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Learning and Teaching with ICT

Assignment 2: Introduction

Trends and Issues (Wikis)

Introduction / Technology Description

Wikis are a powerful online tool that epitomise the Web 2.0 phenomenon. The affordances they provide are numerous but the most valuable aspects certainly lie within the collaborative and social possibilities they provide. Another key feature is the asynchronous nature of wikis, which expands a class from a specific time slot to a 24/7 learning space as well as the ability to produce and upload work to the Internet with an easy online interface. There is a growing body of empirical research that has investigated the use and affordances of wikis in educational settings with the vast majority situated within higher educational settings. There is a small amount of wiki research connected to secondary education and a smaller amount situated within a primary/elementary school setting. After extensive searching in the ERIC and EdITLib databases a number of suitable papers were chosen. These empirical research articles were located using a variety of keywords including wikis, education, primary, elementary, school, social networking and Web 2.0. There appears to be a limitation of rigorous research in the area of wikis and their educational benefits, particularly related to primary/elementary (from here on referred to as primary) education, however many of the trends and findings are transferable across the different phases of learning. For this paper, I have selected all peer reviewed empirical research articles related to primary education as well as some related to secondary and tertiary education as they appear to be representative of the other available literature in those areas as well as the fact they are relevant to primary education. Figure 1 illustrates the distribution of the eight articles chosen as they are situated across the sectors. Figure 2 shows the country of origin for each of the articles. It is interesting to note that the all research directly related to primary education was from Asia and Spain whilst the two related to secondary education were from UK and the tertiary research was undertaken in Australia, as was the cross sector study.


Figure 1. Distribution of articles by educational sector.


Figure 2. Distribution of articles by country of origin.


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