4D1: Wikis in the Classroom

Say wiki and colleagues instantly think Wikipedia and sound the alarm. The general attitude is that Wikipedia should not be used in education. The validity, reliability, and credibility of Wikipedia are usually put to question. As I researched for another part of this module, I came across two sources that substantiate the educator’s hesitancy to use Wikipedia in the classroom. The disclaimer page for Wikipedia alerts users as to how quickly content can change and advises that the source may not be appropriate for certain types of research. Young (2006) makes the point that Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikpedia, advises college student against using Wikipedia as a reference source for papers. See the source here.

However, references sources aside, wikis have potential for teaching students valuable skills about collaboration, research, editing, and using online tools. Students may also learn about things far outside of their current realm. The class wiki, Flat Classroom Project at http://flatclassroomproject.wikispaces.com/ was particularly inspiring. The site was quite comprehensive. Students in the United States and Bangladesh exchanged information. On the site were detailed instructions for partner assignments and rubrics were included for easy reference. I was also able to view the student created pages and read about the topics they studied.

In my own classroom, I visualize using wikis as a collaborative tool that students can use to develop the skills I mentioned above. I think it is important to include the grading rubrics on the site as was done in the Flat Classroom Project. To most students, creating a wiki is probably much more appealing than writing a research paper. Working with a partner is usually met with enthusiasm and building an online project can be thought of fun. After having worked on wikis in BCEOL and other classes, I am aware of the frustrations of working with the technology of wikis and how important patience is when working in a group. I am also aware of how much I appreciate the members of the groups I’ve worked with. These experiences can help me help students navigate wikis and learn teamwork skills.

In the Allied Health classroom, some potential wiki topics are:

Choosing a Nursing Home for Your Loved One

Finding the Right College for Your Career (Insert the Career Name, i.e., Nursing, Physical Therapy, etc.)

Advanced Directives and DNR orders

Choosing the Best Hospital (or Doctor) for __________(Procedure/Surgery)

Diagnosis and Treatment of ____________________(Disease, Disorder)

Growth and Development Series (Infant to Elderly)

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2 thoughts on “4D1: Wikis in the Classroom

  1. jennhund says:

    I am really glad you included that link to Jimmy Wales discouraging the use of Wikipedia as a resource in college. Every year I have students ask me if they are using it to find the references (as a starting point) why can’t they just use Wikipedia. This will be a perfect article to show them!

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