Wiki Chats as Part of Learning?

Posted: October 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

As part of David Warlick’s presentations he usually sets up a wiki for the conferences at which he is a speaker to encourage dialog about the content shared.  (Interestingly there was not one for our conference–I’m guessing because he assumed the majority of people in the room would never try to access it!)

This was a fascinating idea to me–not because I’ve never used a wiki before, but because it was a way for people to interact on a topic when in the past the conference learning slowed to a halt past the conference room doors.  According to his Wiki, these chats are “tools designed for engaged learning” and these chats (when participants post questions/ideas/thoughts/comments) build an approach to learning that builds ideas collaborative through the interaction with others.  Participants have the opportunity to gain the perspective of others–and construct meaning from these online interactions.

I’ve many times had the opportunity to read something that transforms the way I think, but the power of this transformation can be lost when I don’t interact with others about it, thus refining the way I am thinking.

So…how does that translate to the classroom?  As we prepare students to function in a world that we cannot ourselves imagine–I believe an important skill will be to collaborate to extend learning.  While I don’t know that a wiki will be the way of the future–I do believe that people interacting with each other about ideas online is probably here to stay.  We have moved from phone calls, to emails, to text messages–all with the goal of that short, immediate communication of an idea with the goal of rapid feedback.  Taking overarching principles (like what our shift to texting says about us as a culture) and applying them to how we educate students will be one way to prepare them to function in a world that we ourselves cannot conceive.

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