Thursday, June 23, 2016

#DailyLEM13 Wikipedia Trail of Reading

Reading: Extra Credit. I've been wanting to expand on the "extra credit reading" options for my classes; that was a really good addition to the class last year because students can use it to just do more reading (if they like to read) or they can use it to make up for a missing reading assignment earlier in the week (there are two reading assignments, but it's fine if students just do one... and then, if they have time at the end of the week, they can use this extra credit to make up what they missed).

Wikipedia Trails. So, in the past, the extra credit option was just based on the regular reading options for the class. What I'd like to do next year is think about different kinds of reading options that could work for extra credit. One idea I had was a re-reading assignment (go back to something you read earlier in the semester, read it again, and see how it strikes you now in your next learning context), and another idea I want to try is this thing I am calling the "Wikipedia Trail." I wrote up a sample here: Wikipedia Trail: From Kalanos to the History of Hippies. I've also got a rough first version of the assignment guide there in the post.


Challenge Questions. Here are my responses to the challenge questions:

What is your desired experience for this activity? I want students to use their own curiosity to build a trail of learning, and I want them to share the results with the rest of the class. I hope they will be surprised where the trail leads. I did not expect to end up with hippies when I clicked on the ancient Indian philosopher Kalanos!

What kind of explanation or context is ideal for this kind of assignment? This fits easily into the class as I already make heavy use of Wikipedia in the notes and reading guides for both of my classes; students are already using Wikipedia in the class, so now the idea is to encourage them to be more adventurous in their use of Wikipedia.

How important is evidence in your model? The documentation of the trail is really important: if you don't keep track, it's easy to forget how you got from one place to another. I want students not just to find something cool at Wikipedia, but to document how they started at one place and ended up somewhere else.

What are some possible constraints for this design? I've suggested that students visit four articles minimum and find at least one image to share... I am curious if that is a good size constraint; I'll need to see how it goes to get a sense of that.

Sharing the Trails. I'll ask the students to include WikipediaTrail in their blog posts, and then I can use Inoreader to automatically populate a Pinterest Board with the results. I'm excited that I learned how to do that automatically when I did the Community Portfolio Challenge. That Wikipedia Trails Board is one that I can use together for both classes and also over multiple semesters. It will be a growing document of people following their own curiosity!

Make Learning Visible. So, I'm really excited about the possibilities that this can open up. As part of the whole "make learning visible" strategy, I think this idea of building Wikipedia trails could be really fun, and I will highlight people's blog posts in the daily announcements to encourage them to choose this option. I would be thrilled if everybody wanted to do this every week even if it is just extra credit! I'll probably do one every day myself just because I love to explore Wikipedia and see where it takes me. And it looks like the hashtag #WikipediaTrail is already being used at Twitter as others share their Wikipedia wanderings. Perfect!

Based on my first post, I started the Wikipedia Trails Pinterest Board, and I should be able to get it nicely populated with my own curiosity trails before the semester begins.


And here's the design drawing (click for full-sized view at Google):