- 1 Wikieducator through our eyes
- 1.1 Literature review
- 1.1.1 Historical learning theories
- 1.1.2 Connectivism and collectivism
- 1.1.3 Connectivism in the local context
- 1.1.4 Wikieducator
- 1.1 Literature review
- 2 Group reflections
- 3 Here is our personal reflections:
Wikieducator through our eyes
Looking at the examples like Wikipedia, it is obvious that collaboration on internet wiki pages can be useful to anyone having access to the Internet. Whether this success can be the same in the Educational field is very much open to question!Provision of free open educational resources is definitely a major step in that direction. Will wikis be just other elearning platforms?will they help in attaining the objectives of the open educational movement?So many questions that need some probing and a useful and constructive insight.
Read and leave your comments here http://www.wikieducator.org/index.php?title=Talk:Wikiflexion/Reflexions
Historical learning theories
Historically there have been three main theories of learning, behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism. The behaviorism movement proposed by John B.Watson in 1912 focuses on objectively observable behaviors and discounts mental activities, defining learning as nothing more than the acquisition of new behavior. From the passive view of learning adopted by the behaviorist school sprung a quite different view. The cognitivistic school made mental processes the main focus of their study in contrast to the behavioristic assumptions that the learner is determined by his environments and so passively adapts to the circumstances.
More recently, some Educators adopted a more relativistic viewpoint called Constructivism. This movement assumes that learners are actively attempting to create meaning, knowledge from their experience, if any. Learners often select and pursue their own learning. Constructivist principles acknowledge that real-life learning is messy and complex and that this dynamic learning way will be more effective in preparing learners for life-long learning.
A community of learners sometimes emerges with collaborative participation on course contents in a social context and this creates what we refer to as the socio-constructivist school of thought. Tools and resources are available for learners to operate and manipulate until understanding is fully mastered on a given task. The particular approach represents the world as a social system where one depends on the other and as learners work together in a community for joint benefit.
Connectivism and collectivism
All these theories to some degree provide only a partial insight into specific aspects of the learning and knowledge process. The shortcomings of behaviourist, cognitivist, and constructivist ideologies of learning are answered in light of learning as a connection-forming (network-creation) process. Schools should begin preparing individuals for the new demands of a post-industrial information society, which requires people to work with information (Logan, 2002).
George Siemens, a tertiary educator and theorist, has also acknowledged this problem, suggesting another theory, which he has coined as connectivism. Siemens’ ideas are quite Vygotskian in nature, acknowledging that “learning needs and theories that describe learning principles and processes should be reflective of underlying social environments’ in a process that recognises that ‘technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn’.
Collectivism refers to the community use of technology. Wikipedia is undoubtedly THE example to cite here. Through massive cooperation and collaboration, individual biases gave way to a global effort towards a common goal. Rheingold (2002), talks of “smart mobs” as an indication of the evolving communication technologies that will empower the people.
Collaboration is the basis of the collectivism approach. The term "collaborative learning" refers to an instructional method in which students at various performance levels work together in small groups toward a common goal. Johnson and Johnson (1986), proponents of collaborative learning, claim that there is persuasive evidence that cooperative teams achieve at higher levels of thought and retain information longer than students who work quietly as individuals. The shared learning gives students an opportunity to engage in discussion, take responsibility for their own learning, and thus become critical thinkers (Totten et al., 1991). More recently, Brookfield and Preskill (1999) formed a rationale for collaboration which brings to the fore the importance of conversation and critical discussions as a training process. Blogging has created a new form of collaborative discussions, which allows students to express themselves in a new environment where they can observe, reflect, and share. As the audience and popularity of blogging increases, the collaborative spirit that exists at the heart of blogging should enable teachers to do a more effective job of teaching literacy in the traditional sense as well as in the context of an emerging new definition of literacy in a digital age (Warlick, 2005).
