A School Wiki (Teacher agency and Radical Collaboration)

A school (district?) wiki is a place where all of us are owners and where we have the information we need to solve the problems we face.

Photo of Stephen Wright
4 1

Written by

I believe we have the answers to the problems we face. I believe in execution before ideation.  In particular, I believe that working better together will take all us farther than each of us working harder alone.  I am looking for innovation in the systems that enable collaboration. How can we stop looking to administration to communicate better and start just doing it ourselves. While being a teacher can sometimes feel like being on one of the lower rungs of society ladder, it is also true that we teachers have a tremendous amount of autonomy. What if we used that autonomy to simply start doing it differently - to stop asking for permission - to stop asking for others to change who will know will not - to start doing things differently - to share radically.

A wiki is a radical tool because it assume expertise and requires the agency of every member of the community.  We each hold information that could make some one else more effective. A wiki is a place where our simple, daily responsibility to each other can be made real.  A wiki is a cultural artifact. 

A wiki is the place where no one needs to wait for permission, the place where our best guess - our first iteration - is valuable. A wiki is a place where being mostly right is useful because some one else knows the part that you don't.

I created the first version of this and feel as though I have made all the classic build-it-and-they-will-come mistakes.  Teachers like the idea but the adoption is really rough.  Behavior change, etc.  I am eager to get the opinions of others.

Share insights you heard during your empathy work. Which empathy activities did you engage with? How did these activities impact your idea?

We created the first iteration of OTWiki (at Oakland Technical High School) in response to two problems: 1) Staff retreating behind their classroom doors in frustration. 2) Poor information access and communications infrastructure. The process of gathering this information was via empathy interviews. I know more now and am eager for a second iteration of the empathy process. The primary goal at this stage is usability and adoption. The wiki only works if other people use it.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Nicole Neumiller

Hi Stephen Wright, this is a wonderful idea. I would love to hear how this is idea is going. Do teacher contribute? What are some of your lessons learned? What sort of maintenance of the wiki is needed?

Thank you for sharing!

View all comments