Posts Tagged ‘week7’

The Writing on the Wall: Using Wallwisher in the Classroom

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

I have to admit, when I first took a look at Wallwisher, a website that allows you to build a “wall” and attach electronic sticky notes to it, I was a little skeptical.  It seemed like the sticky notes were all over the place and that most comments end up getting covered up by newer posts.  How do we weed through to find the older posts and keep track of them?  Some posts didn’t have names or tags, either.  So how can we use this tool in the classroom effectively and efficiently?

Funnily enough, all the things I didn’t initially like about Wallwisher, I ended up liking.  I like the colors and the vibrancy of the posts, which are sure to catch students’ eyes easily.  Sticky notes are also a more interesting means of communication.  We use physical sticky notes all the time to remind ourselves of events or assignments, so why not have an electronic copy of those notes that we can access from any computer?  Unlike physical stickies, Wallwisher notes don’t get lost, and are easy to sift through.  They are also grouped by topic, which allows you to organize your thoughts more easily.

Wallwisher has plenty of uses in the classroom.  Student groups can each make their own project wall that illustrates their planning process for the teacher.  It’s a better form of assessment than asking the students to turn in physical notes, which they can easily “bs” or say got lost.  Students can also use the wall to give feedback to others’ projects or to the teacher.  The teacher can also post sticky notes to give students advice on their projects.

The most important function in my opinion is that Wallwisher illustrates how each student contributed to the project and what steps the groups took to complete their work.  Separate walls can show brainstorming, outlining, and finally, bringing all of the information together into one assignment.

I also agree with Dr. Coffman’s (2013) suggestion: “Visual appeal, the colors, and the freedom to move things around that makes it a lot less daunting than jotting things down in Word.”  While GoogleDocs are easy to use, they are just blank, white documents that students have to contribute to.  The sticky notes are short and concise, so that students have to think about what they want to put up on the wall.  When students label the notes with their names, it is easier for the teacher to figure out who made what contribution, while this can be a bit of a hassle in a GoogleDoc.  Wallwisher is a fun, easy way to get students thinking, writing, and collaborating without too much pressure.

I would definitely use this in my future English classroom, where students can use the walls to brainstorm ideas, structure their papers, and give feedback to their peers.  Here is my own wall that I created for class.  This would be a topic I would use to get to know my students!  Add to it if you like!

http://padlet.com/wall/z4mrjhkq43

References:

Coffman, T. (2013). Week 7 reflection blog post: Shared sticky notes. Unpublished raw data, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA, , Available from Canvas. Retrieved from https://canvas.umw.edu/courses/799468/assignments/2412045#submit.