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A Wiki Profile – The Diary of Anne Frank

With inspiration from the Diary of Anne Frank, an 8th Grade teacher in Austin, Texas is using technology to give every student in her class a voice.

It’s all too easy for a child to get lost in today’s classrooms.  With student-teacher ratios skyrocketing, it’s a wonder if any student can find their voice.  Teresa Hinkel, an 8th grade teacher in Austin, TX, has found a way to give every student a chance to share their opinions.

Mrs. Hinkel began the school year with the mission of using a type of technology called a "wiki" to develop a lesson plan.  Wetpaint wikis websites that anyone can easily contribute to, adding their value with just a few key strokes.  Their Wetpaint wiki has given the shyest students a chance to share their ideas.  This technology has empowered the students to pose their ideas and questions as well as consider and respond to those of others.

This collaboration has created a more fulfilling experience according to Mrs. Hinkel.  "I think it is great they way they have opened up and shared themselves in the discussion, much more than many would in class."

One of the greatest takeaways from this experiment, says Mrs. Hinkel, has come courtesy of one of her students, newly immigrated to the United States. "I have a student from Korea who has just come to the U.S.A. I wasn’t sure the invite would appear in her email but it did, with parts in Korean. She doesn’t speak English very well and finds it difficult to communicate and join in classroom discussions. Her comments and posts [on the wiki] have been excellent and [her more active participation] has given the kids something to talk to her about. She has also smiled and shown a sense of accomplishment."