WIKIs are another wonderful e-learning tool. They provide learners with a public space to work collaboratively on a real-life project. WIKIs can be used by multiple users simultaneously to edit, create, modify, remove and organise content (UNESCO, 2009).
There are therefore an array of learning capabilities in using WIKI technology. WIKIs can be created by learning managers specifically for the class to complete. Learners could have the opportunity complete activities where they could include their ideas, research, images, videos and sounds within the different pages. Another example would be for the learners to create an online textbook related to a specific topic. Each learner, or a small group of learners, could be allocated to a page with a subject related to the topic. In this page they which they would need to include information, research, images, sounds and videos about the subject. Once the learners have completed their pages, they would have created their very own online textbook where they would then have the opportunity to look at each others work, comment and edit it.
Wikipedia is perhaps the largest and widely used WIKI. It is defined as; "a free content, multilingual encyclopedia written collaboratively by contributors around the world. The site is a WIKI - anybody can edit and add to an article" (Television Bureau of Advertising, 2009). Wikipedia could be utilised effectively and creatively in learning experiences. Learners can use Wikipedia as a basis for exploring a topic. The information on a particular topic could be used to inform them and give them an overall idea of the topic. They could then research the topic more through scholarly articles and websites.
Also, Wikipedia could be employed within other learning experiences. Learners could be posed with the problem of improving and expanding a particular topic on Wikipedia. They would have the opportunity to work as teams to collect research, images, sounds and videos. This learning experience fits into the engagement theory. "The fundamental idea underlying engagement theory is that students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks" (Kearsley, & Shneiderman, 1999). The three components to effective engagement include; "occur in a group context, are project-based and have an outside authentic focus" (Shneiderman, 1988). Learners are working in teams to produce their data, the experience is project-based and is authentic as the learners are actually able to post their information onto Wikipedia where hundreds of people are able to access it.
Incorporating WIKIs into learning experiences allow for the catering of individual learning needs, particularly when learners are able to work in partnerships or in small groups. Learners with a strong knowledge of technology can either be placed together, so as to be able to work ahead, without much learning manager involvement and then the learners who need help from the learning manager can receive it. Or, learners with a strong knowledge of technology and learners without strong knowledge can be grouped together and can all learn from one another. There are many different ways to go about it and the best way would depend on the learners themselves. Learners' higher-order thinking skills and creativity would be employed in all aspects of creating WIKIs.
WIKIs are a fantastic e-learning tool and can be utilised in so many ways. Before this course I hadn't ever created a WIKI, but now that I know I can, I will definitely be taking advantage of my new skills, knowledge and abilities in the classroom!
Until next time,
Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/%7Egkearsley/engage.htm
Shneiderman, B. (1988). Relate-Create-Donate: An educational philosophy for the cyber-generation. USA: Computers & Education, in press.
Television Bureau of Advertising. (2009). Multiplatform Glossary. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://www.tvb.org/multiplatform/Multiplatform_Glossary.aspx
UNESCO. (2009). ICT in Education. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://cms.unescobkk.org/index.php?id=1517