Connectivism in the local context
Connectivism presents a model of learning that acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity. How people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized. These new tools if used effectively can assist governments across many countries in addressing the issues of increasing global demand in higher education. The government of Mauritiusand mauritian educators all have a role to play in the promotion on connectivism in the local context
The role of the government
With a highly educated and trained workforce, Mauritiuscan surely stand to the new challenges of a Global Village, which is becoming more and more competitive and demanding each day. Luckily, The mauritian government has recognized this and legislation to create a third university for its 1.2 million people has already been passed. Connection to the World Wide Web today represents a major advancement of technology where information and resources are at our fingertips.
This could well be used, as a major platform to bring about a major reduction in costs necessary for investment in higher education. Should that source be used efficiently and effectively, then this would help as a major boost in the statistics for both full time as well as part time students.
The role of educators
So far, the connectivism approach has stumbled against many barriers here in Mauritius. Educators are still skeptical about the quality of educational materials available on the Internet and are not keen to change their old traditional pedagogical forms of teaching. A handful of educators are however working hard to make a difference. The Msc Educational Technologies program offered by the University of Mauritius in 2008 adopts the connectivists’ approach to education whereby students are given the means to learn and succeed on their own with the lecturers being the guide-by-the-side. Lecturers offering this course such as Sandhya Gunness are standing out by their novel methods of teaching, which encourage students to learn on their own but in a collaborative way. One assignment by Sandhya Gunness given as part of the “social networking” module consisted in getting all students of the course to participate in an online workshop so as to learn wiki and other skills.
This workshop was organized by the team of Wikieducator that also recognizes the importance of Open educational resources and community effort in the learning arena.
A novel educational concept. A massive community effort. A vision. Wikieducator portrays itself as a dynamic online community, which is primarily intended to provide a collaborative open authoring environment for the support of free open educational content. The website provides free e-learning content which can be viewed and modified collaboratively by people around the world under the creative commons attribution share-alike licenses.
The founding leader and backbone of this ambitious and challenging project, all find a host in the name of Wayne Mackintosh who continues to provide his unconditional support to the project and to inspire existing and potential contributors. Wikieducator was launched and funded by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). The project was initially introduced at the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) course developers meeting in Mauritiusin August 2006. Since then, the project has moved from budding recognition to worldwide interest and participation.
Beliefs of the Wikieducator Community:
Objectives and strategies
Wikieducator makes use of a couple of strategies to reach its goal, that is to develop a free version of the entire education curriculum by 2015. These strategies include:
Aims of Wikieducator
The main aims of the Wiki Educator project is to build a successful and sustainable global community dedicated to the Design, Development, and Delivery of free access to learning materials which will help for the development of a free education curriculum by 2015.
To be able to meet the target , the main strategy that would be adopted relies on four main points :
This is mainly geared towards developing the necessary knowledge and skills of people , such that they can then help in development of high quality learning materials.
This can be achieved through community nodes on WikiEducator (e.g. VUSSC, FLOSS4Edu), technology think tank meetings (e.g. Tectonic Shift Think Tank) and fostering strategic relationships with the freedom culture (e.g. Wikiversity and the WikiMedia )
Analysis of the WikiEducator website shows that the development of free content is divided into three main phases as follows : Phase 1: Establishing foundations (May 2006 - Dec 2007) Phase 2: Scaling up free content development (Jan 2008 - Dec 2008)
This phase consists of the following main points:
Phase 3: Sustainable implementation of free content in education(Jan 2009-)
The Learning4Content project
This program provides training via a set of newbie tutorials often delivered in online forums in learning4content workshops. The online forum, which started (eL4C4) on the 27th of april 2008 and lasted one week regrouped students, educators, professionals as well as amateurs from all around the globe wanting to learn more about the world of wikis. One of the targets of wikieducator is not only to provide free educational materials but also to equip educators and others with the skills to use these open educational materials constructively. Some people get to know about the wikieducator workshop through mails, blogs and other social networks shared by friends, collegues, family members and others. They, in turn, are encouraged to invite more and more people to contribute their knowledge to this community through this collaborative global initiative and expand this dynamic family
This approach has fervent proponents as well as opponents. Are these online workshops effective in imparting wiki skills? Are there any disadvantages to this approach? What are the learning theories that are related to this approach? Students of the University of Mauritius of the Msc educational technologies batch have pondered and reflected on these questions in this report.
