This second part gives a brief description of personal experiences as well as other non-formal learning related experiences, most of them are well-known. Those personal experiences are going on at the moment of publishing this post. My intention is to report them more in-depth in this section of the site.
WIKI TECHNOLOGY IN NEW LEARNING
Part 2: Real experiences applying wiki technology
EXPERIENCES OF WIKI USAGE IN CLASSROOM
Links to the different wikis are provided. If authentication is required, guest access has been allowed and must be selected. Some pages may not be available inside the wikis, because they are not finished.
The main purpose of this paper is to show how those theories can be applied successfully in a traditional classroom by using wiki technology. Given the limited number of cases reported in this paper, it cannot be used in order to prove anything. However, these cases do not lack of significance.
Application as class knowledge management tool
This first case takes place in an advanced vocational training course about databases with 15 students aged between 20 and 30 years old. In this case it was found difficult to make students construct documentation, given that they have no experience seeking out technical information and they have no previous knowledge related to this subject. On the other hand, they are provided with a wiki which content had been produced during the previous two years.
In order to apply the concept of “legitimate peripheral participation”, the teacher decided to open the whole wiki and give all the students writing permission, so that they can modify anything, anytime. Thus, each time they ask for an explanation, once it has been given, they are required to add that information to the documentation. Also, they are asked to add exercises they have solved to the wiki, in order to illustrate the theory. Finally, when possible, they are asked to resolve questions or add bits of information to complement the wiki content.
Intensive application in a community learning environment
This is a full application of the principles of constructivism and connectivism showed before. These students are second year advanced vocational training, and they are quite skilled in seeking and testing information.
Students are required to seek and test information about an assigned topic. Afterwards they have to document the topic in the common wiki. Finally, another team is working in screen recording, to work with each researcher in making a video-tutorial.
There are about ten different teams or individuals simultaneously working in their assigned areas -all different, all related. Furthermore, each team and individual will acquire enough knowledge in the subject to compound a critical view about the findings made by the other.
Application for team-learning skill development
In this case there is a challenge which lies in introducing underage students in collaborative learning. Previous attempts failed. This time, for a while, it doesn’t matter what it is about -the content. So, in order to assure success, an appealing topic is chosen: Best and Worst Mobiles in the market and Mobile Operative Systems comparison.
They were grouped in teams of three, and they were asked a few questions for doing some research, seeking information and publishing a report in their wiki. Next, they have to read a wiki made by another group and post a brief evaluation report in a discussion forum. Peers’ posts written about own wiki can be seen only once the student has sent his own post. Then discussion arose.
After acquiring the skills, they are asked to work in the same way with specific topics that -this time- have been taken from the syllabus.
OTHER EXAMPLES IN FORMAL AND INFORMAL LEARNING CONTEXTS
Wikipedia Education Program
Wikipedia offers to educational institutions the possibility of developing projects in its site. As they say, the idea behind is simple: “Professors around the world assign their students to contribute to Wikipedia for class assignments.” The current numbers of this initiative are 4,865 user accounts created and 4,683 articles in the United States, where this is far more extended (Retrieved December 9, 2013, from http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Education_Program_Summary_Information).
Informal learning communities at wikia.com
Wikia is a website for free wiki creation, which is also called a wiki farm. Any user can edit content or create a new wiki. One of their messages in the front-page says “Find your community, start something epic.” Close to it there is a button with the text “Start a Wiki”.
Topics at Wikia can be taken as a list of possible informal learning subjects: Movies, Series, Video games, Fashion, Sports, Music, Food… All the content is open.
Open Source – Documentation Projects
Open source lacks of free support, apart from the community knowledge. This usually remains in forums, and more recently on wikis. Here are pointed out two well-known open source projects that have its own documentation project on wiki which is made by a community:
This is probably the most famous office suite apart from MS Office. Its wiki can be seen at https://wiki.openoffice.org/wiki/Documentation
- VideoLAN VLC
One of the most famous media player also has its documentation on a wiki. The address is https://wiki.videolan.org/Documentation:Documentation
Using Google and with little effort a list much longer can be completed. This flatly shows how wiki has been spontaneously selected as a community knowledge management too.
Sites for wiki creation
There are also several websites that offer wiki hosting service. Wikipedia provides a list where some of those sites are compared. Some of them have special offers for K-12 teachers who want to construct a wiki in their class. In the educational context, WikiSpaces (http://ww.wikispaces.com) and PBWorks (http://pbworks.com/) are quite extended.
EMERGING APPLICATIONS OF WIKIS
One possible application is construct documentation and use wikis instead of textbooks. In fact, Wikimedia Foundation is promoting this initiative through its website http://www.wikibooks.org/. This makes sense since nowadays, knowledge -especially in some areas- become obsolete in a few years. In contrast, many textbooks have been written several years ago. More than that, knowledge is up to date in the Internet rather than in books.
Tools for teachers
- Moodle – http://moodle.org
One of the most popular Course Management Systems. Includes many Web 2.0 tools like wikis.
- Wikispaces Classroom – http://www.wikispaces.com/
A popular wiki hosting service for free.
A reference about several wiki hosting services.
- Wikipedia Education Program http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Education_Program