Using Wikis in Teacher Education: Student-Generated Content as Support in Professional Learning

Using Wikis in Teacher Education: Student-Generated Content as Support in Professional Learning

Steve Wheeler (University of Plymouth, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-294-7.ch009

Abstract

This chapter reports on the use of online open content software as a learning resource for students enrolled in an initial teacher-training program at a British university. It features a study undertaken to support the development of professional practice in teacher education for undergraduate and postgraduate students using wikis. The 14 cohorts of student teachers in the program (n = 237) approached the activities in blended format, using a wiki as both a repository to store and retrieve their work, and as a discussion space where they could engage in dialogue with their peers and tutors outside of the classroom. Those who responded to the online questionnaire reported on their perceptions of the wiki as a learning environment. The main findings of the study are that students generated a large amount of content in a short space of time using the wiki and enjoyed its collaboration and communication tools, but resented the added time burden of having to complete minimum core tasks online. Students also found initial use of the wiki problematic due to lack of familiarity with the tools and the concept of group editing. The introduction of a series of wiki activities provided useful scaffolding for structured support in professional learning.
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Wikis In Education

Several successful uses of wikis have previously been reported in a number of educational contexts, including compulsory (K-12) education (Richardson, 2006), teacher education (Wheeler et al., 2008), medical and clinical education (Kamel Boulos, Maramba, & Wheeler, 2006), university education (Bruns & Humphreys, 2005), language teaching (Godwin-Jones, 2003), and a host of other learning contexts (Lee, 2005; Parker & Chao, 2007). All the quoted studies share a growing understanding of the collaborative learning potential of wikis and their potential to actively engage students in learning. Previous studies have also shown that some students become aware of a larger audience when creating wiki content, and subsequently write more concisely and accurately (Wheeler et al., 2008).

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