Summary of Research Findings

1. Cole (2008)

  • A wiki was integrated into a traditional course at the post-secondary level with the goal of promoting deeper and more meaningful student engagement in a third year undergraduate course
  • The expectation was that students would create a knowledge repository to supplement and extend the classroom material by collaboratively sharing and editing the content, however, halfway through the semester no posts were made even though two thirds of the students had visited the course wiki
  • Many students expressed issues of self-confidence in the quality of a potential contribution to the wiki with comments like "don't want to be the first to post"; other reasons cited for not posting included confusion as to how to post, time constraints and lack of interest
  • The research results suggest that technology can not be embedded into a traditionally delivered course, but rather the course must be built around the technology such that outcomes are directly related to wiki use. Cole's conclusion is that "negative consequences (are) experienced when the integration ... is poorly designed and supported" (p.146). What factors should an organizer consider when integrating technology into an established course? Post your thoughts to the discussion.

2. Grant (2009)

  • This highlights a research project at the secondary level that looked at whether the use of wikis support a learning environment that is more conducive to collaboration and authentic learning
  • Students focused on their own page and were reluctant to reflect on, edit or critique classmates' ideas and work, which created a wiki as repository of knowledge rather than a venue to share thoughts and ideas
  • The researchers defined an authentic learning activity as requiring a genuine audience - in this case, the students focused on writing to their teacher rather than a wider public audience
  • Grant refers to a "cultural mismatch between the focus on individual work that characterizes the formal classroom, and the collaborative learning" that supports an on-line environment as the greatest barrier to the reflection and constructive criticism hoped for in an on-line learning environment (p.113). What are some ways that teachers can mediate this gap? Post your thoughts to the discussion.

3. Knobel, Lankshear (2009)

  • the researchers focus digital literacies through the use of wikis to disseminate and encourage the use of educational research and best practices among educators
  • wiki was used to encourage participation among all educators
  • The wiki NewLit.org was focussed on as it is dedicated to PD for middle school teachers
  • The focus is on showcasing, demonstrating and supporting digital literacies among teachers. As an educator,what are some of the potential benefits and challenges in using a knowledge sharing wiki like that found at newlit.org? Post your thoughts to the discussion.

4. Luckin, Clark, Graber, Logan, Mee & Oliver (2009)

  • Researchers conducted a survey to examine the activities and perceptions of student learning with Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs and wikis
  • Discovered that most students “expressed an interest in using online technologies to support familiar school activities, such as presentations or for communication, learners seemed cautious about other values associated with Web 2.0 tools, such as the shared construction of knowledge in a public format” (p. 87).
  • Study revealed that most students were not familiar with the complete spectrum of Web 2.0 activities and that only a very small number of students used these technologies to engage in more sophisticated and critically aware means of communication, such producing content for wider consumption
  • Overall the authors found little evidence of higher order thinking skills, such as critical analysis, self-management or metacognitive reflection, among students that were engaged with Web 2.0 technology. As educators, what can we do to encourage and support the development of these "higher order thinking skills" as they relate to technology? Post your thoughts to the discussion.

5. Sheehy (2008)

  • Author sought to create a knowledge-sharing wiki for teachers in a K-12 school. The goal was to create an online repository of information and lessons that all teachers could access
  • The online aspect allowed teachers to contribute to the repository at any time. Most teachers involved with the wiki agreed that it was a helpful tool but expressed "interest in a special time being allocated to post to the repository" (p. 59).
  • Teachers seemed more interested in using the technology with their students than using it as a medium for knowledge sharing among themselves
  • Author posits that "an online format for sharing operates best when it is paired with an existing face-to-face community (p. 57). What are your thoughts on this? Post them to the discussion above.

6. Trentin (2008)

  • Co-writing of a written text "transforms the student's ordinary, solitary written work into a collective process, yielding strong benefits on a social and cognitive level" (44). However, evaluating the individual contribution of each group member can be extremely difficult
  • Trentin explores how a wiki could be used to evaluate individual contributions of group members contibuting to a collaborative co-writing learning project and offers possible solutions for extracting information from the wiki in order to perform a quantitative analysis of the actions taken by each group member during the co-writing process
  • Trentin proposes that individual evaluation involves cross-referencing what the software can measure (number of messages and amount of material produced) with peer evaluations performed by the group. How would you evaluate collaborative student-generated content on a wiki or a blog? Post your thoughts to the discussion above.

7. Wheeler, Yeopmans & Wheeler (2008)

  • Authors examined the potential for wiki-type software to support and enhance the collaborative learning process among education students at the University of Plymouth
  • Study revealed that student’s awareness of an ‘unseen audience’ encouraged deeper engagement, as students felt that they had to pay closer attention to the construction of their writing and depth of their contributions
  • One issue that emerged during the study was related to the ownership of intellectual property. Students were happy to post their contributions, however, they were often resistant to having their contributions altered or deleted by other members of the wiki. One undergraduate stated, “ I don’t like the fact that it is anonymous. I want credit for what I have done” (p. 992).
  • With reference to the ownership of student contributions on the wiki Wheeler, Yeopmans & Wheeler (2008) argue that students need to understand that “once the ‘send’ button has been pressed, the idea no longer belongs exclusively to the originator, but now becomes the property of the whole learning community” (p. 994). What are your thoughts on this? Post them to the discussion above.