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!