Archive for the ‘Week 5’ Category

This week we talked about and discussed wiki’s at length, wiki’s are like blogs because they provide the user with a Web 2.0 interface to interact with. However unlike blogs, anyone can edit a wiki.

Blogs are limited by the fact that people can only comment the blog that you have posted, with a wiki, everyones a collaborator.

The best known aspect of this is wikipedia.

However like blogs, they can have their downsides too, with some wiki’s designed to make fun of people (not in a nice way), this can be viewed HERE.

What are wiki’s?

Wikis are free, online writing spaces that use simple formatting rules you don’t need to understand HTML in order to make a wiki. People who contribute to a wiki need to understand that their words may be deleted and changedby others.
When writers contribute to a public wiki, their work could potentially be read by millionsof readers. Wikis give focus to the last draft, yet wikis provide a history. Each time the text is changed, a new versionis saved. Anyone can go back later and see previous versions.

Differences between blogs and wiki’s

Wiki

No one owns content, No specific organization (hyperlinks), Anyone can edit other people’s work, Perpetual work in progress, Good for collaborative group work.

Blog

A person owns their post, Specific organization (reverse chronological), Only the author can edit their own work (others can comment), Posts are permanent, Good for disseminating information/starting a dialogue

Using Wiki’s in Education

Personally I love using Wiki’s in education and luckily enough at university I have used them a few times.

Examples of these can be found here:

http://www.mmarts.com.au/acm2003/index.php

This was for a collaborative project in ICT class in 2008

http://aem6100semester2.pbworks.com/

This is one that I am using currently, undertaken in my Research Masters subject.

I have used wiki’s before in an IT class when teaching year 10s, it was a great tool to use to captivate the attention of students, and keeping them engaged in classwork. I found the students made an effort to keep up with posting and even answered their own questions on then forum. I found that I was able to communicate with the students after school hours, if they needed help with their work! I would recommend people use wiki’s to teach ANY subject.

Article ResponseUsing Wikis in Schools: a Case Study

Wikis are simple websites that allow their users to create and edit content.

The basic element of this research report was that a school used wiki’s as apart of their formal classes in ICT, a school agreed to be apart of the ‘groundbreaking’ study because it allowed its students to actually use Web 2.0 in their formal studies. (Sorry to sound cynical, but I have been having this discussion with other teachers about Web 2.0 in the classroom – but I will come back to this later on).

A specialist technology co-educational secondary school in Gloucestershire agreed to host the
study. Three Year 9 (age 13-14) ICT classes took part in the project. The teachers assigned
students to random groups of between six and nine, each with their own separate wiki.

The project ran for three weeks at the end of the autumn term in 2005. The students were
asked to work in their teams on a history-based research project with a broad title of
‘innovations in technology since 1950’. They were asked to research and present through the
wiki a project looking at the impact of technology in a particular topic, such as music, sport,
etc.

The basic element of this was that students were asked to collaborate using the wiki, instead of face-to-face, every conversation was delivered through the wiki or was documented through the wiki.

What I found when reading this was that the researcher was a little bit disillusioned with the process, because obviously the students were not taking the project as seriously as he would have hoped (although he doesn’t mention this, I know because I have tried this with high school students [Year 8s] and it did not bode well with them).

The argument continued:
This was almost the only example of one student trying to contribute to the work of others,
and was met with hostility by the rest of the group. ‘Heatherw’ had stepped outside the
boundaries of legitimate

Anecdotal notes – I think that students should be given more than three weeks for a project using wiki’s, teachers are scared of using technology in the classroom.

Overall I think the study felt very rushed to me, as mentioned previous three weeks is just not long enough to get a wiki up and running, six-eight months should have been the timeframe over a realm of subjects, in my opinion.

Anecdotal Notes – I am very cynical how teachers use Web 2.0 in the class and how it is allowed to function, I work in a primary/high school and I see everyday students “accessing” facebook and youtube through web proxies (i’ll explain these next week), when theoretically these “websites” should be blocked. I do not see the point in blocking Web 2.0 tools, because students are intelligent they will find ways around the SINA system!

Given your background and work situation, how would you use (if not already been using) Wikis ? Do you think they would improve the current practices of teaching/learning/training/knowledge management in your area? How?

Personally I use wiki’s in the classroom, I think they are a fantastic tool and should be used with great enthusiasm! As mentioned previous it allows personal connectedness with the students whenever they need help and it is a greast way for students to connect to one another.

Response to Dhammikafernando’s post:

About the Wiki environment being easy to use –  it sure beats the original version of Word (no number to follow), where one had to switch screens and type in commands to Bold face, centre align, etc.  for example, <BOLD> <CENTRE> This is my Title <BOLD> <CENTRE> ,  where the second set of commands turned off the formatting feature.  After WYSIWYG came in, life became very simple, and those who enter the technosphere these days don’t understand how easy things are now, and how much simpler things are with a mouse!

Those were the days! Takes me back to HTML coding in word! Did you know you can actually use word to produce a website? Google it!

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