Cross-Cultural Wiki Collaboration in Teacher Education

Cross-Cultural Wiki Collaboration in Teacher Education

Xiaojun Chen (Purdue University, USA) and Timothy Newby (Purdue University, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1933-3.ch020


The authors of this chapter share a technology integration project, “International Network of Students Investigating Technology in Education” (INSITE), that was conducted at Purdue University. The project demonstrated how pre-service teachers in America were taught and prepared in terms of technology integration. More than 1500 pre-service teachers in the College of Education at Purdue University and 500 International Partner (IP) participants have been involved in INSITE since September of 2008. In this chapter, the authors share a case of four cross-cultural student teams that participated in INSITE in September 2010. The authors discuss the process and implications of communication and coordination within the international collaboration teams.
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Organization Background

The INSITE project was initiated and designed by Dr. Tim Newby at Purdue University. He is the major professor teaching a technology integration course for pre-service teachers. The goals of INSITE are to provide opportunities to help pre-service teachers identify, research, and apply Web 2.0 technologies in a classroom setting (Newby, Ertmer, & Kenney, 2010). The project’s design allows pre-service teachers to experience collaborative learning by participating in working teams. The project also challenges pre-service teachers to collaborate cross-culturally while combining their efforts with international student teams from other countries.

Each semester, students at Purdue register for a course titled “Introduction to Educational Technology.” Course enrollment is about 250 to 325 students each semester. The INSITE project is one of several course assignments that students complete during the semester. For this project, students are assigned to small teams with four to six Purdue student members. In addition, small teams of three to four students from various international universities were combined with each of the Purdue teams. Most combined teams (Purdue and the International Partners) consisted of eight to ten students. Each Purdue/IP team was assigned one unique Web 2.0 application to explore, study, and critique. The main task for the teams was to research and study the application, create a chapter about the assigned application within the wiki, and create lesson plans that would employ the particular application in classroom teaching. At the end of the semester, the pre-service teacher teams would present the wiki chapter in a poster session in a public exhibition called “INSITE Web 2.0 Showcase,” where local teachers and schools were invited to attend.

Setting the Stage

With the development of information technology, our world is changing and shaped by globalization, emerging technologies, and a knowledge-based economy (Newby, Ertmer, & Kenney, 2010). Pre-service teachers are expected to contribute to their future classrooms with their digital literacy and global competence as they interact with diverse, geographically dispersed people, using a variety of technology tools (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2008). Literature in education has suggested pre-service teachers need to be engaged in cross-cultural experiences in order to understand better “a culture different from the one in which they were born and raised” (Taylor, 1969, p. ix). With more recent studies and reports in teacher preparation, Causey, Thomas, and Armento (2000) recommended “extensive field experiences in diverse settings” as one way to move pre-service teachers toward greater cultural awareness (p. 43). Maleski and Phillion, (2009) highlighted how various professional organizations (e.g., Association of State Colleges and Universities, 2011; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2008) were stressing global competence as a key factor in teacher preparation.

Study-abroad programs are ways that universities provide valuable cross-cultural experiences for undergraduate students. However, the portions of the students that are involved in these programs are very limited (Bellamy & Weinberg, 2006). Educators suggested that alternate approaches that “decrease the traditional costs, while maintaining, or even strengthening, the traditional benefits” (Chia, Poe, & Wuensch, 2009) are to be developed for all students to benefit.

Web 2.0 applications have the potential to engage students with global partners using a variety of Web-based tools. These technologies can play an increasingly important role in the development of “communities of practice” (i.e., where individuals with a common set of problems interact with each other to discover solutions), especially when group members are globally distributed and face-to-face time is limited (Wenger, White, Smith, & Rowe, 2005). Current examples of such tools include social networking sites (e.g., Facebook), blogs and wikis, and virtual learning environments. Wikis are particularly well suited for collaborative learning, as they encourage reflective thinking in a social environment, thus enabling all participants to benefit (Parker & Chao, 2007).

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