TED and Me

Technology, Education, Design and Me.

More wiki-ing around

without comments

It’s been a while since my last entry, but I’ve been traveling from Vancouver to Algonquin Park (what a beautiful place!) to Ottawa to Cambridge, Ontario in the last week and a half. I know in today’s social and mobile media world it’s not an excuse, but, hey, I needed a break. But that’s not to say that I haven’t been playing around with technology for educational purposes. In fact, this past week was rather interesting with regards to social media and communication technologies in education. Or, more precisely, the difference between wikis and discussion forums.

As an activity for the UBC MET ETEC565 course (phew — what a mouthful!), we were asked to perfrom a discussion through a wiki. Here is a part of the task:

Wiki Activity: Social Media and Learning

Both Wesch and Alexander claim that social media (web 2.0, social software) are having a dramatic impact on classroom spaces. How do the trends and issues identified by Alexander and Wesch resonate with your experiences in your own classrooms? What kind of opportunities and challenges do you see associated with using social media in the classrooms within which you teach?

Unlike previous discussions, we are going to conduct this activity in the context of a wiki environment.

Step 1. Wiki Edit

First we ask that you contribute a “sighting” from your own experience of how the presence of social media is apparent in the lives of your students or in how they (or you) interact in the classroom.  We can post our “Sightings” on the following page: 66A Sightings.

 What I quickly discovered was the difference in affordances of each technology. Some things that I wanted to do in the wiki, I could not (or found difficult). For example, unless everyone were equally organized in their standard forms of contributions (adding new discussions, replying to posts, re-replying), the wiki appears to be chaotic with what its discussion feature allow for. A wiki is great for collaborating and creating, but not for discussing ideas (NOTE: we were using MediaWiki).

Don’t get me wrong; the discussion feature of the wiki is very imporatant. How else can collaborators discuss how they want to create their product? But for assessment purposes (i.e. particpation, etc.), the wiki discussion page is, to me, not very useful. It’s diffiult to track, measure, and it’s diffiutlt to standardize or organize. So I prefer the structure and affordances of a discussion forum in WebCT instead. At least, if the purpose is to generate asynchronous communication about a subject hat you want students to learn and discuss about, but not create. On the other hand, creating wiki pages allows for many other learning activities that a discussion forum can not. See here fore information on that part: Wiki affordances.

Written by seanmcminn

July 8th, 2009 at 10:51 am

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