Wikis the good, bad, and the ugly

In one of my classes at LaVerne we had a book club assignment.  We had to read a book and then create a wiki page for the book.  As a group we broke the assignment into sections and then we could go home and work on our individual sections.  If someone from the group wanted to edit or add something they could.  It was actually really cool.  That was my first experience using wikis.

I think Wikis would be a valuable resource for teachers.  Teachers can assign students a project and use Wiki for the presentation.  If a teacher assigned their students’ to do a book report the students could create a wiki page for the book.  They could use wikis to create a classroom webpage.  Students could create their own webpage using Wikis.  Elementary teachers could have their class create a wikidictionary.  Using Wikis will get students excited about a project.

There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to using wikis.  The sites Wikiclassroomtechnology  and www.juliachu5200.blogspot.com lists a few advantages and disadvantages to using Wikis.  Some advantages are wikis are a great collaboration tool.  It allows students to use their technical skills, writing skills, and research skills.  Wikis are a unique and engaging way to allow students to improve their skills while working on something other than a poster, report or test.  Wikis are also free or inexpensive.  They allow educators and learners to widen the learning circle with parents, communities, and people around the world who have internet access.

Some disadvantages to using wikis are wikis require students to have access to computers and an internet connection which not all students have.  Wikis can be edited by anyone.  There are copyright and plagiarism issues.  They are hard to grad and assess.  Users can be distracted easily.  When using wikis there is a lack of listening and speaking skill training.  Last but not least there are confidentiality and quality concerns.

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