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Wikis in Education

Wikis in Education

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Published by chazzman311

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: chazzman311 on Apr 09, 2011
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Wikis in Education
 
Articles Synthesis
 
Trentin (2009) focuses on the use of wikis as collaborative writingenvironments and the ability of teachers to use wiki tracking functions as away to track the individual input of group members in virtual collaborationprojects. Trentin (2009) suggest the use of wiki features such as versioning,tags, comments, linkers) to support the monitoring of both the studentsactivities and their level of contribution to the collaborative work.Matthew, Felvegi and Calloway (2009) write about the use of a class wiki bypre-service teachers affected their learning process. The authors give alimited introduction to wikis and review relevance to theories of SituatedCognition, Constructivism and Communities of Learning. The study methodologywas discussed and a it was concluded that wikis require students to activelyparticipate in the creation of knowledge rather than passively absorbingknowledge [which results in] deeply processing and learning the material(Matthew et al 2009).
 
Michael John Roe (2010) writes from the perspective of administrator andtherefore his article focuses mainly on implementation in relation to nationalstandards and how wikis can support development of major competencies neededfor students to become globally competitive. The article examines theimportance of the use of wikis by students, teachers and parents andhighlights the advantages of creating collaborative workspaces. Roe (2009)states that wikis allow students the freedom and ownership over theirlearning [and] are able to demonstrate their knowledge of the standard byengaging in their learning the way they learn best (multiple intelligences).In the article about digital literacies written by Michael Knobel and ColinLankshear (2009), the focus is on wikis and their ability for promotingonline and off line collaboration and for disseminating research and practicalresources among educators in accessible ways. The article continues byexploring the use of the wiki Newlits.org for developing wikis and for thedevelopment of future material. The final article by Twu (2009) provides thereader with effective strategies for using wikis in the context of learnersfrom differing cultural groups and how they may perceive information indifferent ways. The article points out that context specific communications of
 
a wiki help high context cultural learners, and it offers nine suggestions onhow to use wikis to aid the learning of these students. The article stressesthe educators roleto support learners in weaving their social networksthrough social interaction and to help learners apply a wiki to enhance theirlearning experiences. (Twu 2009).
 
Potential Applications in Education
 
Wikis offer a vast array of application in education that range fromsystem-wide uses all the way down to the classroom. Systems can use wikis topool resources and interact with teachers without the cost and timeconstraints of physical meeting. Wikis can be used by teachers to collaboratewith other teachers in their field to post best practices and to keep up todate with innovations in their field. Teachers in the system can post bestpractices and actively collaborate on implementation of content. In theclassroom, projects that stress collective intelligence can utilize wikis tofully realize the concepts and expound upon what collaboration traditionallyhas become. Teachers can use the wiki as an online classroom with assignments,notes, assessments and projects posted on the site. Teachers can also havestudents post their work on the wiki making it easier to grade and to providefeedback. Students can use the wikis to collaborate with and assist fellowstudents and to find the resources they need to understand newly presentedconcepts. For students that have missed school or who are transferring from adifferent school, they can use classroom wikis to get up to date with contentand assignments.
Personal Reaction to Wikis
 
I was first introduced to wikis a few years ago when I stumbled upon anarticle about Wikipedia. I did not appreciate the usefulness of thisinnovation then because I did not see the scope of a wiki beyond providingencyclopedic knowledge. Since I began my classes for instructional technologyand had to start my own wiki, I have more fully grasped the potential uses ofthe wiki and have been amazed and inspired. I began a class wiki anddepartment wiki for my special education department as well as a wiki for mystudents. I enjoy the many different applications for wikis and am excited bythe potential uses it may have in my future instruction. I appreciate itssimplicity and ease of use and believe that this feature will contribute tothe wikis success and staying ability. I agree with Knobel and Lankshear
 
(2009) when they say that through collaborative interaction andparticipation, the contributions of all progressively enhance the quality,richness, and usefulness of the affinity space, and enrich participantspersonal and collective competence and knowledge.
 
Merits
 
The word wiki is derived from the Hawaiian word for fast and that is an aptdescription considering the ease of use and the ability to quickly shape andedit. Wikis are extremely easy to use and require a minimum of technicalexpertise (roughly equivalent to the creation of word processing documents).The ease of use allow users to focus on material generation and exchangewhich elevates the usefulness of the tool. The format of wikis provides aunique way to interact with others and opens up new and exciting uses foreducators. [e]diting the wiki pages can be open to the public or limited to aselect group of users with a password, although only one user at a time canedit a page (Matthew & Felvegi & Calloway 2009)
 
Barriers to Implementation
 
Though there are few major obstacles to implementing wikis in theclassroom, some barriers do exist. Some functions of wikis can be tricky forthose students who do not have a introductory knowledge of the workings ofwebsites (which surprisingly can be a large minority of students) and forstudents with limited access to computers and limited access to the Internet,contributing to the wiki [can be] burdensome. (Matthew & Felvegi & Calloway2009) Because of the nature of many applications of wikis in education,regular access to the site is a necessity. Many students have limited or noaccess to the internet at home either because they must share the connection,parents limit their ability to use the internet or they have no access at all.Though this represents a small percentage of students, some type ofmodification is required to meet the needs of all learners. An unrelatedbarrier that I have already faced with the creation of my class wiki is theneed for content control by my administration. They have required me topresent to them an outline of all content before I post. This seems like areasonable request, but once I have presented the outline to my administratorsit takes days and sometimes weeks before I receive permission to post. This isnot conducive to the spirit of a wiki which is fast paced and interactive.
 

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