Learning Literacy by integrating Wikis in the classroom

Teaching Strategies

Another great online ICT tool is a wiki. Here students can use them to write, edit and add elements such as images and video to create collaborative projects. The most well-known wiki in society today is Wikipedia which is constantly updated. 

With wikis, students share control of the environment and can monitor one another. They access it with the use of a password so that their content is protected. Use of this tool allows for peer editing which means that the original copy is deleted but the earlier version is saved and this makes it possible to revert to a previous version or reconstruct content (Solomon & Schrum, 2010). 

Wikis are useful for ICT activities that include elements of project-based learning, collaboration and authentic work. As students become aware of the audience’s need, they develop and refine their higher order skills. This makes it ideal as the level of decision making is high as they write, edit and revise their own work.

Another great online ICT tool is a wiki. Here students can use them to write, edit and add elements such as images and video to create collaborative projects. The most well-known wiki in society today is Wikipedia which is constantly updated. 

With wikis, students share control of the environment and can monitor one another. They access it with the use of a password so that their content is protected. Use of this tool allows for peer editing which means that the original copy is deleted but the earlier version is saved and this makes it possible to revert to a previous version or reconstruct content (Solomon & Schrum, 2010). 

Wikis are useful for ICT activities that include elements of project-based learning, collaboration and authentic work. As students become aware of the audience’s need, they develop and refine their higher order skills. This makes it ideal as the level of decision making is high as they write, edit and revise their own work.

 

As an effective collaboration tool, students can learn from one another and the result. They provide an outside-the-box alternative to the basic word processor such as MS Word. Students who are engaged in providing explanations to other students can develop their literacy skills better themselves. They take ownership over their work and over the product as a whole and they learn to respect the contributions and the thinking of others and take pride in the results. Through the process of collaboration, creativity is sparked in one another as they work together to improve the work. In addition, students who are aware that teachers can see all, are motivated to do their best. 

Here are fourteen tips for using Wikis (Solomon & Schrum, 2010, p. 147): 

  1. Create a culture of trust in the class;
  2. Establish goals for the project;
  3. Post clear instructions;
  4. Establish guidelines for all processes;
  5. Set deadlines (internal and final);
  6. Create and display assessment rubrics;
  7. Make sure project activities are meaningful;
  8. Define roles for team members and work with teams to assign them;
  9. Keep instructions simple for both the assignment and for the wiki pages;
  10. Provide examples and suggestions;
  11. Decide if the wikis should be open to the public or limited to the class;
  12. Remind students of copyright and licensing issues;
  13. Check work regularly;
  14. Provide encouragement.

 

Questions to consider before deciding which Wiki is right for you:

  • Do I need a free wiki?
  • Is there a school policy about advertising on websites that students see and use?
  • Will the school’s infrastructure allow access to it?
  • Is it easy to set up and use?
  • Does it have features that are needed, such as adding images, video, and voice?
  • Is it age appropriate?

Wikis as an online word processor makes it ideal for primary teachers to explore new ideas with literacy teaching and learning. As the national English Curriculum clearly indicates that teachers are required to encourage student use of word processors, teachers can certainly stand out from amongst their colleagues as they effectively integrate this technology in the classroom with ease.

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