Monday, April 6, 2009

3 Challenges to Wiki Use in Instruction

The April edition of The Journal posted an article that dealt with the benefits and instructional uses of wikis to engage students. A wiki should promote evaluating, synthesizing, elaborating, analyzing, problem solving, decision making, knowledge, base construction, argumentation/justification and learning communities according to Wake Forest University.

So how can teachers use wikis to ensure higher levels of engagement with students? Three challenges were presented.

  1. Creating meaningful assignments: a wiki assignment should be collaborative with all students participating to complete the assignment. The process and outcome should depend on the collaborative success of the students. Some examples would be –
      • a. The assignment is open and not closed
        b. The assignment requires participation
        c. The assignment uses the participation to move forward
      • Value for Constructed Input: a student’s grade should reflect their active participation within the wiki as well as the final product. Some examples would be –

          a. Working with and building on existing information
          b. Inputting new information
          c. Synthesis of ideas and relevant use
      • Collective knowledge use: learning takes place for the students when they are able to apply what they have learned in some meaningful way. Some examples would be –
          • a. Non-complex problems
            b. Preset solutions
            c. Inadaquate time allowed for the process

        Wikis can provide an effective way for students to engage in higher-level thinking skills through collaborative learning. Teachers will need to plan carefully when and how to use wikis encouraging students to explore content, discover new information and work together towards a solution and/or final product. By using a problem-based approach students should acquire the skills needed for higher-level processing skills and complex problem solving skills.

        To read the full article please go to:
        Article written by Ruth Reynard: "3 Challenges to Wiki Use in Instruction," T.H.E. Journal, 4/1/2009,

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