There are a lot of great tools out there: high-tech, low-tech, no-tech, and everything in between. Some tools are for individuals, some for organizations, some for both. Though all of these tools will likely work for some of the people some of the time, it is very unlikely that these tools will work for everyone. An example of a tool tried but not successful is documented in My Brilliant Failure: Wikis In Classrooms from Kairosnews.
I wanted to share with the participants my experience of collaborating in a wiki environment, and how it feels to have someone else edit your document, how you see a concept from someone else’s mind map…. But finally, I ended up using wiki as pumped-up PowerPoint. It turns out I changed the tool, but did not change the practice. It was WikiLite.
An experienced wiki developer told me that people come to him from “academia” and wanted to know questions such as: “how can I use this in my classroom”. What they don’t realize is that there is a great potential in this tool to be completely disruptive (in a good way) to the classroom setting. At this point, I made a connection to an article by Scardamalia and Bereiter about ‘Computer Support for Knowledge Building Communities’ which called for no less than restructuring our concept of ‘schools’ to allow for student to student interaction, negotiating meaning, and knowledge construction.
For my part, I’ve tried many new gadgets and apps over the years, some which I still use and some which never got past the early use stage. For the latter it was mostly because those gadgets and apps didn’t quite live up to my expectations (or their promises), but some were because they required me to change too much. This article is a good example of how sometimes it is a good thing to change my ways in the interest of progress.