Welker's Wikinomics: Firewalls can't stop learning

Yesterday the Edublog Award winners were announced and what a proud moment for Shanghai American School, Jason Welker, and the 140+ students who over the past two years have helped to create a fantastic wiki. There’s a story here that I believe needs to be told and one that makes me very proud that I get an opportunity to work with teachers like Jason who are not only open to new ways of teaching and learning, but that once that spark hits, they take off and leave me playing catch up. I’ll never forgotten the first time I visited the Welker’s Wikinomics Wiki. It was about 6pm one night last year when I got an e-mail from Jason asking me to take a look at the wiki that he was building with his students. I headed over to the wiki and was greeted by a Gabbly Chat window with 4 people in it. I stopped and watched for awhile as Jason and three of his students talked about economics. It was one of the help sessions that Jason ran after hours for his students. They could come to the wiki, have a chat with Jason or any of the other students there about homework, that days lesson, or about the pages they were creating, changing, manipulating on the wiki. I was completely taken back. I chatted with Jason through the Gabbly Chat window for a bit talking about the site and about wetpaint wikis. At one point last year I stopped by Jason’s room where he was finishing up a lesson and told the students about a funny econ video that he had found on YouTube. One of the students in the class asked Jason to play the video for them. Jason just smiled and said, “You’ll have to watch it when you go to do your homework tonight.” I talked to Jason about posting YouTube videos on his wiki and he told me he found it a great way to get students to go to the wiki. He would play some of the videos in class and others he would just embed on the wiki itself and give them the teaser in class. Jason had tapped into their world. Using their love of YouTube and videos as an incentive to go to the site and get their work done. As the site grew, Wetpaint picked it up and...

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