“A wiki is a free expandable collection of interlinked webpages, a hypertext system for storing and modifying information, a data base, where each page is easily edited by any user.” (Leuf and Cunningham)
A wiki helps make thinking visible by allowing students to post and edit one or more pages at a time. This is a great way to collaborate with classmates. Wikis also allow the users to track changes allowing all users to identify what changes have been made along the way. While users are collaborating, teachers can monitor content and participation.
Wikis have a variety of affordances for education. Many school systems would love that they are free! They also have student friendly interfaces and can be accessed anywhere students have an internet connection available. They do not have a specific structure thus can be used for a variety of applications.
Wikis have been gaining momentum in the education world as they are ideal for collaboration with teachers and peers. Teachers can share documents and media files with their students, this is very beneficial for students who need consistent review of information. The wiki allows the teacher/student to remain in class for an extended period of time reviewing presentations in addition to handouts.
Wiki’s help cultivate social interaction with peers. It was interesting to learn that students could post assignments and have others review and edit them before submitting to the teacher. This reminds me of a virtual “Ask 3 before you ask me.” Some teachers use this quote in class to encourage students to ask 3 classmates a question related to class material before asking the teacher. Similar to blogs, wikis allow parents to become involved to see what is going on in class and if their child is participating consistently.
One of the challenges with a Wiki is all students can see what others have posted and could utilize others work when completing their own. This is why it is essential that teachers explain copyright issues, plagiarism, and ethics.