Wikis are, in my estimation, great tools for collaboration of all sorts. Glad to see that one of the benefits suggested in the article is that wikis can be used to facilitate connection with an authentic audience. Actually, a participating authentic audience.
P.S. For anyone curious to understand about just what a wiki is, or if you need to explain wikis to your teammates or colleagues, CommonCraft has a great clip entitled "Wikis in Plain English." NB: The clip describes wikis from a general perspective, not within the context of the classroom.
Great article. I have used wikis in my 8th grade science class as an online journal for groups of students working on a project. We participate in the Junior Solar Sprint each year and as they build their solar cars they make journal updates on their wikis with pictures, diagrams and discussions of what they are working on at the moment. Each group has their own page on the wiki and they can check in on other groups, make comments, share resources, and get ideas. I post questions, have a resource page for them to use as a reference, and keep them up to date on what is coming up in class. It has been helpful in getting them to document their work and to share ideas especially with groups who are working on the same project, but are not in the same class period.
Thanks for the article. I'll need to add this to my file.
Great example of using a wiki in science, Tommy. Years ago I used to do the Junior Solar Sprint. We were completely limited by kids needing to be in the same class at the same time to be able to work on the car. We had no way to coordinate work and share information except in real time. Using the wiki must really offer them so much more to engage in and improve their designs. Bet you get some great cars out of this!
I love the collaborative nature of wikis in asynchronous programs or with geographically separated individuals. Anyone can contribute their information for the group to work with, so all members of the group are involved in creating the wiki pages. Anyone can edit, but we all know who made each change (very important from the teacher point of view)
Besides using wikis to collaborate on projects, I like using the comments as a means for peer review. Once the "product" was ready to share, my students reviewed each others work and gave them feedback to improve their work. I think the feedback for the car design probably helps the kids see a perspective about their plans they may have missed in their own thinking. This is different from the collaborative creation of the product, but it greatly enhances the final results.
Thank you Sarita for sharing this link. It's true that in the traditional approach to paper writing instruction, the student writes for the teacher only, but when a student publishes on a wiki the audience includes not just the teacher but all of the other students too, and each student can ‘hear’ every other student. I completely agree with the author of this article.