Friday, August 04, 2006

Wikimania conference: free text book

In today's Boston Globe, there's an article called "A new high-tech take on school group project," by Kim-Mai Cutler. The piece describes how one professor, Sheizaf Rafaeli at the University of Haifa in Israel, "hated seeing his students shell out money for expensive, outdated textbooks. So he let them write one themselves."

What technology did he use? Why a Wiki of course because it's an ideal technology for collaborative authoring. Student entries were treated as essays in business course on topics that a text would normally have covered. Other instructors attended Wikimanina and told similar stories. One of my favorite that Cutler reports is this one: "Computer science teacher Vicki Davis of Georgia replaceda 200-question exam with a wiki project. She said that students learned more because they had to synthesize, source, and edit content instead of memorize and that quality went up because students interacted."

What a great use of technology and what an assessment improvement. In the Wiki use, questions are replaced with writing, and students get to show not only what they have learned, but also learn more as they show it. They go from memorizing to thinking, improving their memory of facts and data along the way.


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