Wikis in the Classroom 4-C-1

Collaboration. It’s vital for our students to do it well in order to be successful in life and career . It’s also vital for students to do it well both using technology and face-to-face. And in particular, a literacy course must be at the forefront of combining collaboration and technology in the service of learning.

My concern with technology is and will continue to be whether it is the focus of learning or the vehicle for learning.  Are we using technology to make passive and rigor-LESS learning look impressive? Or are we using technology to support active and rigorous learning? Not every app or website or program has the capacity to support active and rigorous learning. Wikis do.

Wikis have the capacity to be a vehicle by which students can learn the skills necessary for successful collaboration: “work appropriately and productively with others, use different perspectives to increase innovation and the quality of work, and use appropriate principals of communication (Iowa 2015).” In order to achieve this successful collaboration and rigorous learning, the first lessons for using the wiki must be, especially in a middle school classroom, how do I work with others, accept and use different perspectives, and communicate well using a wiki?

I have worked with adults in collaborative online spaces. I assumed that teachers/adults would know how to work together well in any environment. I started out by giving little to no support or instruction; as you can imagine, these forays did not successfully result in successful collaboration or deep learning. If adults needs “lessons” to guide them to successfully use an online collaboration space, then clearly students will need that much more instructional support. This set of lessons needs to be the first level of using wikis successfully in the middle school classroom.

A challenge that I am excited to undertake!

Iowa Core K-12 21st Century Skills. (2015). Retrieved July 11, 2016, from

2 thoughts on “Wikis in the Classroom 4-C-1

  1. I hadn’t thought about it until I read your post, but looking back on my first experience with wikis in the high school setting, I wish I had set up a type of tutorial….one where they could just get in and mess around to learn the functions….have different assignments in there for them to learn the tools. Instead, I told them that their Holocaust research would need a certain number of resources, graphics, facts, etc. I kept the assignment part to a minimal as they were learning the platform, and it gave them a chance to “play around.” But your comment on teaching the students how to work collaboratively gave me that insight, and I think the overall project could have been much more successful if they had been given that opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always find it difficult, but, for me, necessary to try to remember what I originally needed to learn. But when I am able to put myself in the learner’s shoes, it really helps me to begin at the very first step where I knew nothing. Classes like this are also helpful to remind me what foundational learning I need to be able to participate and complete tasks. That helps me to transfer to building lessons from the bottom up for my students.


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