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Learning and Teaching with ICT

Assignment 3: Before Tasks

Unit of Work: Authentic Learning Environment (Bullying Wiki)


Many pre-learning tasks are desirable so that learning can be maximised from the wiki task, however, a disadvantageous decision can sometimes be made to compartmentalise the skills required for participating in cooperative groups to spend a lot of time working on these with students before implementing online tasks. While there is a definite advantage, as reflected by Woo, Chu, Ho and Li (2011) in students rehearsing skills such as taking turns, providing feedback to one another and conceding to the group majority, working on the wiki can be a catalyst for practicing and facilitating the development of such skills. In the real context of authentic tasks such as the Bullying Wiki, the learning of such skills can be more meaningful than if they are taught in isolation. Cooperative skills develop over time and are definitely enhanced by incorporating these into the teaching and learning environment. Prior rehearsing of such skills will definitely be advantageous to students participating in the wiki.

Table 1 provides a non-exhaustive list of skills that could be incorporated into learning prior to the wiki and/or during the task as well as suggestions for developing these skills, appropriate to the needs of the students.


Table 1. Skills that students may benefit from developing prior the Bullying Wiki task with suggestions.


Opportunities to Rehearse

Taking Turns

Card Games, Physical Team Games (such as Tunnel Ball, Leader Ball and Flag Races), Board Games, Charades, Follow the Leader activities, Pass the Bear (the speaker is the one holding the teddy bear or other object).

Active Listening

Triad Listening Activities (in groups of three, one students is the presenter, one is the listener and one is the observer), Think, Pair, Share tasks where students have to share an idea from their partner, student constructed Placemats and Y-Charts on the concept of Active Listening.

Providing Feedback Constructively

Role Playing, Teacher Modeling, Tuning Protocol (warm and cool feedback), English tasks that investigate Peaceful Verbs.

Note Taking

Note Taking Graphic Organisers, keyword highlighting tasks.


Graphic Organiser Summarising Frameworks, Jigsaw Cooperative Learning Strategy, Inside Outside Circles.

Conflict Management

Role Playing, English Tasks investigating Peaceful and Assertive Verbs, Brainstorms about how conflict makes you feel and about finding solutions, students could create classroom posters outlining steps for Conflict Management.


Role Playing Tasks, Oral Language activities including presentation to the class or small groups such as News Telling.

Conceding to the Group Majority

Role Playing, cooperative learning tasks involving decision making such as Placemats and Silent Card Shuffles.

Accepting Individual Strengths and Differences

Warm Fuzzy Tasks, ‘I Like You Because…’ box where students draw out a name of another student, write a comment, put it back in the box and the teacher reads them (done anonymously), T-Charts: Everyone is the same/different because…, Uniqueness of Me type activities, cultural understanding activities.

Making Decisions

Tasks requiring students to work in groups and create steps to solving problems, goal setting tasks.

Technological Troubleshooting

Create a ‘strengths’ chart of the students that highlights those who feels able to be called upon to fix certain problems, teacher modeling.


Wiki Related Resources

It would be worthwhile investigating the following videos and websites about wikis. They provide a very straight forward overview that will allow teachers to maximise their students’ learning through this excellent learning medium.

Wikis in Plain English - video
This excellent video provides a simple audio-visual explanation about wikis. It is extremely entertaining and explains the wiki concept extremely well. I would recommend this video to gain an understanding about wikis. It makes perfect sense after watching this 3½  minute video.



Teachers First Wiki Ideas - website
This website contains some fantastic ideas about how wikis can be utilised in classrooms. These ideas are categorised in a variety of ways including subject area, reasons for using wikis, different thought processes that are enhanced and also includes a section for younger students and teachers. It is well worth investigating the ideas on this website.



Wikispaces - website
This is one of the best sites for creating wikis for Primary School students. For education, wikis are free to create, advertising free and can be privately protected so that only the members (students and teacher) can have access. Creating wikis with Wikispaces is very easy and the functions provided are great. There are also many attractive templates to choose from. The Bullying Wiki was created via Wikispaces.




