How many forums are out there for communicating? Until the last month or so I had no idea of the number of tools available for communicating with the outside world. In recent times I have been introduced to, used and become reliant upon the following list of communication tools:
• email (yes, yes, I know this one is old hat but is still useful),
• etherpad (boy has this one been useful, our last two group assessments have been produced using this tool, it doesn’t matter where you are or what the others in your group are doing you can add, edit and copy and paste from these documents making them a constantly changing and developing work in progress.),
• Skype (love the multimodal aspect, plays to my multiple intelligences)
• Facebook (just starting to familiarize myself with this one, but having fun finding and contacting acquaintances from long ago.)
Now I am faced with another new tool, wiki’s, once again I am totally mystified, what is a wiki and why do I need one? Ok, I know I am on a learning journey, but this is taking me way outside my comfort zone. Back to the trusty Google Search.
Through investigation I have learned that a wiki is a collaborative tool that allows users to communicate, design, plan, create, and update all with the touch of a button. A wiki is a database of information that anyone can edit, add to and update. A wiki is a collection of pages that have been hyperlinked to other sources of information. In the words of Wikipedia “A wiki is essentially a database for creating, browsing, and searching through information.”
Having just had an incident where my daughter was kept home from school for two weeks, I can see where access to a class blog or wiki would be extremely valuable. The learning that she missed out on could have been available to her while she was at home rather than having to go back to school after two weeks and attempting to catch up. During which period she is either drawing her teachers, somewhat divided, attention, or relying on peers to catch her up, meanwhile they are all missing whatever else is being taught.
A class blog or wiki would provide students with opportunities to view and review information at school and at home, allowing for reflective learning in an environment that supports their comfort needs and allows for their individual learning pace. Learning through non human resources such as computers, via blogs, supports the Connectivism theory as depicted by Siemens (2004)
For those of you who are still confused as to the uses of a wiki watch this short you tube clip ‘Wiki’s in plain English.” At http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dnL00TdmLY
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki retrieved 14/08/2009
Siemens, G., (2004) Connectivism; A learning Theory for the Digital Age, elearnspace; everything learning, http://elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism retrieved 23/07/09