Education Opinion

Are Great Wikis Born or Made? (@bjfr)

By Justin Reich — April 13, 2012 1 min read
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I was getting all ready to write up my two presentations from AERA today, when I found out on twitter that my new friend and colleague Janine Lim had already done it (on her fabulously titled blog Out on a Lim). These are two works in progress, papers where I have some findings but haven’t put things together in a publishable form.

I presented two papers in a session, one called Are Great Wikis Born or Made? Evaluating Developmental Trajectories in Wiki Learning Environments and another called Just Posting in the Same Place? Evaluating Collaborative Behaviors in Wiki Learning Environments. Both draw on my research which uses samples of classroom wikis drawn from a population of nearly 200,000 wiki learning environments.

Are Great Wikis Born or Made? Are Students Just Posting in the Same Place?

View more PowerPoint from EdTechTeacher.org

The take home messages are two-fold. First, great wikis are born not made. High quality wikis typically start as high levels of quality. I’d encourage teachers to think very carefully about the behaviors they hope to see on wiki learning environments, and scaffold projects so that those behaviors appear early on. If you want rich collaborative behaviors to occur, get them happening as soon as you can.

Second, collaboration is rare in wiki learning environments (as is the case in all online peer production platforms.) Just making blogs, wikis, and other Web 2.0 available to teachers is highly unlikely to result in much higher levels of collaborative learning. Teachers need time, curricular freedom, PD support and so on to make it possible.

If you want the details on the presentation, be sure to visit Janine’s great blog.

Please follow me on Twitter at @bjfr and for more about my work, visit EdTechResearcher.org.

UPDATE (4/13)

Stian Haklev was also taking notes at the session, and he has them posted here. Thanks Stian!

Stian’s PhD wiki is attempt at “open scholarship,” making his entire apprenticeship and research development transparent. It appears to be awesome. http://reganmian.net/wiki/

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