Second Article Review
Review of Vetta Vratulis and Teresa Dobson’s “Social negotiations in a wiki environment: a case study with pre-service teachers”
This research explored how social interactions and hierarchies are given within an online face-to-face learning community; specifically communities that are related to teacher education, whose interactions are delimited through the use of wikis. Social interactions and hierarchies tend to change when they exist through internet; anyone can try to switch their normal behavior and transform it into a totally new one, this is because internet based interactions can provide enough anonymity to achieve it. For this reason, this article focuses on social interactions, specifically in teacher education settings. Also, the researchers decide to work with wikis because they provide a collaborative learning environment. A single research question is used for this research: how a community of learners working collaboratively in a wiki environment established social hierarchies and negotiated power?
The context used for this research is a 12-month teacher education program which is offered by a west coast university from Canada. The amount of annually enrolled teacher education students are 800. They are divided into clusters of 36 participants. The university asks the students to work with some statements or standards according to the course they are working on. The procedure for this research is to divide the participants in groups and ask five questions related to one or two standards given by the university. After that, the participants are asked to select material from their coursework to upload to a wiki in order to demonstrate understanding and knowledge of the standard they are working on. Finally, the groups switched to work with one or two more standards. This enables each group to edit, check and revise the work done before by the group working on those standards. Concerning the hierarchies; in most of the groups, a member managed the computer, creating an automatic and unexpected hierarchy within the groups. Finally, the negotiation of authority also appears on an automatic way. In most groups, a member is chosen to upload and edit the information in the wiki, this in order to avoid conflicts.
According to Wopereis, Sloep and Poortman (2010) show that "based on the analyses of the weblog content, questionnaires and interviews, one may conclude that weblogs are suitable for structured reflective writing and feedback". This proves that the use of wikis is an interesting and helpful tool to work with in an ESL environment. Wikis provide collaborative learning, it promotes peer-to-peer learning by analyzing the information posted by each other. Another function for wikis is to receive feedback from peers as well as from the teacher or tutor, this enables students to improve their learning.
To conclude, this article shows a face of wikis that is scarcely researched, which is the aspect of the change of behavior empowered by an anonymous context. Even though this aspect can be considered as a bad one, the research shows that it is not such a big problem to cope with. The students are able to restrain their tendency to change behaviors if a proper instruction is given. Also, students are able to delegate responsibilities as well as roles even without mention it. On each group we can find someone to take care of a computer, other can take care of modifying information or completing information, etc. All of this demonstrates tht wikis are an important and powerful tool if it is properly used.
Wopereis, I., Sloep, P. & Poortman, S. (2010). Weblogs as instruments for reflection on action in teacher education. Interactive learning environments, 18(3) pp. 245-261.
First Article Review
Review of Vinesh Chandra and Christina Chalmers’ “Blogs, wikis and podcasts – Collaborative knowledge building tools in a Design and Technology course”
The research is carried out with pre-service primary teachers in a university in Queensland, Australia. Technology is one of the main learning areas in Australia. Ppre-service teachers may improve their knowledge about the main areas of their learing by participating on this type of research. Teachers solve problems presented by using technological resources such as wikis and blogs. The research questions: What evidence of learning is presented in blogs, wikis and podcasts?, and how did these social tools impact on the students? With these questions,the usefulness and impact that these electronic tools can have either as a teacher or as a student is a focal point in the research.
The research is quantitative, and the teachers (200 participants from an Ausralian University) are divided into work groups. The teachers must upload their class presentation as a podcast, then, upload a wiki to reflect mainly weaknesses and strengths within their product. And finally, create a blog to critique others' products and have a complete feedback from different sources. The information collection is carried out through the use of a blog, a wiki and recordings (podcasts). The results of this research show that teachers had an important improvement within their knowledge and learning by working with these helpful tools. This shows how electronic tools are efficient not only as a way to develop an activity in a classroom, but as well as to greatly improve the skills a teacher has. The results support the use of electronic tools and aids in a classroom. Wikis offer collaborative learning and the opportunity to write, edit and rearrange online content. This can be an option when working as a teacher in a second language class, because most students like to use technology, and the use of a wiki can support the reading and writing skills. Regarding podcasts, in this research they are required to upload the recording of the class; this is useful to check what was done through the class. This, in order to check if there is something that must be modified. At last, the use of the blog allows the work groups to give and receive constructive feedback, enabling communication and improvements among the work groups.
A similar research conducted by Guo and Stevens (2011) show "This study found that those students with past wiki experience, or enthusiastic tutors who had easy access to wikis would use wikis in their collaboration, find it useful, and intend to use it in group collaboration in future courses". As seen, several studies, such as the one carried out by Guo and Stevens show similar results about the usefulness of electronic tools. For this reason, the ESL classroom is an excellent opportunity to use electronic tools. There are a lot of skills, and each one of them can be improved or powered by using technology.
To sum up, this article promotes the use of electronic tools to improve teaching and learning. Teachers Any teachers or EFL teachers, who are afraid of using technology could be encouraged by reading articles like this. On the other hand, for young teachers, this kind of articles are a great motivation to keep using technology when teaching. And as time passes by, it will become more common to work with electronic tools, and teachers have to update the knowledge about new tools and aids that could be used to teach. As young in-training teachers, these articles are helpful to know which are the best electronic aids teachers can use at a certain ESL class. Also, considering the diversity of teaching styles, young teachers can find the electronic aids that fits better for each one.
Guo, Z. & Stevens, K. (2011). Factors influencing perceived usefulness of wikis forgroup collaborative learning by first year students. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, (2). p. 232
Types of articles
Case study: Vratulis, V., Dobson, T. (2008). Social negotiations in a wiki environment: a case study with pre-service teachers. Educational Media International. 45(4), 286-294.
Research paper: Ladza-Cazers, R. (2010). A course wiki: challenges in facilitating and assessing student-generated learning content for the humanities classroom. The journal of general education. 59(4), 193-222.
Field study: Bejune, M. (2007). Wikis in Libraries. America library Association. 26-38.
Action research: Somerville, M., Howard, Z. (2010). Information in context: co-designing workplace structures and systems for organizational learning. Information research. 15(4), 1-10.
literature paper: Koopman, B. (2011). From socrates to wikis: using online forums to deepen discussions. Kappa magazine. 92(4), 24-27.