The learning4content online forum has so far proved to be a big success. The approach adopted is in line with the connectivist theory proposed by Siemens as well as the social constructivist theory. Wikis provide multiple benefits and the workshops are there as an enforcement so that people learn how to make full use of this amazing tool to enhance learning practices. The workshop outlines to a good extent the positive effects of wikis via feedbacks from participants as well as the growth of the community.
Advantages of wikis
As we already know, wikis provide open access, making resources easily reusable on other platforms. They are easy to edit, making development much more participatory, rather than reliant on developers. Wikis provide standard interface, meeting usability criteria and helping to maintain a base line quality standard. Hence wikis support the connectivist view of learning, which says that learning should not be individualistic. According to Siemens, technology is altering (rewiring) our brains (and) the tools we use define and shape our thinking. This is indeed demonstrated by the evolution of wikis which seems to gain ground on a daily basis. People now use wikis such as Wikipedia for formal as well as informal researches on the Internet.
Advantages of the wikieducator workshop
The online workshop organized by wikieducator emphasizes the benefits of wikis even further.
The role of a coordinator/facilitator or teamleader in a workshop like this one is crucial to its success. If these “key persons” are able to earn the respect of the members and have proper power of coercion, then members would respond accordingly. The contract signing at the very beginning of the workshop gave the participants a sense of ‘responsibility’ and commitment. This approach allows participants not only to learn the wiki skills but also to contribute to the growth of the community by creating resources.
The learning network is hence self-organizing. The facilitator can influence the creation of new resources and provide guidance as to the relevance of the information added. Rocha defines self-organization as “the spontaneous formation of well organized structures, patterns, or behaviours….” The insertion of new creative resources within wikieducator can often be the instigating influence to a rapid reorganization. If the resource significantly informs the existing structure, it can quickly become a good reference.
Another forte of this workshop is the step-wise, easy to understand newbie tutorials, from which users can learn basic wiki skills then progress to a level of expertise with ease. No programming skills are required for this workshop; anyone who wishes to share his or her teaching or learning material can participate. The communication between the learners and the facilitators are easily done through discussion threads. A flexible learning approach is adopted whereby participants can either do the tutorials on a daily basis or catch up at a later stage if they happen to fall back a little.
The user page tutorial triggered some healthy competition whereby participants strived to reach higher certifications like the wikibuddy certification. It is interesting how common projects and interests can bring such a myriad of different people together on the same footing. Educators from different countries, cultures, beliefs or academic skills can share their knowledge. This can inspire more educators to bring their fruitful collaboration to this learning platform. While more and more professionals join in the community, it will eventually lead to better open content materials being produced for everyone. Acceptance of free educational material would hence see a considerable rise and help in bridging the digital divide.
Finally, wikieducator community is adaptive. It constantly adjusts and transforms in reaction to the world around. Resources within the network continuously update themselves, accruing ongoing benefit to the entire structure. In a sense, we can see this phenomenon in the field of human knowledge growth over the last half-century. The stunning advancements of science and society can largely be attributed to the increased capacity of people and organizations to connect with each other (George Siemens, 2005). The workshops can also evolve positively as more tutorials are added and more people join the community!
The dynamism exhibited by this community is exemplary. Up-to-date researches in a particular field can more easily reach the wikis on the Internet rather than books and publications. A cycle of knowledge development (personal to network to organization) is established which allows learners to remain up-to-date in their field through the connections they have formed and hence have the latest educational resources at their fingertips.
