Reasons teachers should use wikis

Vicki Davis (2007) reminds us of some ways that wikis answer the educational demands of the present and can be integrated with best practices. Classrooms using wikis provide for:

  • Authentic assessment–the broad knowledge base and complexity of the skills on display
  • Project-based learning–this is where teachers can drive the digital native’s trains–they’re collaborating/conferring/considerding/compromising anyway (through their txt msgs and twitters and facebooks, etc.)
  • Cooperative learning–that studies show (Paulson 1999, etc.) really works!
  • Active (not passive) learning--Wiki up!
  • Use of older and slower computers–the internet connection is all
  • Meaningful Archive of student work–if it’s not tagged, does it exist?

For English teachers like me, our headquarters is the NCTE, and they have totally endorsed using this tool to enhance literacy learning. Heck, literacy itself is changed. The Executive Committee of the National Council for the Teaching of English came up with an attempt “Toward a Definition of 21st Century Literacy.” It concludes that our students may be considered “literate” in the 21st century to the extent that they can:

  • Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
  • Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
  • Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments

So Wiki-up, English teachers!

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