Learning with wikis

Today I sent back the corrected proofs for a new article due to be published next month in the journal Learning, Media and Technology. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but LMT must be one of the most attractive journal covers I've seen. It's also a quality publication, so I'm delighted the article has been accepted. I co-authored it last year with my wife Dawn, who was working with me as an associate lecturer in Education at the University of Plymouth. She is now back in the secondary sector teaching English at Saltash.net Community School, but this is a nice reminder for us both of the research we did together looking at how wikis can be used to promote quality academic writing. The article is titled 'Using wikis to promote quality learning in teacher training' and the reference is below. I'm posting this here because some of my Twitter friends told me they wanted a heads up on the article before it's published. Here is is, and I hope it is useful...

This paper discusses writing as a social practice and speculates on how wikis might be used to promote higher quality academic writing and support collaborative learning. This study of undergraduate teacher trainees' online learning activities focuses on how shared spaces – wikis – might be used to communicate ideas and generate course specific content. The study also explored how students, through such activities, were able to improve their academic writing skills and engage more critically in learning. Data captured from student discussion boards and a post-module e-mail questionnaire (n=35) were used to map student perceptions of the usefulness of wikis in support of their academic studies. The data indicate that most students raised their skill level in writing directly to the publicly viewable wiki space, in sharp contrast to the more informal content they posted on the discussion boards. The scope of collaborative writing was limited due to students' reluctance to edit each others' work, but students appreciated the shared environment as a means of discussing their work and the content of the course. Students reported that their academic writing skills had improved through their formal participation in the wiki.

Wheeler, S. and Wheeler, D. (2009) Using wikis to promote quality learning outcomes in teacher training. Learning, Media and Technology, 34 (1), 1-10.

Comments

Anne Marie said…
Hi Steve
Thanks a lot for posting. I think the barriers to editing anothers words when you know them are tremendously high, unless you have a remarkable amount of confidence!
Given that the fact that the uniqueness is based on this 'editableness' what is actually so useful about wikis? And is editing a colleague's writing really evidence of collaboration in learning? How did these concepts get to be so linked?

It is good that the students thought that they developed skills in academic writing. But it sounds as if this was the result of the wiki being public, so perhaps the same result would have emerged from writing in a blog.

Thanks again for previewing here. Look forward to reading the whole document but am really glad you are sharing some of your wiki insights on your blog.
Neil J said…
I'm running a 'Wiki' club on my teaching practice in which two primary schools are working collaboratively online.

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