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Using Wikis in Literacy to Engage Students in Text Studies

Using Wikis in Literacy to Engage Students in Text Studies

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Using Wikis in Literacy to Engage Students in Text Studies

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  1. Shireen Richardson 201512523 Masters of Education Unit EEL702 Using Wikis in Literacy to Engage Students in Text Studies

  2. Participants will learn: • What a wiki is • Reasons for using a wiki in literacy • Ways in which wikis can engage students • How to set up and use a wiki for student engagement in text study • Applications for wikis in text studies • How to overcome barriers (real or perceived) • How to assess student wikis

  3. What is a Wiki? • A web page that can be easily edited • One of many freely available Web 2.0 tools • It can be contributed to by its creator and any number of approved members • ‘Wikipedia’ is an example of a wiki!

  4. Features of a Wiki • Editable by more than one person • Control of design, page structure, layout, text, visuals • Can easily incorporate a range of multimedia, text, hyperlinks, audio and visual media • Asynchronous • A range of privacy settings • User/editor history is available for each page • Discussion forums are available for each page • 'wiki users can edit from within any browser - specialised knowledge of a web-composing not necessary' (Lundin 2008)

  5. I have found the best feature of the wiki to be its nature as a collaborative creative space, and particularly, a space where students can work together primarily as co-authors by collecting pieces of a project into a coherent whole. (Harding 2007, p. 135)

  6. Available Wikis Wikispaces For an extensive comparative list of over a hundred available wikis, visit:

  7. Why Use Wikis in Literacy? • Providing students with skills for the 21st century • Greater depth and breadth of learning in English • Extending students’ existing ICT experience • Increased self esteem

  8. Why Use Wikis in Literacy? • Scaffolding learning • Varying levels of teacher control • Freedom of expression, representation, negotiation and choice • Collaboration can be easily monitored

  9. Why Use Wikis in Literacy? • Easy to use for both teachers and students • Audience of peers for advice and criticism (Lundin 2008, Tarasiuk 2010) • Increased student engagement

  10. Wikis and Engagement What is engagement? Take a moment to discuss your definition with the person next to you.

  11. Wikis and Engagement • Engagement relates to making connections with the activity, connecting with other students, experiencing fun and excitement; as a result, deep learning occurs. • Engagement occurs with variety, student choice and constantly changing or increasing challenges.

  12. Wikis and Engagement “Student engagement is a rendezvous between learning and the digital tools and techniques that excite students.” (Educause 2009)

  13. Wikis and Engagement Research Findings: • Increased student engagement (Harding 2007, Luce-Kapler2007, Morgan & Smith 2008, Wetzel 2008) • Increased student involvement, understanding and results (Gibbons 2010) • Students working in ‘own time’ (Gibbons 2010, Tarasiuk 2010)) • Students enjoyed working with wikis (Mak & Coniam2008)

  14. Wikis and Engagement Research Findings: Students found the wiki project fun and engaging, they enjoyed the books they read... I knew the students enjoyed the wiki after the project was over because many of them continued using it for other writing assignments. And just recently, I received an email from one of the students I no longer have in class asking for the name of our wiki website because she wanted to use the format again for a project in another class. (Tharp 2010)

  15. Chinese Cinderella Project

  16. How I Set Up and Used a Wiki for the Chinese Cinderella Project 1. Signed up for a wikispaces account 2. Set up accounts for student wiki groups 3. Set up the Chinese Cinderella task wiki: 4. Introduced students to wikis

  17. How I Set Up and Used a Wiki for the Chinese Cinderella Project 5. Progressively introduced tools and skills 6. Established mini deadlines along the way 7. Set expectations and deadlines regarding the use of the discussion forum

  18. Useful links for ‘How To...’ • • •

  19. Examples of Text Study Applications • Book Club • Literature Circles • Whole Class Text Study • ‘Character’ Wiki

  20. Case Study: Year 7 Girls‘Chinese Cinderella’(click below)

  21. Student Responses to ‘Chinese Cinderella’ (click below)

  22. Student Responses to ‘Chinese Cinderella’(click below)

  23. Student Responses to ‘Chinese Cinderella’ (click below)

  24. Student Responses to ‘Chinese Cinderella’ (click below)

  25. Other Examples of Wikis used for Text Studies ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar: (McGlashan, L, Waldron, R & Purcell, S, 2008) Click above to access link

  26. Other Examples of Wikis used for Text Studies continued Click above to access link

  27. Perceived Barriers • No time to set up a wiki project • Wikis will be difficult or more time consuming to assess • I don’t have the technical ability for such a project, nor do my students

  28. Perceived Barriers • Some students might not contribute at all, or might contribute unequally • Some students might become upset because they believe they are doing more than their fair share of the work

  29. Perceived Barriers • My students’ responses are inadequate and not up to expectations • My students are not participating in the page discussions or are not participating in an acceptable manner

  30. Perceived Barriers • I am concerned that my students with special educational needs will not be able to benefit from this activity • One of my student groups has had a major falling out and the students can no longer work together

  31. Perceived Barriers • The wiki does not appear to be working • My students are disputing my assessment of their contribution to the wiki • Students are perpetually leaving tasks until the last minute – therefore, not much collaboration or discussion is taking place

  32. Remember: ‘Just because a teacher builds a Wiki, does not mean that it will automatically engage students in learning.’ ‘Planning for integration of Wikis requires rethinking teaching strategies and techniques to take advantage of their full potential.’ (Wetzel 2009)

