Educational Uses for Wikis

My search about educational uses for wikis led me to this site:

http://wikisineducation.wetpaint.com/page/Higher-Ed+Wikis

Since this was specifically about wikis in higher education, my interest was piqued. It listed a couple of interesting uses that I hadn’t seen before:

  • organizing websites, articles, resources, videos for OTHER students
  • posting questions for students to brainstorm
  • giving parents a chance to be a part of the classroom and for staying up to date on classroom news and events (parents need this for their university-aged children??)
  • creating an online student newspaper

It also mentioned that wikis could be used as a study guide. At a conference I went to this summer, one of the session presenters indicated that she created a wiki for her students to use as a study guide for her course. Other than getting it set up, she didn’t do anything else with it. And she didn’t change anything else in her class. Yet, students received higher grades than students from previous semesters. In surveying her students, she discovered that the wiki was well used by the students.  Thus, the teacher credited the wiki as the reason for the improved grades.

There is a link to global wikis on this site which made me think of the book Three Cups of Tea that I am currently reading. I wonder what it would be like for the girls in America to participate in a global wiki with girls in a school that Greg Mortenson has set up . . .

One interesting global wiki was a collaborative art project between a group of schools in Birmingham, UK, a group of schools in Guangzhou, China, and a group of schools in Chicago, USA. It was interesting to note that they had a link to an alternate gallery so that the students in China could view it. Due to government restrictions, the Chinese students did not have access to the wiki.

There were also links to wikis for parent teacher organizations. These wikis had calendars of events, information about fund raising, meeting notes, volunteer information, membership forms, and photo galleries.

The most intriguing wiki (to me) was done for a class at the Singapore Management University whose goal was to create the first social media map of Asia. It had an interesting statistic. In 2007, 18.2% of the worldwide Internet users were in North America. Forty-one percent were in the Asia-Pacific area. By 2012, it was predicted that the Asia-Pacific use would be 47.7 % while North America usage would be 14.1%.

To me, these numbers reflect the difference in the populations in the two areas. There are far more people living in China than in America. And, even though the Asian folks do not have Internet access in their homes (many have to go to Internet cafes — so here again is the great access debate), Asia has over 500 million Internet users.

In China, they have the ‘The Great Firewall’ — Internet access restrictions set in place by the government.  Eighty-four percent of the population surveyed about the restrictions said it should be regulated by the government.  What else could they say . . . ???

It will be interesting to spend more time poking around this site to see what I can learn.

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