would like to create it. If you do, you will be taken to the editor. Once you click Save, the page is created.

Stub, Search method

Enter the title for your new page into the search bar. If no page with that name exists, you will be prompted to create one.

Stub, Link method

Edit an existing page. Create a link somewhere on this page and save your changes. You will notice that the new link is red. This means that it points to a page that does not yet exist. Click on your new link and you will be prompted to create a new page.

School knowledge base

Many organizations maintain a searchable archive of institutional knowledge. What is something you know that no one else knows about life at school? What perplexes you about life at school?

Use the URL or Search method to create a stub for something you think we should have in our knowledge base.

What if two people try to edit the same page?

''Note:'' Shorter class periods may choose to omit this exercise.

Set up an intentional conflict between the computer being projected and one of the student accounts. Walkthrough the process by which these conflicts are resolved.

Wiki history

Explore the History tab. Demonstrate comparing two instances of a page. There will likely be articles with lengthier histories on Wikipedia. Prepare a few articles that have big jumps.

e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Barack_Obama&diff=257012082&oldid=4864242 Barack Obama before his speech to the DNC on 27 July 2004

Homework

Choose one of the following three assignments:

  • Find a controversial article in Wikipedia; one that is constantly being edited, locked, and discussed. Summarize the conflict on your blog and provide a link to the relevant page.
  • Select one of the stubs on our wiki to develop into a full-fledged page. Post a link to this new page on your blog.
  • Post a paragraph or more on your blog suggesting an alternative method for resolving edit conflicts

Week 9

EQ

  • How do you make sense of a new web service?

Goal

Students will...

  • sign up for and explore a new web service
  • be able to explain it's utility to someone else
  • compare it to existing web services

Freewrite

  • Have you ever moved from one sit to the next? From Club Penguin to Neopets? From MySpace to Facebook? From Yahoo to Gmail? What was it like?

Activities


Break the class into groups and give each group the URL to a webservice none of them have ever seen. They will have 20 minutes to sign up, explore the site, try out some of the features, and prepare a short (2 min) presentation to the rest of the class.

  • Who is the audience for this site?
  • Does it overlap with existing technology?
  • Does it build on an existing site or practice or community?
  • Did you enjoy your time on this site?
  • What would you change about it?
  • Will you return?

Homework

  • Post a paragraph to your blog describing your experience of this new site. Be sure to provide relevant links!

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