  33. How to assess a wiki Several components of a wiki need to be assessed: • The wiki overall • Group tasks • Individual tasks • Individual contribution to the wiki (collaboration) • Individual contribution to wiki discussions (collaboration) Year 7 & 8 Wiki Assessment Template:

  34. Conclusions • A wiki is a valuable tool in the classroom for students to respond to text • Students enjoy using wikis • When used effectively, students are engaged • A wiki is not difficult to learn or use • It is essential students use technology in classes in order to prepare them for the world in which they live

  35. Thank you for your participation  Please stay and ‘PLAY’ with a wiki by: • Working through the steps detailed in the handout • Having a go in the wiki ‘sandbox’ • Exploring some of the wikis listed in the handout Please complete the supplied feedback form

  36. References Benson, S 2008, 'A Restart of What Language Arts Is: Bringing Multimodal Assignments into Secondary Language Arts', Journal of Advanced Academics, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 634-74. Bower, M, Woo, K, Roberts, M & Watters, P 2006, 'Wiki Pedagogy - A Tale of Two Wikis', Paper identification number: 160, Macquarie University. Deters, F, Cuthrell, K & Stapleton, J 2010, 'Why Wikis? Student Perceptions of Using Wikis in Online Coursework', Journal of Online Teaching and Learning, vol. 6, no. 1, retrieved 30/08/2010, <>. Educause 2005, '7 Things you should know about...Wikis', Educause Learning Initiative, retrieved 20/08/2010, <>. Educause 2009, Student Engagement, Volume 32, Number 4, 2009

  37. References continued Elgort, I, Smith, A & Toland, J 2008, 'Is wiki an effective platform for group coursework?', Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 195-210. Faux, F 2005, 'Multimodality: how students with special educational needs create multimedia stories', Education, Communication & Information, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 167-81. Gibbons, S 2010, 'Collaborating like Never Before: Reading and Writing through a Wiki', English Journal, vol. 99, no. 5, pp. 35-9. Harding, JR 2007, 'Extending the Classroom Space: Wikis, Online Discussions, and Short Fiction', Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 131-8. Higdon, J & Topaz, C 2009, 'Blogs and Wikis as Instructional Tools: A Social Software Adaptation of Just-in-Time Teaching', College Teaching, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 105-10.

  38. References continued Judd, T, Kennedy, G & Cropper, S 2010, 'Using wikis for collaborative learning: Assessing collaboration through contribution', Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 341-54. Kalantzis, M, Cope, B & Cloonan, A 2010, 'The New Literacies: Multiple Perspectives on Research and Practice', in E Baker (ed.), New Literacies: A Multiliteracies Perspective. , Guildford Press, New York, pp. 61-87. Kitson, L, Fletcher, M & Kearney, J 2007, 'Continuity and Change in Literacy Practices: A Move towards Multiliteracies', Journal of Classroom Interaction, vol. 41/42, no. 2/1, pp. 29-41. Le Fever, L 2007, 'Wikis in Plain English',, Commoncraft, accessed 05/09/2010 Luce-Kapler, R 2007, 'Radical Change and wikis: Teaching new literacies', Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 214-23.

  39. References continued Luke, A & Elkins, J 1998, 'Reinventing literacy in `new times'', Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, p. 4. Lundin, RW 2008, 'Teaching with Wikis: Toward a Networked Pedagogy', Computers & Composition, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 432-48. Mak, B & Coniam, D 2008, 'Writing with wikis', MODERN ENGLISH TEACHER, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 38-42. McGlashan, L, Waldron, R, & Purcell, S 2008, 'Holes - an online and blended learning literature study for Year 8: Submission for Assignment 2, ECX703 eLearning Technologies and Media, Deakin University', Meiers, M 2009, 'The use of ICT in schools in the digital age', The Digest, vol. 2009 1.

  40. References continued Morgan, B & Smith, RD 2008, 'A Wiki for Classroom Writing', Reading Teacher, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 80-2. Prensky, M 2001, 'Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants', On the Horizon, vol. 9, no. 5. Richardson, S 2010, ‘Using Wikis for Text Studies’, accessed 05/09/2010 Richardson, S 2010, ‘Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah’, accessed 05/09/2010 Solvie, PA 2008, 'Use of the Wiki: Encouraging Preservice Teachers' Construction of Knowledge in Reading Methods Courses', Journal of Literacy & Technology, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 57-87.

  41. References continued Spires, HA, Lee, JK, Turner, KA & Johnson, J 2008, 'Having Our Say: Middle Grade Student Perspectives on School, Technologies, and Academic Engagement', Journal of Research on Technology in Education, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 497-515. Tharp, TL 2010, '"Wiki, Wiki, Wiki--WHAT?" Assessing Online Collaborative Writing', English Journal, vol. 99, no. 5, p. 40. The New London Group 2000, 'A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing social futures', in Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures, Macmillan, South Melbourne, pp. 9-37. Wetzel, D 2008, 'Using Wiki Technology to Engage Students: Educational Technology Strategies for Creativity and Collaboration', Suite, retrieved 30/08/2010, <>.

  42. References continued Wetzel, D 2009, '5 Strategies for Using Wikis in the Classroom: Engaging Students in Technology Projects that Support Learning', Suite, retrieved 30/08/2010, <>. Wiki Matrix: compare them all,, accessed 05/09/2010