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Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 5: Wikis

The evolution of the web form 1.0 to 2.0 brought amazing changes in the way people work, communicate and get informed. A new society has developed from the use of these collaborative tools that allow people to communicate and work together without being in the same place.
 Among these popular tools the wiki is the medium in which people’s creativity and collaboration play the most important role in order to build up new things together in a fast and easy way.
According to Cunningham (cited in LeBar, 2014) a wiki is a website that can be edited by its users and it is this specific feature that makes wikis so special. Because it can be adapted to different needs in different areas and everybody can work at the same time. Imagine how much information is being uploaded and corrected straight from the source, and how fast this new information can get to other users.
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Wikipedia is one of the most popular examples of a wiki with educational purposes. It is amazing to see the numbers of collaborators that work on it nowadays and the amount of unexpected information that you can find in there. But, how can we include wikis in EFL teaching? Only to find information about a specific topic or is it possible that our students create and share their own information?
Well as the most relevant characteristics of the wikis is that they are collaborative, communicative and foster discussions, these elements make them perfect to be used in language teaching because it represents an opportunity for students to interact in a foreign language even after classes in an asynchronous way and a lot of authentic material can be included on it.
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Moreover, the use of wikis in EFL classes can develop that digital literacy that is so needed nowadays, because wikis can be fed with almost all kind of technological resources that exist. However, it is extremely necessary to train students in the use of the wiki and other resources to avoid possible frustrations during the work. As any other pedagogical activity the use of the wiki should be well planned and designed with a specific purpose, otherwise all the potential of this tool can be meaningless.
In my opinion, wikis can fit any pedagogical purpose that we want to give them. If we want to give our students external support or coaching after classes we can do it through a wiki, we can also let them to create something through web based projects using a wiki, this would be very interesting as everybody has a different background with different experiences, they will have something new to present for the rest of the class.
The following video can give us an idea about the use of wikis:

LeBar, Z. (2014) What are Wikis, and Why Should You Use Them? [Online]

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