Sunday, November 11, 2007

Working ground

sad princess
We’ve been experimenting again with blogs and wikis on our Masters course. Yesterday we had 14 students with little previous experience construct a wiki of about 30 interlinked pages with out-facing links and rich media in just under 60 mins! I noticed 2 things much more clearly this time. Firstly that, because the writing/thinking and contribution is much more open, the potential for collaboration is often in conflict with self-confidence and impression management (this is probably more the case for blogs than it is for wikis). Secondly and not unrelatedly, the digital writing involved tends to make identity work overt as students tell their own stories and colour these with details from their non-professional lives, hybridizing self-disclosure with critical reflection in new and interesting ways. Blogs and wikis as tools for online collaboration and learning are explored in this article in Language Learning and Technology. And here it is argued that: ‘There is a lot of emerging literature regarding the potential of blogs and wikis as learning spaces. The majority conclude that these social software tools can be a transformational technology for teaching and learning. Blogs and wikis are tools supporting a social constructivist theory of learning. Social constructivism, a variety of cognitive constructivism, contends that knowledge is actively created by social relationships and interactions, emphasising a collaborative model for learning.’ OK, we know that the real challenge is introducing them and working them into what we do in intelligent ways.

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