Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wiki Use - Challenges

We are working on year two of our school wiki. It has definitely been a growing experience! As with much technology, it looks cool and fun, but does it have an educational purpose besides technology? We have grown into wiki usage; we seem to reach a learning point and it expands rather quickly after that. The recent article by Wheeler, Yeomans, & Wheeler (2008) at Wake Forest University points out the instructional uses. These include motivation (meaningful assignments), participation/collaboration, affirmation (all can post and edit),and synthesis. These are higher level skills and exactly what we want our students to use.

For our Megaconference Jr. 2009 project, we are collaborating with a middle school class. The 4th and 8th graders have made reports and teachers are posting on the wiki (due to time). Students can then download and edit and repost or compile the information into a newer version. We are learning and finding some things work well and are fairly easy while others will take more time and may need different strategies. Wiki usage, like many other technologies, is a building and growing process. Teachers and students are learning together -- students using the tool of technology while gaining the power of collaborative skills, and teachers defining and sharpening teaching and collaborative skills while redefining pedagogy. Both are learning new tools and skills for personal learning networks. Not just redefining "life-long learners," but addressing personal learning styles and skills and developing processes that give all participants new ways to address how they learn and what they choose to learn.

The project is February 19, so next month, we hope to post reflections of our work and the process we have used.

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