Wiki’s seem like such a neat tool to use when collaborating as a group on a project. I like that wiki’s help students to work together to derive meaning from the research they are doing on a particular subject. From the readings, I believe there are many benefits to using wiki’s in the classroom.
First, wiki’s allow students to feel comfortable contributing to their group project. Wiki’s allow every student to have a “voice” or input when researching and documenting the information the group is collecting. Also, students are able to not only collaborate with members of their group, but they can collaborate and gain insight from other students or professionals who live around the world.
Another benefit of using wiki’s is that the quality of research that is done by students increases. When viewing the websites from before and after on the University of Michigan Chemistry page, it is evident that student learning had occurred because of the extensive information, links, and references that were included into the after-edit pages. Knowing that students will be required to cite, link, and reference their sources brings the research and learning level to a heightened bar. Even if students are unsure of a source or information, they can work as a team to make decisions on what finally goes into their wiki project. One important point is that students need to know when it is appropriate to edit another student’s work. I liked that the first article we read, The Art of Using Wiki pages to Teach, reminded us of the rules of editing. We need to be respectful of other languages and other’s input. However, by working in the collaborative setting, we can make decisions as a team to decide what is valuable.
Finally, I liked that wiki’s allow users to organize information they are collecting. One thing that I noticed from the Wikipedia pages I looked at was that there were tags at the bottom of the pages to link them to other sources. We learned earlier in the course that there is a benefit to having students tag and classify information for organization. Wiki’s would also foster this type of atmosphere as students work to cite sources, share information, and link to other relevant pages.
Although the typing skills and the computer/internet navigational skills of my second grade students may be minimal, I believe that wiki’s still could be used within my second grade classroom to some capacity.