Wild About Wikis

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I’m currently working in Malaysia, having some interesting discussions concerning eLearning and the use of ICT in education. Reflecting on some of these discussions, particularly those where emphasis is placed on content and content delivery, I was interested to read an article today from Tech Learning titled Wild About Wikis – (a) because it provides a pretty useful overview of wikis and how they might be used in education, and (b) there’s a useful link at the bottom that takes you to an extremely useful article titled Wiki Pedagogy

The navigation index on the right links to a number of pages on topics ranging from definitions to templates and tools etc. The page that particularly drew my attention is the one titled Pedagogical Potential

The author identifies a list of specific pedagogical potentials of wikis, empahsising things such as participation, contribution, shared authoring, collaborative editing etc – as well as the way in which they promote a democratic view of knowledge sharing and knowledge creation. It’s a great list, and, even if you may disagree with or question (or even add to) what is presented here, it provides an excellent starting point for anyone wanting to locate the

These pedagogical principles provide quite a contrast to the view of learning that occurs as a result of delivering carefully designed content to students who then ‘consume’ it, usually in isolation. Now I’m not suggesting that we don’t need content as a part of our eLearning process, only that it shouldn’t be the only part of any eLearning enterprise.

As the author states….
Wiki pedagogy is literally ??? and figuratively ??? ???in-the-making???.
It’s encouraging to see this analysis providing an argument for the use of wikis to support approaches to learning where the learner is an active participant in the learning process, learning by doing, and learning through collaboration with others – and where content is developed as a consequence of this activity.

The author refers to this as the pedagogy of communal constructivism, described as… “where students and teachers are not simply engaged in developing their own information but actively involved in creating knowledge that will benefit other students. In this model students will not simply pass through a course like water through a sieve but instead leave their own imprint in the development of the course, their school or university, and ideally the discipline.”

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