Wikis in the language classroom

The huge list of examples proves that a lot of teachers use wikis in their classes, although the ways that wikis are applied differs greatly. Some teachers use them for all kinds of issues, like providing a platform where students can submit their work, collaborate with each other and also to post information about the daily routine of the class (e.g. homework, assignments, etc.) Thus, wikis are used for classroom management and different learning opportunities.  An example:

http://wilson6.wikispaces.com/

The wiki features all kinds of useful content, for example a parents’ page, information about quizzes/ current homework, wikis for different school subjects, and also a page that provides rules for working with the wiki. This might not be a perfect example for language learning with wikis but it shows how versatile the format can be.

Others created their wikis for a certain project, for instance a ‘book club’ where students get the chance to write about their reading, discuss and also recommend books for one another. An example would be:

http://hobbitalk.wikispaces.com/home

The whole wiki is about their reading in class which was Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”. This wiki shows that working with books is an appropriate way of using wikis since everybody can contribute by editing already existing pages and also by creating new ones. The class did not only analyze sequences and expresse their opinions towards certain passages but they created helpful pages to understand the book fully, e.g. a vocabulary list or a wiki page about Tolkien’s Middle-Earth that provides further information about the complex world featured in the book. This could contribute to a deeper understanding of their reading and enhances the fun while reading the story to a great amount.

After all, I think that wikis can enhance working in language classrooms if a teacher implements them well. This includes introducing wikis properly and also guiding the students on their first steps of creating and editing content. The overall design of a wiki is important as well. Throughout my search for interesting wikis I encountered so many wikis that might feature brilliant content but were a total mess and did not contribute to the viewer’s orientation at all.

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