Who’s the expert really? (critiquing Wiki)
Over the course of a couple weeks I have learned a great deal about something I’ve been newly introduced to; an effective communication and collaboration tool: Wiki. Not only have I been using the platform to interact with others who are taking the online course I am, I have been reading articles discussing it, which has lead me here, wanting to reflect and share with you what I’ve learned and think about the Wiki platform thus far. As a side note, after graduating teacher’s college may 2010 I thought I’d never want to reflect on anything ever again as the whole year I had to keep a reflective journal…but then I realized (ironic- reflecting again), I would not have learned half of what I did without this to consolidate my learning. So here I am, this time more open minded to the idea of sharing my thoughts and reflecting once again, this time with fellow bloggers.
Let me start off by saying that for the most part I enjoy using Wiki. Although I was a little confused when I first logged into Wiki, because there is no direct navigation of where to find the information, I just used some of my prior knowledge internet sites to figure out how to navigate between the pages. Some people may not care for the lack of direct navigation, but I see it as a positive element as it allows a person to be able to explore the pages (all the pages all link together anyways).
Wiki has some great features such as they are quick to use because the processes of reading and editing are combined. This is key, being a time savor. Who doesn’t need that?! The editing feature I find interesting is a page can have multiple editors. For example, for an assignment I had to complete, each of us in the course put our information on the same page, and to do so used an “edit” button, which then allowed whoever was uploading their assignment to potentially add or change whatever text, videos etc that were there. Hopefully neither of these things would happen, as the purpose of using the wiki page was to showcase our work, not tamper with others work. This neat feature though the more I thought about it is also a negative feature. Students can potentially edit each others work- accidentally deleting another students work while adding in their own.
After reading the article Wide Open Spaces Wiki’s Ready or Not by Brian Lamb, I was left with these thoughts: How can we distinguish scholars updating Wiki pages from hackers trying to sabotage it? Who’s really the expert and are we really reading their work? As a start to answer my questions I liked what Brian Lamb wrote in his article Wiki’s Ready or Not, Wiki relies on the community rather than the technology to enforce order. I always think it’s worth taking the risk & trust people until they give me reason not to. That motto can be applied to the use of Wiki pages too.
Then I started thinking about how since platforms like Wiki can be changed by anyone, everyone can potentially be an expert on a subject. So in regards to teaching, it is important that we teach students to filter and sort through information so they know what is good, reliable and valid information. And how can we do this? One way is to give children exposure to the internet and then the teacher would act as the facilitator in guiding children to learn ‘portable skills’ which include critical thinking, making connections between ideas and knowing how to keep on learning- as mentioned in the article How to Bring Our Schools out of the 20th Century by Claudia Walllis. Expose to the internet can be done by teaching media literacy. I love teaching media literacy because since it is a subject area more often than not students are curious about they are more actively engaged in learning about the media and technology that surrounds their lives.
In using Wiki it’s nice being able to share my hard work with others and in return see theirs, as I mentioned above. In my opinion, Wiki would be a great tool for teachers to integrate into their classrooms because the most common pedagogical application of wikis in education is to support writing instruction. With that said, it can be used in multiple ways such as a space to showcase students written work, projects, or simply used as a bulletin board or agenda for the class. This way parents could just ask their child to log in and see what’s going on too. I’m sure there are so many other uses, please feel free to share 🙂