Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why Wiki? pt1 (Education)

You might probably know by now that I have a weakness for Wikis. I've been surfing on the Wiki waves for the last 3 years now with no sign of boredom - quite surprising for someone like me who usually dumps already-conquered areas away, looking for new adventures. But Wiki is such a  powerful magnet that  keeps pulling me towards it. Wiki is a major component of Web 2.0 and has numerous applications in various fields. My like for Wikis is however justified and I will walk you through three fields where Wikis can be used.

1. Wiki as a learning/teaching tool.

In this connected world, our students have change radically. Bearing an open mind towards technology, they embrace it and never miss an opportunity to venture with new online tools. Introducing a Wiki in an educational environment is undoubtedly a brilliant way to engage students thus enhancing the learning process.

  • Very often when asked to create a website for a class project students freak out and have to rely on others with knowledge of  HTML and web editors tools. Using a Wiki brings this task to as easy as pie. The Wiki syntax is simple to learn and students can spend more time on the contents rather than learning how to code webpages.
  • Imagine an assignment when you have to collaborate on a single topic and having to push the same word document to everyone in the group one by one waiting for each to append with new elements. With a Wiki group work has never been so straightforward. Through a simple 'edit' button, anyone can change the content via a simple web browser. Thus, the webpage keeps everyone updated at all times without waiting for the latest version of the document to come back.  This is a time saving factor in the sense that duplicate ideas are quickly dealt with.
  • Teachers find it a great way to track the progress of their students in given assignments. The history page gives more than just an overview of the participation of the students in a given group work. It helps track down the contribution of everyone in the paper. Wiki also allows the teacher to see if a student is going off track and help him by editing and/or suggesting new ideas or other resources.

Next >>>  2. A great collaborative and communication tool.