Monday, March 1, 2010

Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing

The only wiki's I had been exposed to prior to this school year was wikipedia and wikihow. I can't even explain how much I enjoy wikipedia. This school year, however, I have come to loathe the word wiki, and for good reasons I believe. I understand the educational value of a wiki. First off, students get to create their own content, which requires some pretty high level thinking skills. Second, they are publishing their work for the world to see. And last but not least, they are finding, synthesizing, and creating content for their other classmates to see/read/learn from. Every fifth grader in our school have their very own wiki for science class, but I can't say how much learning has taken place through the wiki. A quick survey of the advanced group showed little to no interaction with the wiki. When asked what they learned while doing the wiki, shorcuts for copy and paste were among the top. They also learned how to embed youtube videos of their favorite artists, like Justin Biebler and Beyonce. They all have "about me" pages and "friends" pages. It's more like looking at a myspace page than learning information. It actually makes me quite depressed since I know the possibilities that a wiki can hold and bring. It is supposed to be a collaborative learning tool. The only collaboration my students did was collaborate with Wikipedia by copying and pasting. They did collaborate on their "about me" pages when they changed each others biography. The inappropriate use of technology has deterred most teachers from even wanting to consider using them in the classroom and I can't say that I blame them.

1 comment:

  1. Great example but it sounds like it is being managed very poorly. Can't the teacher rope the students in and require them to leave the social aspect and the personal aspects out and instead focus on the potential for learning through the use of the educational technology?

    Like yourself, I'm also a very big fan of Wikipedia. Whether it is a quick answer or a start of some research, Wikipedia is always the go-to resource.