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wiki as a pedagogical tool: problems and possibilities (ci.5410.5b)

As I prepare to work with preservice English teachers this coming spring, I've been thinking a lot about how I want to use different interactive software such as blogs and wikis.

I have a pretty good idea how I plan to use blogs. Last year I had students create and maintain indivual professional blogs. Some students told me that visiting and comment on each others' blogs was the first time that they were able to interact with their classmates ideas. So, I plan to do something very similar to the profressional weblogs.

My concern in writing now is to explore the wiki as a writing tool. I used the wiki this past summer with practicing teachers as part of the Minnesota Writing Project's Summer Invitational Institute. We used the wiki as a space to collaborative engage and write about books that we were reading in small groups. While collaboration was the goal of the wiki, I don't know how much this actually happened. My hope was that the groups would use the wiki to gather and link online resources and perhaps post comments and questions about the book. Then, I thought they'd actually sit down to collaboratively write, making decisions together on content, voice, and examples. From the feedback I gained, it seemed that most groups just devided the task among people. So rather than working collaboratively to create meaning, the group members worked individually on similar content.

What was a beautifly example of collaborative work were the final projects that the teachers presented about their book's. As a group, they needed to decide on what ideas to focus and how to present the material in an engaging way for the rest of the institute participants.

With this is mind, I'm trying to think about how I can restructure the book club reading responsibilities in a way to promote this collective problem solving. What are my goals, and how does the wiki meet these goals? These are the questions I need to think about.

to be continued...


Yeah. After listening to Matt Barton, I realize that none of the wikis I so proudly shoe horned into my online American Lit class are actually collaborative or useful in terms of discussion and history of a page. They just make it look like there's a greater variety of assignment types. Sad. I'm not sure how to get people/ students to buy into a wiki.