I now have an understanding of what a WIKI is, but I am still confused as to what to really use it for in the classroom. I find WIKI's busy and confusing, with too many tabs and options, like a large overcoat with too many pockets. Personally, I find using Google Docs much easier and user friendly. The one difference that I can see is that you can upload personal effects like pictures and videos to a WIKI.
However, in saying this, they fit into the Engagement Theory perfectly as they are "providing an authentic setting for learning" (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). WIKI's are a magnet for collaborative learning, with many people having access to it and contributing to it. "A Wiki is a powerful tool for constructivist learning environments because it facilitates collaboration" (Notari, 2006).
They are, naturally, project based, and can then be used to create a project on top of their natural function. An example of this could be a class trip to Parliament House. In the lead up to the trip, the teacher could put information and links there for both parents and students, even a 'what to bring' list. During the trip, photos and videos could be taken and then uploaded as a way of showing parents and reflecting on the trip. In the aftermath of the trip, students could be asked to write a report on Parliament House and place it there, again as a way to show parents and the wider community.
However, there is one part in all of this that bothers me - internet safety. A WIKI is exactly that - a tool that anyone can access to create data, and change that same data. I would be worried that cyber bullying could occur through WIKI's, and there are also the ethical considerations as well. I like the ease and privacy of Google Docs, so I am sticking to it.
- Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999), The Engagement Theory. Retrieved July 13, 2009, from
- Notari, M. (2007). How to use a Wiki in education. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from