The workshop has not only also allowed many educators to get in touch with each other but also facilitated the establishment of community networks and collaboration with existing free content initiatives in education. It was noticed that many educators from Africa were present in the workshop. African countries have limited financial resources and hence often need to rely on alternative resources, which are available for free on the Internet. This outlines the role of the wikieducator workshop which ensures training of African educators and others so that these people can effectively use the new technologies that wikis foster.
Our Msc in Educational Technologies program offered by the University of Mauritius embeds participation in this workshop as part of an assignment so that students do not merely rote learn how to use a wiki but also learn to be an active participant in the community. This is more challenging and captures the interest of participants to a greater extent.
The workshop has also allowed many educators to get in touch with each other. It has thus facilitated the establishment of community networks and collaboration with existing free content initiatives in education. It was noticed that many educators from Africa were present in the workshop. African countries have limited financial resources and hence often need to rely on alternative resources, which are available for free on the Internet. This outlines the role of the wikieducator workshop which ensures training of African educators and others so that these people can effectively use the new technologies that wikis foster.
While a Constructivist would likely see the workshop solely as a social medium for interaction, a Connectivist can also see it as an extension of the mind. The workshop allows reflective and constructive thoughts to be expressed by all participants and the possibility of learning through interaction. So participants can build on their knowledge and also interact simultaneously. Pierre Levy describes this phenomenon as one in which ‘mutual recognition and the enrichment of individuals’ leads to ‘universally distributed intelligence, constantly enhanced, coordinated in real time, and resulting in the effective mobilization of skills’, all activities that take place every second in both the physical and virtual worlds.
Having had the opportunity to participate the Wikieducator project, we believe there are certain points that 'might' be drawbacks of wikieducator. But am sure these points are arguable:
Here is our personal reflections:
I used and am using wiki sites to look for information regarding my day-to-day training. However, Wikieducator was brought to us by our lecturer at UoM, Ms Sandhya. Although I knew that anyone could contribute, I never did it in the past. This is a very interesting experience, we are really getting into it. This is the first time I am creating pages and, more importantly, collaborating with people from around the world. Its really a good feeling! I think creating good open content material is an important step towards eliminating the digital divide. And am ready to contribute the litle I can to make this project which is already being a succuss.
My concern, however, is how to get these contents reach those who don't even have access to a computer? We are lucky to get access to a computer and to the internet (though i think it is still very expensive even here in Mauritius - in some region of Mauritiusit is still to come! Am mentionning it here because, we are supposed to be among the 'developed' countries in the technology area in the African region...). Now what about those poor African countries.. not to mention other part of the world.
I think for the open content to really be adopted by the vast majority who cannot afford expensive materials, we should find a way to provide certain recognition by employers (be it private or public) for the materials being created here. Now I have one example which Wayne pointetd out to me, the CCNC project. May be in some point in time, this could become a standard for computer literacy just like we have ICDL, IC3, Microsoft digital literacy and, other certifications... I havent gone through the entire documention yet, may be its in the wiwkieducator project...
Thank you Sandhya for leading us up here..., and thank you for the encouragements Wayne!
WikiEducator is the place where anyone can write and contribute. Contributors can come from any part of the world. They are free to participate in WikiEducator. It gives educators the freedom to teach. Educators are free to add the contents of their choices without the need of a high level of technical skills. All they need is a free account on WikiEducator. But before contributing, anyone creating or editing an entry must first register so that all changes can be tracked and identified.
It has no barrier to entry but it does require effort from volunteers. WikiEducators are doing amazing work and trying to bring people out of poverty. It facilitates learning at a global level by providing the world with Free Educational Content. Wiki Educator is a good guidance to train people on wiki skills. It’s just a marvelous place to share and build a strong relationship.
