A wiki is a type of website that allows visitors to easily add, remove and edit or change some available content, sometimes without the need for registration. The name "Wiki" was inspired by the Hawaiian word wiki or wiki-wiki, which means "quick". Wikipedia is probably the most well known example of a public wiki. Many wikis are private: existing on intranets or behind firewalls with access restricted to registered users. (Augar, Raitman & Zhou, 2004) Wikis allows students to edit pages from within a browsers window, use simplified language and instantly modify pages.
Wikis are an excellent engagement tool to use with a variety of tasks. Wikis opens doors to allow students to actively participate in set tasks such as online forums, ultimately allowing students to take ownership and responsibility for their work (ACU, 2000).
This would be a great tool to use in the classroom and as a future learning manager I would be eager to try out the use of a wiki. Some possible ways that I would approach this would be to create a collaborative story telling wiki, where students contribute to the story based on certain instructions they have been given. A great example of this is shown at the address below.
This Wiki was created by the students of Grade 3-4 at Bellaire Primary School in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. It is the adventures of a tennis ball called Terry.
Group work and incorporating such a tool like a wiki can be an effective way for students to gain information collaboratively. For example creating a webpage about a topic such as eye-catching advertisements and letting students leave their ideas and comments on the page. Students would therefore not need to meet face to face and could work together in the comfort of their own homes or even different schools. Wikis are a way of the future and is a great tool that needs to be used more often as we are moving towards a futures orientated approach, rather than traditional approaches used years ago.
Through my own exploration of wikis, I have found them to be a great engaging tool to use for students of the 21st century. They are useful for collaboration with both students and teachers and also parents. They are easily accessed from school and at home and offer the freedom to add, edit and change information at ease. Yet, there are some concerns whether the information can be trusted. This brings me to the point that when working with wikis and students it is of high importance that all access to wikis is private and only registered users can access the information, therefore making what goes in and out of the wiki safe and does not put the safety of young children at risk (DET, 2009).
In conclusion by exploring all the possible uses for a wiki, it has become clear that this approach to teaching fits well within the framework of ‘Active Learning’ (ACU, 2000). The reasoning behind this is because within this particular frame work there are three components which include; relate, create and donate (ACU, 2000). This therefore links great within a wiki because the first component relate, students can access different forms of information, including videos, pictures, text, audio and much more (ACU, 2000). The students are then directed to emerge themselves within the second component, create. Within this area students are immersing themselves with the resources they have collected, and creating such things like web pages and diary entries, just to name a few. Then students move towards the third component, donate. In this area students produce the item that will essentially be used for assessment; at this end stage students will then be able to show how they have collaborated with their peers and shown evidence that they were actively engaged in the active learning process (ACU, 2000). Overall having such a framework in place when working with a great tool, like a wiki, it is important to know that it not only is providing students with a great engaging assessment piece but it is providing students with an authentic setting for learning(ACU, 2000).
p.s. Please feel free to have a look at my wiki - http://kobiburnet.wetpaint.com/
ACU. (2000). What is Active Learning? Retrieved 16th August, 2009, from http://www.acu.edu/cte/activelearning/whatisal.htm
Augar, N., Raitman, R. & Zhou, W. (2004). Beyond the comfort zone: Proceedings of the 21st ASCILITE Conference.
Department of Education and Training. (2009). Wikis in the Classroom. Retrieved 16th August, 2009 from http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/cmis/eval/curriculum/ict/wikis/
Terry the Tennis Ball (2008). Retrieved 16th August, 2009 from http://terrythetennisball.wikispaces.com/