Wikis in EducationWikis are a fantastic tool for the social-constructivist classroom. Students can collaboratively construct a Wiki about a subject area with their classmates, their school or a wider community. I love the suggestions made in class this week about how creation of a Wiki page of a particular subject can be set as a task by the teacher, where the end result is a comprehensive resource created for students by students. What an empowering and authentic learning experience.
Advantages of using Wikis in education;
- Goes hand in hand with social constructivist pedagogies.
- A medium to teach students about collective intelligence.
- Teach children about debate backed by evidence.
- A tool to teach critical literacy.
- An authentic and therefore motivational learning experience.
- Class Wikis are highly dependent on teacher monitoring and guidance for them to be successful.
- Public Wikis have the potential to have errors (this can be turned into critical literacy learning.).
- Potentially time consuming for the teacher.
The quote below provides a really powerful explanation of why Wikis work despite so many concerns regarding their reliability:
"Think of an open wiki space as a home that leaves its front door unlocked but doesn’t get robbed because the neighbors are all out on their front steps gossiping, keeping a friendly eye on the street, and never missing a thing". Lamb, 2004 http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume39/WideOpenSpacesWikisReadyorNot/157925
And as for Wikipedia?
Brian Lamb's quote is a great explanation for why Wikipedia works, despite all common sense saying it shouldn't. We have had Wikipedia's "unreliability" drummed into us for many years, yet recent studies comparing it to Britannica show it's more reliable than previously thought.
The video posted below, demonstrates (in a very, very biased fashion!), some of the negatives associated with Wikipedia. However despite some negatives, I believe Wikipedia has valuable applications in the classroom; for example as a starting point for research, an example of differing opinions about various subjects (track history and discussion pages) and as a tool for understanding popular opinion and pop culture. By applying critical thinking, Wikipedia can be a valuable source of various forms of information. As educators, we need to teach children how to use this information appropriately.
Disclaimer!! Please note that this video is amusing and does not necessarily reflect my views!!