Me and my friends have contributed happily and willingly on WikiEducator with the guidance of our Lecturer Mrs Sandhya Gunness teaching at VCILT University of Mauritius. And also the tutorials that WikiEducator provides are a great help to its users and this is one of the main reason of being so successful. I’ve never created any page on the net and thanks to this new project I’ve got the opportunity to create my own web page. Vidushi. WikiEducator keeps on inviting people to grow the community. And I feel proud to be a member.
But unfortunately limitation to wikiEducator is that not everybody have access to the internet and thus it restricts participation.
Schools, Colleges, Technical Vocational Education and Training Institutions & Universities are places where it is expected to be transmitting knowledge, skills and attitudes to our younger generations as well as adult learners. They are, however, at times highly criticized for distributing so-called inert knowledge, i.e., knowledge that is accessed only in a restricted set of contexts even though it is applicable to a wide range of our day to day activities or else to the economic needs of the country.
The causes of limited knowledge & skills transfer are mostly attributed to the disembeddedness of learning situations in our Institutions. Instructional procedures that result in learning & skills development in the sense of being able to recall relevant information provide no guarantee that learners will spontaneously or apply it to some context later in life. Authentic learning - acquiring knowledge in the contexts that will give the acquired knowledge & skills its useful meaning, is now being presented as an alternative to our new generation. Underpinning these reform proposals is not only a major concern with efficiency & effectiveness , but is also a new epistemological theory, labelled as constructivism.
The actual system where the students are enclosed within the four walls of a classroom does not help in the emancipation of the learner. We are too much focused on the pedagogy and curriculum based delivery of education and training. The digital divide is what is needed to effect the needed change.
As I joined the Wiki Educator Project as part of my MSc – Educational Technologies course at the University of Mauritius ( here a big thanks goes to Mrs Sandhya for having exposed to us this fantastic platform for sharing of knowledge and contributing positively in the Wiki Project ) I was immediately struck by the illustration it provided of why connectivism or the so called network-based learning is so important.
I have always been using internet as tool to either communicate or else in search of information related to my professional activities. At times, to relax as a sports fans, I used to log to the Sky Sports & News website in search for sports and news around the Globe. Our students makes use of extensive use of the Wikipedia website in search of technical information , but it has never impressed me at first sight. My first impression of the Wikipedia website was that it is simply another type of online dictionary where we can find meanings of any words that may exist.
But by joining the L4C project, I have really seen the vast ocean of information available on the different wiki links and has enabled me make new friends. The people behind this immense platform are doing a marvellous job and it is only by sharing of knowledge and information that one gain from each others experience.
Been someone who is in touch with students coming from various backgrounds and it is a fact that most of our students comes from either the middle or low income people. The students do at times face major financial problems when enrolling on training programs in our Institution. We also have a social role to play in the society,thus by giving the opportunity to our students to make use of computers and having access the internet is a means by which we try to bridge the gap between the haves and the haves not. Access to internet is one of the means by which we can spread the WIKI family in this global village.
I knew about Wikipedia for quite some time now. When I was still doing my degree course, everytime there was an assignment and whenever I needed any free online resources, my first reflex was to check it out on Wikipedia first. I did not really about WikiEducator at that time; neither did I know how it operated nor how it actually worked.
I really understood the whole Wikipedia and WikiEducator concept only recently through my lecturer Mrs Sandhya Gunness when doing my Master’s degree. She introduced to me and the other students the Wiki world, through the free workshops, which helped us a lot. My opinion is that I believe, in a couple of years, WikiEducator will become the main free online community and reference for schools, polytechnics, universities, vocational education institutions and informal education settings. The fact that WikiEducator had a record of 15,147 visits to its website on 7 May 2008 shows that they are there and still a fast growing community.
In fact I found this interesting and was really amazed how the whole thing works. What could be simpler than creating a WikiEducator account & get free Wiki skills from the workshop training to edit Wiki contents and either help out a specific project, or create my very own project?
