Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Week 5: Wikis

What are Wikis?
“Wiki” is a short form of the Hawaiian word wiki-wiki which means quick (http://abpc.wikispaces.com/Beginning+Wikis). According to Prof. Evelyn Izquierdo (2009), a Wiki is “an interactive and dynamic website with pages that anyone can create, edit and contribute to.” For instance, a group of English teachers can create a Wiki to add information about a topic, as well as delete or modify the information that other members have published in their Wiki, if the group has agreed to work in this way.

The key words for Wikis are coordination and co-operation: It is not about changing other people’s points of view about a topic (as it is funnily depicted in the above-posted cartoon), on the opposite, it is about sharing your knowledge to improve the information that the group has agreed on posting and feeding about, and, therefore, it should be an enriching experience because members of a group would not only add text but they can also include pictures, videos, and cartoons, among others.

A Wiki has a group leader, who is the original creator of the Wiki. S/he invites or accepts other members to be part of his/her wiki. Members of a group can see who changed what in each modification by using the history feature. The best known Wiki in practice is the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia (go to http://en.wikipedia.org where you will see it described as “the free encyclopaedia that anyone can edit”).
Some rules borrowed from Wikipedia are:
• Make others feel welcome (even those you dislike),
• Create and continue a friendly environment,
• Turn the other cheek (which includes walking away from potential edit wars), and
• Give praise, especially to those you do not know (most people like to know they are wanted and appreciated).

Educational uses
Educators can not only use Wikis to collaborate with other colleagues about certain topics or course syllabi, course projects, and workshops, among others, they can also use wikis with their pupils in any instance where these students have to research and/or share knowledge.
In this ICT for ELT course our professor encouraged us to create a Wiki that we could use with our students. I created a Wiki aimed at my second- and third-year students where I will post information about learning idiomatic expressions, and I will invite my colleagues and classmates to help me feed this Wiki.
My Wiki is still under construction and you can check it out or ask me to be a member clicking on this following address: http://teachingidiomaticexpressions.wetpaint.com/


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