The school that wants to use wikis is only using new means to the same goal: to more effectively get more students learning. Those of us who have been using them know that students seem engaged more in their learning. But the learning itself, the curricular components and theoretical principles, aims and standards, are not changed.
Last week, when the bell rang and I hadn’t warned them it was coming, there was a general “sigh!” throughout the computer lab, so engaged with their learning were my wiki-ing students. In my experience (20 years), that has never happened when the bell ended a silent sustained reading period. This medium appears more engaging.
Regardless of what the content of their learning is, will students engage more? I would say yes, for if the structure of the lessons, the logic of the curriculum, etc. is sound, students will still be engaging in higher levels of cognition. The means and the setting of the learning, it seems to me, would be of no account.
For instance, the YCHS English curriculum, with its social constructivist orientation, its inquiry-based project learning, and its benchmark-formative-formative-formative-summative assessment pattern, is in no wise compromised. In fact, it may be that the work of the inquiring wiki-er is more likely to develop inferential levels of comprehension (the “generalization” levels of Hillocks’ questioning hierarchy) than more traditional, and less collaborative means.
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