Bullying Related Resources

Included in the Bullying Wiki are some links to quality websites and videos related to the concept of bullying that can provide a starting point or useful source of information for the students. It would be very useful for teachers to familiarise themselves with some or all of these resources before commencing the task with a class. Each resource is annotated below and a linked screenshot provided.


Bullying. No Way! - website
This website is full of resources for students, parents and teachers about bullying, including cyber bullying. Links to support services for students experiencing bullying are also included and there are also activities related to bullying including digital colouring in pictures and games. This site is valuable!



Bully Beware - website
This site is a great resource for educators with a number of bullying surveys that can be used and some links to research on bullying. There is also information for students including Frequently Asked Questions. There is also a good section on cyber bullying.

bully beware


Bully Blocking - website
This is a very informative website that suggests strategies for the bullied as well as the bully. The concept behind the site is about blocking the bully. There is a very interesting You Tube video about bullying and lots of useful information about school bullying. This is a fine resource.



It’s My Life - website
PBS Kids always produce high quality resources for school aged students and this is no exception. Included in this site are bullying games, surveys and advice on bullying. There is also a link to celebrity stories. Also addressed is bystander behaviour. A brilliant resource!



Stop Cyber Bullying - website
This is another great website about cyber bullying and includes sections targeted at different age groups. There is a lot of information specifically about online bullying and how to try and prevent it as well as a great cyber detective game that students can play.



Webonauts Internet Academy - website
Webonauts is an engaging online learning task in which students can participate. It is specifically directed at teaching online bullying concepts and how to prevent it. It is very fun for students and highly motivating.



How to Deal With the Bullies - video
This video provides some advice to students about strategies to deal with bullying. It is directed mainly at Primary School aged students and focuses on positive actions that can be taken. It is very useful.



Words Hurt - video
This short video commercial is focused on verbal bullying. It features a group of teenage girls verbally abusing another girl. This video contains an element of shock value as the unkind words are seen flying through the air as text and hitting the victim. It is short but very effective.



How to Deal With A Bully - video
This is a very positive video that explains strategies that can be employed to deal with bullying such as remaining positive, finding a starting point and learning from mistakes. The video highlights the fact that many victims of bullying have low self esteem. This is well worth watching.




Online Tool Resources

There are numerous Web 2.0 tools that can be used to enhance presentations and below is a short and annotated list of those recommended to students on the Bullying Wiki. Students will undoubtedly be aware of or be able to find other useful tools that they can choose to utilise. It would be extremely worthwhile investigating some of these tools before beginning the wiki to provide an idea of the level of polish that is achievable with the finished product. Included are linked screenshots of the websites and videos.


Pod Bean - website
This is a great audio podcasting resource that contains hundreds of categorised podcasts as well as many audio channels. Podcasts can also be uploaded with ease and shared with the world. It is well worth investigating this site.



Voice Thread - website
Voice Thread is an audio, video, text commentary presentation site that provides access to many shared audio-visual resources. It is extremely easy to create new Voice Threads and upload them to the site. This is one of the best online tools for this type of medium. A top site!



Prezi - website
This is a professional looking zooming presentation tool that allows you to create and store your slideshows in the cloud (online). It provides a new and innovative way to create and view your presentations and allows you to upload files up to 50MB to include in them. There are many examples on the site and it is very easy to use. An impressive tool!



Present Me - website
This website is a very useful tool for virtually presenting your slideshows. It allows you to upload your presentation (including Power Point or Keynote) to the cloud and use a webcam to record a video of yourself talking to the slides. Both the slides and your video are presented side by side and this is an excellent an simple tool to use. It comes highly recommended!



Wordle - website
Wordle is a brilliant online tool for creating ‘word clouds’ from text (not the same 'cloud' as in 'cloud computing'). The user provides the text and the more times a word appears in this, the larger and bolder the word appears in the Wordle. There are many design and colour choices available to the user. This is a creative and fun tool!



