Collaborative knowledge construction with wikis


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This is the presentation that I gave at the HELTASA conference in Johannesburg on 27 November, 2009.

I discuss social media in general, and wikis in particular, as well as their role and application in higher education.

I go on to discuss the results of a wiki-based assignment that I gave to a class of fourth year physiotherapy students, and their experiences with the wiki.

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Collaborative knowledge construction with wikis

  1. 1. Collaborative knowledge construction with wikis michael rowe department of physiotherapy university of the western cape
  2. 2. “ lecture; a process by which the notes of a teacher become the notes of a student without passing through the minds of either” (o'donnell, 1997)
  3. 3. changing nature of education a modern lecture theatre is the one place on earth a student from two centuries ago would feel at home (tapscott, 2009) improved understanding of how students learn has prompted a shift in thinking among educators (siemens, 2008) a fundamental redesign that transforms the structure of, and approach to, teaching and learning (Garrison & Vaughan, 2005) evolve, adapt or desist (swail, 2002)
  4. 4. analog -> digital tethered -> mobile isolated -> connected generic -> personal consumption -> creation closed -> open higher education everything else wiley, 2009
  5. 5. a history of complaining... “ Students today can’t prepare bark to calculate their problems. What will they do when their slate is dropped and it breaks? They will be unable to write!” (teachers conference, 1703) “ Students today depend upon paper too much. They can’t clean a slate properly. What will they do when they run out of paper?” (principal’s association, 1815) “ Students today depend too much upon ink. They don’t know how to use a pen knife to sharpen a pencil. Pen and ink will never replace the pencil” (national association of teachers, 1907) “ Ball point pens will be the ruin of education in our country. Students use these devices and then throw them away. The American virtues of thrift and frugality are being discarded” (federal teacher, 1950)
  6. 6. digital tools are not just about a new format
  7. 7. connect
  8. 8. share
  9. 9. search
  10. 10. remix
  11. 11. link to
  12. 12. link from
  13. 13. technology in education technology = knowledge, and use of tools and crafts “ because the nature of technology used by a society influences what the society is and becomes, individuals who do not become technologically literate will be left behind” (Johnson & Johnson, 2004)
  14. 14. what is “social”? of the top 20 sites in the world, 9 are social networks ( “ social constructivism” suggests that learning is interactive, social, contextual and reflective (pritchard, 2007) social media is... a collection of technologies (Mason & Rennie, 2008) an enabler of social reform (Boyd, 2006) about having an enaged conversation in a public space
  15. 16. why “social” matters distribution and consumption merge and are bi-directional creates new ways of interacting with each other enables group formation relatively easily control is distributed among the many facilitates collective action wesch (2009) Wesch, 2009
  16. 20. wiki wiki what?
  17. 22. collaboration
  18. 23. the assigment groups of students collaborated on relevant physiotherapy topics, using a wiki peer review and discussion mediawiki was installed on a private server users created
  19. 24. providing support screencast video presentation in class several channels of communication additional online help within the wiki handout provided with detailed instructions
  20. 34. method -> survey 46 south african undergraduate physiotherapy students mixed method survey ethical considerations
  21. 35. results -> the final product... 8 articles on physiotherapy-related topics generally accurate generally well-structured generally well-referenced
  22. 36. what were your initial reactions? “ Frustrated and worried as groupwork is generally difficult and in a new medium, even more so” “ Not very excited, because I am not interested in such technology ” “ Not happy, because of the fact that I don't have internet at home and it was difficult to go to the internet cafe”
  23. 37. how did you feel knowing that your work was visible to the world? “ I felt proud, because the whole world would be able to see my work” “ A little scared and unsure. Also felt proud sometimes” “ Not really bothered because my name wasn't on it” “ I felt like I had to make sure I know my facts” “ Vulnerable and scared..I felt intimidated” “ Empowered and challenged. It definitely required more of me”
  24. 38. what did you think of the peer review process? “ Insight and views from more people makes one think more...” “ helps in a way and we can learn from each other” “ It made me try even harder to put in work of a high standard...” “ they maybe saw a mistake or suggestion that I did not think of...” “ I didn't read any of their remarks...”
  25. 39. how did you communicate with each other? “ Attempted meetings, but mainly Facebook messages” “ Poorly. Mostly through email which didn't help that much” “ Just by talking to them on campus” “ I didn't see them but communicated through email and Mxit” “ Not very well. We never actually communicated”
  26. 40. what was your biggest challenge? “ Lack of group participation...” “ Group discussion and working as a group...” “ Understanding how group members think and trying to work out what they were saying” “ Checking that work submitted by others was of good quality” “ Not plagiarising” “ Finding the time and resources to spend online”
  27. 41. challenges for me poor digital literacy access to the internet support is time consuming to set up expensive for those without internet at home groupwork is more of a problem than technology
  28. 43. things to remember students will use the communication tools they're familiar with, even if yours are “better” communities are more difficult to build than websites social media is... important not about technology
  29. 44. thank you url | twitter | michael_rowe email | [email_address]