From a new report out of Scotland and the UK schools comes this summary of how the read/write web is enhancing education:
* Web 2.0 helps to encourage student engagement and increase participation – particularly among quieter pupils, who can use it to work collaboratively online, without the anxiety of having to raise questions in front of peers in class – or by enabling expression through less traditional media such as video.
* Teachers have reported that the use of social networking technology can encourage online discussion amongst students outside school.
* Web 2.0 can be available anytime, anywhere, which encourages some individuals to extend their learning through further investigation into topics that interest them.
* Pupils feel a sense of ownership and engagement when they publish their work online and this can encourage attention to detail and an overall improved quality of work. Some teachers reported using publication of work to encourage peer assessment.
From the limited amount of wiki-ing I’ve done with my classes, I can affirm the truth of the first bullet point–I’ve seen some surprisingly strong voices coming out of students on their wikis who scarcely speak except when called on in class.
I would like to explore in future assignments the last bullet point–students feeling more motivated to revise for excellence in writing they know is going online. In our case, the “online” is not really “online.” That is, it’s a protected wikispace. But just knowing that their peers can access their writing 24/7 may move some of them to make that extra effort.