I am also fascinated by the fact that this was all created by people who had one common thing in their mind and that is they all believe passionately that learning materials should be free and open to all.
Although I don’t use WikiEducator that much for my work now, due to the fact that I am a system and network administrator, I still frequently use it for my personal knowledge and for my master’s degree assignments. I find it really easy to create a webpage using the Wiki tools. It is user friendly and they allow us to create whatever we want to represent, whether it is text, tables or images. Despite this, I would have liked if WikiEducator gave us more tools to enhance our page, such as changing background color and tools that enable us to add diagrams such as pie charts, bar charts and so on to represent statistics.
Despite these unavailable features, I firmly believe that WikiEducator will become THE free online education community that we expected when it was created. The fact that many initiatives such as free workshops to provide training on editing projects are being done shows that there is a high will for WikiEducator to reach its objective and I am sure that it will not be long before it does so. The high number of Internet users around the world who visit WikiEducator pages everyday simply proves this.
I have been using wikipedia since four years ago when I was doing my degree and I still make use of it to look for learning materials and tutorials for my students. I have also encouraged my students to do so whenever they want to look for information about a particular concept. As for wikieducator, I did not know about it. I came across it thanks to my lecturer Mrs Sandhya Gunness who introduced me and my friends to the wiki community. It was really an immense pleasure to learn how to develop contents in wiki as I had never thought that one day I would be able to create my own user page.
The thing which I found most interesting is how can people edit the page without the need for a user account? People from any part of the world are able to work on the same page. It is really a great experience collaborating with people all around the world and sharing their ideas. By working on the tutorials during the workshop training, I really learnt a lot about the wiki tools available. Even those people who are not in the field of Information Technology or those who don’t like programming stuffs, were able to create their user page and this is really fantastic.
My only concern is for those people who do not have a computer and access to the internet. Even the school where I work there are many students who don’t have a computer. Fortunately at school they do get access to the internet to look for the learning materials.
The training workshop had been a very wonderful experience for me and thanks a lot Mrs Sandhya and Wayne for your constant support.
I stepped into the wikieducator world as a tentative visitor and I now feel like I am an active part of a big family! I initially thought that wiki skills would be quite hard to acquire. Afterall, would a chemistry teacher with only a very basic knowledge of wikis be able to cope with an extensive workshop? Would I be able to work collaboratively with people from all over the globe?Just a fluttering of apprehension mixed with a good dose of excitement!
The apprehension was however, quite short-lived. Wayne ensured that everyone had a very warm and hearty welcome. I believe that the role of a coordinator/facilitator or teamleader in a workshop like this one is crucial to its success. If these “key persons” are able to earn the respect of the members and have proper power of coercion, then members would respond accordingly. Through continuous feedback, words of encouragement and good availability, Wayne has made sure that the learning environment was kept cordial and appropriate! Daily instructions and tutorials were quite easy to follow. If I happened to fall back a little, I could easily catch up.
The userpage exercise triggered some healthy competition whereby some participants including myself struggled to reach the wikiapprentice level 2 certification! A good motivation! This could only help us sharpen our wiki skills.
The next issue that I had to overcome was how to approach people in the workshop and propose to them a collaborative project!! Somehow, it was easier than I thought it would be. It is interesting how common projects and interests can bring such a myriad of different people together on the same footing. I had the opportunity to interact with people from different horizons namely Nikolaos who gave me a taste of the Greek culture before a fly there myself next month.
I can now firmly vouch in favor of wikieducator as a major tool in the learning process. It has proved its usefulness and its worthiness is according to me, beyond question. However there is one issue that I have been pondering on. Mauritian teachers are used to spoon-feeding the students with the required knowledge and as a result all some students really do is rote learning. Most of these teachers do not trust open content data as reliable and discourage students from digging info from the Internet. I believe that open content data can be very useful. However professionals and amateurs can work hand in hand to address remaining quality issues to raise open content data to a higher level of quality.
