Use of wiki tools for raising the communicative aspect of learning
Use of wiki tools for raising the communicative aspect of learning is a 2009 conference paper written in English by Dlouha J., Dlouhy J. and published in 8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009.
E-learning is not only a tool for knowledge management and the efficient development of cognitive qualities but also promotes interactivity and community building. Wiki software in particular is useful in the process of education for building independent learning spaces to which students contribute, and it supports the social aspects of the teaching/learning process. The communicative features of wiki are the subject of the research regarding the added value of e-learning compared to traditional goals stated in educational theories. The article begins by briefly reviewing this Web 2.0 tool in terms of its educational potential. It presents a case study of HE e-learning courses where the technical properties of different environments in Web 2.0 are linked to the specific need for an interdisciplinary approach to education for sustainable development. The educational objectives of the course are closely linked to the specific character of sustainable development (which is considered to be a social process based on multi-stakeholder communication rather than the sum of diverse political activities) and critical social theory, particularly the theory of communicative action which has emancipatory consequences for those involved. In the educational sphere, these goals are supported by the selection of "group oriented software" which promotes creativity in the context of academic writing on diverse themes. This supports action competence development and provides diverse communication opportunities which foster students' relationship building. The complex aim of the learning project presented in the article is the building of an extensive educational wiki electronic encyclopedia by students' contributions, through their collaboration on diverse environmental subjects. This learning space provides a knowledge base of easily accessible information for students' different assignments and practical work and is designed to support individual expression; by their contribution to this learning environment students feel part of the knowledge generation community. Contributions are evaluated according to their quality and pages are allocated varying statuses expressed by the level of copyright-some can be continuously upgraded by specialists or by new generations of students. The communicative aspect of learning is easy to trace in the wiki "discussion" option and can be mapped in the history of the page; thus qualitative evaluation is possible. Aspects such as flexibility in selecting the learning strategy and a creative approach present a real challenge for assessment, widely discussed in the literature. A peer review process conducted by students themselves and the quality of their discussion combined with the teacher's assessment is proposed as a contribution to this discussion. Students' interest in active work in the interactive electronic environment was investigated and positive results received. High quality results in terms of students' portfolios (essays and review discussions) provide evidence of usability of the presented pedagogical tool at university level. The article concludes with a review of our experiences with MediaWiki, useful for those interested in utilizing it as an educational tool. The use of electronic media and its potential link to the theory of communicative action in the educational context is briefly reflected upon.
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