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Posts tagged bonk


“R2D2” Activities for Doing – the Wiki

Posted Thursday, July 11th, 2013 Tagged:

Using Wikis to Learn by Doing

Continuing on this week with our R2D2 Activities, I’d like to share with you this week about wikis. In Empowering Online Learning (2008), Bonk talks about “Wikibook Projects” in which learners collaboratively develop a resource book or manual on a particular topic, idea, or area of interest. However, there are other uses for wikis, too.

Dr. Karlene Johnson uses PBWorks in her elementary math methods courses in the School of Education at Greenville College. Students every semester collaboratively create lesson plans and projects for different grade levels. Students share their projects in the wiki site for others to use and learn from, both during the time of their class and in future sections. To date, these projects go back over 3 years! Here’s how Karlene describes the wiki on her homepage:

The long-term goal of this wiki is that it will provide current and former EDU 355 students with access to research summaries on a variety of elementary mathematics education topics, along with research-based lesson plans to accompany these summaries. Current students create these summaries and lesson plans. They also respond with professional comments to their classmates’ projects. Additionally, the instructor will use the wiki as a place to post class documents that may be of interest to current and former math methods students. (Johnson, para. 1)

Wiki Activity Ideas

1. Create a website for a business or non-profit organization
2. Communicate and develop their COR projects
3. Brainstorm or problem-solve by communicating on a wiki
4. Research collaboratively
5. Write group papers
6. Create study guides for the class
7. Create annotated bibliographies (or “webliographies” with web resources)
8. Design virtual field trips
9. Prepare presentations

For more ideas, visit SmartTeaching.Org for “50 Ways to Use Wikis for a More Collaborative and Interactive Classroom.”


Using wikis in your teaching promotes active learning, encourages creativity, and requires self-motivation. The results can be phenomenal! Students are able to pleasantly surprise faculty by their creative works and deep, meaningful learning takes place.

I have personally experienced this type of activity as a learner first-hand, and I can testify to its value. In an online professional development course targeted to online administrators, I was asked to collaborate with my colleagues from around the world in the development of a company policy manual that would guide the future direction of our “new” fictitious institution. Together, we were able to draft, edit, and revise this manual through the power of a wiki. I still have access to the document, so if anyone would like to see this example, just let me know.


Be sure to provide sufficient structure and guidance about the project, including training on the wiki tool chosen. Consider creating templates to support students’ products. Assign feedback partners to individual projects. Monitor student/group progress and provide timely feedback throughout their project (Bonk & Zhang, 2008).

Recommended Wiki Sites

Wikispaces Classroom
Google sites
Google drive (formerly Google docs)


“R2D2” Activities for Displaying

Posted Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 Tagged:

Last week, I introduced the R2D2 model by Curt Bonk and Ke Zhang which categorizes over 100 online activities in four basic sections: reading, reflecting, displaying, and doing. Today, I’d like to share just a few of the “displaying” activity ideas with you. These are visually stimulating activities that can be used for teaching content, but they can also be the creative work students provide to display their knowledge and skills. Have you tried any of these activities in your classes? Leave a comment below and share your favorite tips and sites!

Online Timeline Explorations and Safaris


visually display data/information to help learners remember key factual knowledge, discover underlying themes & patterns, and organize information in the context of time


static timelines organize data; interactive timelines allow visits to points of interest or expand on content within certain periods

Added benefits:

engages learners, promotes greater self-directed learning and logical thinking, can include creative expression or design skills

Here are just a few examples of existing timelines students can learn from:

Famous Firsts in American Women’s History
American Song: A Cultural and Historical Chronology
Literary Periods & History Timeline
The Origins of Sociology
Story of the Hershey’s Company

Suggested tools for student created timelines:

Meograph – create & share 4D stories in education, journalism, sports, tourism, and more
Dipity – free digital timeline website that allows you to create, share, embed and collaborate
myHistro – combines maps and timelines; iPad app available
XTimeline – create and share timelines with pictures and videos

Virtual Tours & Virtual Field Trips


learners explore a location they can’t visit, or are about to visit to familiarize them in advance of their trip (perhaps missions prep…COR trips…ancient historical sites)

Advice & Ideas:

engage students in areas such as anthropology, urban planning, social outreach, archeology, geology, and geography; explore free resources before inventing your own tours; couple these virtual tours & trips with other activities, such as debates, role plays, or reflections

Example: Rome Reborn


Bonk, C. J., & Zhang, K. (2008). Empowering Online Learning: 100+ Activities for Reading, Reflecting, Displaying, and Doing. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Activities for Teaching & Learning

Posted Thursday, June 27th, 2013 Tagged:

Today I held two workshops based on the book Empowering Online Learning: 100+ Activities for Reading, Reflecting, Displaying, & Doing by Bonk and Zhang (2008). This is a great resource on many levels, but I chose it because of the wide variety of activity ideas that are useful to good teachers everywhere – online and face-to-face!

Instructors, how many times do we repeat the same projects in our classes over and over again? Lecture from the same slides? Assign the same homework? Do you ever want to branch out and try something just a bit different, but don’t know where to start? We’ve all been there, and I do not want to diminish the value of tried and true teaching materials – some of those are golden! Yet, we often do what we’ve always done because 1) we don’t have time to develop new material and 2) we are afraid of the risks involved in implementing new teaching methods.

To help, I’ve decided to share some of the suggested activities from today’s workshops over the next few weeks on this blog. Hopefully, these ideas will spark some fresh creative interest in your classes as you prepare for the upcoming school year. The best part is that you don’t have to start from scratch. There are dozens of activities already available that you may just need to discover and adopt. The activities in Empowering Online Learning are organized based on a unique combination of brain research and … wait for it… Star Wars!

Yes, that’s right, the model organizes activities according to four distinct phases known as the R2D2 model: reading, reflecting, displaying, and doing. Here’s the visual to get you thinking.

Shared by permission. Bonk, C. J., & Zhang, K. (2008). Empowering Online Learning: 100+ Activities for Reading, Reflecting, Displaying, and Doing. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

For more about this book, including a free list of all of the text’s web resources and links, visit the TravelinEdMan blog. But there’s more to follow in July. Hope you’ll check back!

Feedback & Comments

We can all learn from each other. What are some of your favorite class activities to engage students and deepen their learning journey? Post a comment to share your valuable insights!

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