Some teachers may feel that their role would be undermined, as students would turn more and more towards other methods of learning. I cannot digest this! . Teachers should give the means to students to succeed on their own. The formers should be equipped to dovetail tools with educational know-how so they can best educate today's technologically-saturated students. Sandhya is an example. She has been a very competent guide and support to us all. I do not know if a handful of us can make a difference but we will certainly try…
Wikieducator is the open source community which is not limited to people with programming skills unlike other movements based on the development of computer software. Any reader can modify the text of an entry or contribute new entries. The openness of wikieducator is instructive and transparent. Users can easily review history of an article and on-going contributors’ discussions.
I came to know about this platform through my lecturer, Mrs. Sandhya of the VCILT, University of Mauritius. She has a strong commitment towards us and I thank her for involving us in this field. We got enrolled to the wikieducator workshop just in time! At the beginning of the workshop, I was at a loss, but I managed to catch up with the tutorials which were very constructive and easy to follow.
What I appreciated a lot during the workshop was the follow-up done by the facilitators. They are always present to appreciate and advise us on our exercises done.
Through the tutorials one can find out about the ease with which wikieducator can be helpful. Educators from different countries, cultures, beliefs or academic skills can share their knowledge here. This can inspire more educators to bring their fruitful collaboration to this learning platform. I benefit a lot through this community and I intend to donate some learning materials soon.
Unfortunately, people who are still using dial-up connection system, cannot benefit from the show me how section to get an animated version of the tutorials. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant and very explicit workshop.
Let us hope that institutions will recognise the positiveness in offering free content to learners, especially in developing countries.
WikiEducator as a whole a an a laudable initiative for the propagation of innovative learning pedagogies. Considering the context of Mauritius, it can be said that this initiative will definitely be valued by the numerous educators that are increasingly turning around to the web for preparing their lessons. The traditional way of looking for resources only in books is being phased out by the new generation of educationist. More and more people, including students, are trying to find out simpler and less complicated versions of different topics relating to the various subjects they are studying. But we should ask ourselves why is there a shift in this age long method of informing ourselves to the use of collaborative materials such as the WikiEducator. I think the simplistic answer to this question will be the ease of access to these resources and that too at no cost, except for the Internet connection fee. Let us consider the case where a student or even a teacher wanted to read more on a particular subject and there was no means for hi to access any online materials. The most probable approach for him would have been to run to the local library and find a book relevant to the matter he was looking for. But what are the risks of doing this? The first answer would be that there may be no book available on the shelves of the library concerning the related topic. The second one would be that one or more books are available but they are just simply outdated as they are too old and the concepts have been phased out during the past years or there have been more developments in the domain which are missing in the book. The next risk would be that the book is completely out of context of the local needs of the readers. Relating to these issues, one way of resolving them is to buy newer books and put them on the shelves of the library, which in any case is a lengthy process. What does the reader do in the mean time? Wait and pray that the book would be available soon? Or buy the book himself? That of course would pose a problem in terms of cost. Most books are quite expensive in developing countries just like Mauritiusas most of the books are imported from states where the standard of living is quite high.
The solution to access to information to fit the growing interest of educational materials is definitely websites like WikiEducator. It just provides up-to-date information freely and instantly which can be modified to meet the expectancy of the local context of different parts of the world.
I have always been facinated by the Internet and its contents. I had lots of projects for my school and the cost of creating pages and hosting them really hindered my progess towards going online. Now that I have been introduced to this platform, I feel confident that I am going to realise dormant dreams and ideas for schools of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Agalega, and why not for the Indian Ocean.
Some of my coming projects are:
E-clusteringand E-twinning. I am going to inform and train teachers in primary schools to use WikiEducator as a tool for reaching parents and pupils. As Mauritius is slowly but surely becoming a cyber island, WikiEducator, like the IC3 Project of training half million Mauritians in ICT in five years, can become a ground for educators to facilitate this transition.