Education Technology Integration in Classrooms: Wikis & Weblogs as Cooperative Learning Tools

Capitalize on student interest in technology and social networking using Wikis and Weblogs to expand cooperative learning outside the classroom.

Wikis and Weblogs make superb platforms for online sharing of ideas for essay writing, questions, answers, discussions, videos, and podcasts that engage learners and enhance learning result in the production of corporate bodies of knowledge.

Education Technology Integration in Classrooms

Wikis – Beyond Wikipedia

Wikis (meaning “quick” in Hawaiian) make good forums for literature circles, lab groups, debates, communal writing, and group assignments. Critical thinking and writing skills are developed as students explore, grapple with, question, and expand upon new course materials and prepare for tests. While all the information collected on Wikis may not be reliable, the posting of unreliable data gives teachers the opportunity to clear up myths and provide accurate information.

Create Wikis for groups with topical pages that include questions to explore, links to resources, graphic organizers to logically order thinking, uploaded documents, pictures, podcasts, and videos.

Weblogs for Student Blogging Groups

While used most notably for the sharing of “thoughts, opinions, and experiences,” Weblogs can also be used to extend classroom discussions, share and critique writing, explore ideas, deepen understanding and write journal responses.

Writing in a conversational tone, students develop a sense of community on Weblogs which enables them to share their thinking on given topics. Their conversational tone increases the effectiveness of this technological tool for developing critical literacy and metacognition.

User-Friendly Classroom Technology

Computer savvy students interact online in social networks and are familiar with setting up profiles. Establishing a Wiki or Weblog (or blog) is as simple as setting up and using Facebook and Twitter.

Writer’s Craft Blog

  • Assign blog groups.
  • Teacher and students establish google accounts.
  • Teacher logs in to account and sets up free blogging site using Google Blogger.
  • Teacher invites students to join the blog (click on settings, Who can view this blog, click only people I choose, input students’ email addresses, click invite).
  • Students accept blog invitation and set up personal profiles.
  • Teacher posts writing prompts.
  • Students blog, teacher and students comment on blogs and students respond to comments.

Benefits of Technology Inside and Outside the Classroom

Using Wikis and Weblogs overcomes one of the greatest difficulties of group work  getting together outside of class. Students access the classroom, library, or at home computers and connect with other learners in a distance learning community that is closed to people outside the group.

Education Technology Integration

In classrooms with online access, Wikis and Weblogs can be discussed in an open forum using computers in a lab or computers and video projectors or smartboards. Other benefits include:

  • Comfortable with social networking, students find online interaction less intimidating and are often open to exploring topics and expressing their opinions.
  • Students receive immediate feedback through comments and reactions from the teacher and other students and the author has an opportunity to respond to comments.
  • Multiple perspectives are explored, questions answered and insights shared in a cooperative learning environment that benefits the entire group or class.
  • Informal writing on Weblogs gives students a high level of comfort with reading and writing blogs and commenting on other students’ thoughts, opinions, and experiences.
  • In sharing what they do not understand and strategies they are using to grapple with the difficult subject matter, students gain a deeper understanding of thought-provoking and challenging ideas.
  • Students develop their reading, writing, and technological skills.
  • When students share how they are applying what they are learning, it inspires other members of the group to do so as well.
  • Wikis and Weblogs demonstrate cooperative learning to colleagues, administration, and parents.

Make the most of technology in and outside the classroom and students’ social networking culture. Use Wikis and Weblogs to create student community forums for reading, writing, and learning and produces high levels of participation and interaction.

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