Make Beliefs Comix - website
This is really engaging web tool that allows users to create comics via the website using a good selection of characters, speech bubbles and other images. Finished products can be emailed to you but are not stored online. Be careful not to click the browser ‘back’ button as you will lose all of your work. It is a very fun tool with a strong Literacy and Visual Arts element.




Other Considerations

It is very important to understand the affordances that wikis can provide so that learning can be extended and supported as much as possible. Some of these include the ability to hyperlink within and outside the wiki website, the availability of wikis 24/7, the simplicity of uploading text and images, the versionability and the motivation they provide through use of an online environment. The collective ownership of work through the use of wikis features highly across the research and as reported by Hastie, Casey and Tarter (2010), many of the collaborative achievements that can be made through wikis would not have otherwise been possible. Mak and Coniam (2008) has also echoed these sentiments and added that a greater coherence in work produced was apparent through this collective ownership. It is also necessary to be aware of the limitations prior to implementation of the Bullying Wiki to prepare for instances that these may become apparent. Some of the limitations include the fact that wikis can be open to sabotage, can enable plagiarism, that some students have great difficulty in editing work of their peers and that collaborating in groups can create social disagreements. Most limitations can be overcome through awareness and careful preparation beforehand.

Preparing students for working in groups can be beneficial and it may be advisable to select groups before commencing the task rather than allowing students to choose who they work with. Teachers know students best and are aware of the most appropriate ways to group their students. I have grouped my students according to a number of factors including those who do not usually work together, those who I know work well together and by creating mixed ability groups so that all students can be supported. The best option, depending on the students, is to address group issues when they arise as the wiki task is a fantastic vehicle for students to contextually rehearse and practice the skills needed. If we were to prepare students for every conceivable skill and potential issue beforehand, we would possibly be spending years at the expense of the learning that will take place through participation in the task.

Testing the technology is another valuable suggestion so that the introduction of the wiki goes as smoothly as possible and so that students do not lose motivation before it has started. Registering students with Wikispaces and checking that they are able to log into the wiki is really important as well as checking that access to the Internet works properly. Sometimes when more than one student is logged in at the same time via a server, unpredictable problems occur (such as issues connecting to the wiki) and these need to be resolved by those responsible for the school network. This arose as an issue across some of the research into wikis, such as in the study by Fountain (2005) where concurrent editing of work was cited as creating network problems.

An excellent introductory activity I have used with my students is to complete a Y-Chart Round Robin task about the students’ understanding of cooperative skills. To begin, I placed a pile of coloured pop sticks on students’ desks prior to them entering the classroom and asked them to choose one part of the way through the lesson. They were then asked to form groups of three with others holding a pop stick of the same colour. I then asked students to write for 90 seconds on their Y-Chart about the idea of cooperative skills in the sections of ‘feels like’, ‘looks like’ and ‘sounds like’. Upon a signal the students were asked to pass their sheet around their group to the next person and continue adding to the sections. This was repeated and then students were chosen at random to share something they or another person in their group had written. The responses were insightful and provided a starting point for the Bullying Wiki task. The students really enjoyed this activity and were motivated to see the wiki. The element of motivation is extremely important as students will engage in the task to a higher degree and this has been reflected by Ruth and Houghton (2009).

I would recommend walking through the wiki on an Interactive White Board if available and demonstrating some of the online tools available. There is too much information included in the wiki to go through everything but I would suggest presenting the task, assessment rubrics and tips to get started. I would also suggest demonstrating how to use the discussion functions and talking about the wiki rules. Hopefully, other students will be as motivated as mine were about the wiki task. To complete this introductory lesson, students could form into their groups and start discussing an alternative name for their group (rather than red group, blue group etc.) and also their options and ideas at this point for their learning task.

An issue may arise if the computer to student ratio is insufficient in the class or other computers in the school are not readily accessible and alternative activities or group tasks that can be completed away from the computers may need to be facilitated. Students and groups may need to be scheduled to use the computers. If the school has a lab of computers, this may be a good solution. It is always best to remain positive as there is always a solution to be found.


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