The first was the idea of collaboration. In the video Richard Buckland asks the question, “What is a Wiki?” For me a Wiki is “a living document collaboratively created by individuals over a period of time.” The more I contemplated how Wikis facilitate the concept of “collaborative learning”, the more excited I became. I first encountered the Wiki in ADLT 640 but my engagement with the Wiki was limited – primarily due to a lack of knowledge and experience with this tool. Nevertheless, it was a good beginning in exploring how this tool could be utilized to facilitate group learning.
The idea of collaboration is an important one. Collaboration goes far beyond the classroom. True collaboration contributes to true excellence in the workplace. The practice of collaboration in the learning environment can help build skill in the application of collaboration in the workplace. It may be true that the world remains fairly competitive but I would argue that the greatest achievements come through true collaboration –where individuals are committed to contribute their best work to achieve a common goal. The idea of using Wikis for learning, thus, seems a marvelous way of equipping students with the skills they will need for future collaborations in the workplace.
The second idea was that of how Wikis store versioning. In other words although anyone who has access to a Wiki may make changes to a document, the changes are saved on the cloud and the material is protected. In affect your work is locked up in a safe and with maximum security. The Wiki not only allows for documents to be collaboratively created with input from multiple individuals, but it saves a record of what and when changes are made and by whom. This record of the creative process may be reviewed at any given time.
A final idea that really appealed to me was that of the efficiency of the Wiki. I’m all about finding ways to become more efficient with my time and effort. Take for example, the illustration of note taking that was demonstrated in the video. The Wiki can be used as a repository, to store objective and factual information which can be recalled at any time by the participants of the collaborative process. Searching for topics is made easy and can be conducted by simply searching for a designated topic or phrase. No loss of information due to a damaged hard drive, lost lab top or misplaced flash drive. You can access the material at any given time from any computer with internet access.
In contemplating the future of education and learning, the Wiki seems an invaluable tool. I find myself wondering if current teaching programs include courses on how technologies such as Wikis can facilitate collective learning experiences. It seems a no brainer. Admittedly, the Wiki cannot address every challenge in the experience of collaboration, but no doubt that it is a tool which has been a real game changer in terms of enhancing the collaborative process, especially as one considers how broad the collaborative effect may extend in today’s world.
These poor fellows have no doubt had their share of frustrations with collaborative experiences. Maybe someone should introduce them to the Wiki?!