Friday, 5 September 2008

Integrating a wiki in an environment for collaborative language learning (Linda Bradley & al.)

Linda started her presentation by laying out the theoretical framework (CSCL, Language Learning Competence, affordances in technology) for her study and quickly walking people through the main ideas and functionalities of wikis. The empirical setting of the study is higher education with 54 IT engineering students in 25 groups during a 7 week study course.

The F2F course is supported by a VLE, web based materials (texts, newspaper articles) and the wiki. Students work with texts learning about styles of language, formal and informal texts, argumentation and critical writing. The writing is done in collaboration with the other students (on assignments like "write about the pros and cons of wikipedia as a reference). The students uploaded their ideas in a designated folder on the wiki where they can expand the texts and ideas further together. The flow of versions is all stored in the same folder. The progression ideas and texts can be easily detected and followed. All groups gave and received feedback from their peer groups in the second assignment. The teacher gave feedback in the first assignment to set an example for the students.

The results show the nature of interaction was very much collaborative and that the nature of the feedback given by the students followed the model set by the teacher. Linda made some comparisons to the study she and colleagues carried out as a pilot to this year's study. In the pilot the use of wiki was more open-ended as in this year's study is was the specified tool to use. This resulted in a more systematic use of the environment but also a more systematic writing process.

Linda do add to my still foggy posting... :)

3 comments:

Teadira said...

I will wait for more on this talk.

Thanks,

Teadira
ULA- Venezuela

Peppi Taalas said...

More in now :) Linda will probably read this posting soon, so do ask her more if you think I've been too quick in my reporting :)

Leena Kuure said...

Hi there!
I would like to read more about the writing tasks. The ones reported by Peppi sound "authentic", i.e. they seem like real puzzles to ponder upon and not just tasks that are completed because the teacher wants so. This task design aspect caught my attention because I have friends working with similar student groups at the university and I've understood that the student culture in the engineering field does not necessarily encourage active language learning. Instead, the language courses are seen as the "necessary evil" in the degree programme. This means that even though the teachers are very enthusiastic and skilful in arranging the pedagogic designs, the students may prefer a traditional setting because it requires less energy :D

Leena Kuure