The Rise of the Wiki

As an educational system, we are experiencing a dramatic shift in how technology is utilized by our students. Nearly one hundred percent of our student population will utilize the Internet for informational research and to answer questions that they normally would have posed to their teacher, and almost all of the students will own and utilize a web capable device, such as a computer or smart phone to obtain this information.  According to a report by Becta (2008), several studies show that there is an already growing trend amongst teenagers and younger students to possess multiple pieces of technology, including laptops, mobile phones, and mp3 players.  About 50 percent of nine-year olds own and use a mobile phone or mp3 player, increasing to around 75 percent by age 15.  Since 2007, there has also been a 45 percent increase in the use of the Internet to watch video and webcasts by this age group.

The shift to Internet based research will affect the teacher’s role as the all-knowing, omnipotent source of information, changing it to that of mediator and filter for this Internet based information, which the 2010 Horizon Report identifies as an emerging trend for many teachers.  Teachers must be prepared to mentor and prepare students to analyze this information, sorting out the factual from the contrived.  This will also lead to a rise in what the report calls “just-in-time” and “found” learning (p.4).  The role of classroom will also change from the main arena for information delivery to the student, to more of an area of collaboration between students and teachers.  The Horizon Report shows that this is a fast growing trend among many educational institutions, where the “challenges facing the world are multidisciplinary, and the need for collaboration great” (p.4).

The utilization of social Internet programs, such as wikis, will arise from the trend of collaboration in the classroom.  In his article, Professor Missal (2009) states that the time in creation and utilization of classroom wikis will begin to overtake the amount of time actually spent in the classroom.  Students will be able to contribute to discussions and desegregation of information with fellow students and teachers at their leisure wherever they are, instead of waiting for the next school day’s lecture.


This is how I am planning to use the Moodle program.  My students will be able to collaborate on group projects without having to find out whose house they will have to go to or what parent will be dropping them off.  It will change the way group projects are done in my class forever.


Becta. (2008). “Analysis of emerging trends affecting the use of technology in education” Research to support the delivery and development of Harnessing Technology: Next Generation Learning 2008–14.

Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith, R., & Stone, S. (2010). The 2010 Horizon Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Missal. (2009). 12 eLearning Predictions for 2009 : eLearning Technology


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4 Responses to The Rise of the Wiki

  1. Elisabeth says:

    Isn’t it amazing what educators can put together online. I can see how this will start meaning less time in the actual classroom. I see so many benefits to this. Perhaps the greatest benefit is the amount of discussion involved in these online courses. Although there are many postitives I also have some worries too. What does this mean for teacher’s jobs. Do you think there will be more layoffs if we turn more to online based learning? This is just something in the back of my mind.


  2. rsjones says:

    I really don’t think that the use of a real classroom will die out any time soon. For instance, the experience we are getting in our courses at Post, while extremely informative and interactive, do not have the same person to person relationships that students develop with fellow students and educators when they are actually sitting in the classroom environment. This is why I am trying to combine the best of both worlds by maintaining the classroom environment and adding the digital side to it as well. Internet based classroom environments really should be used as tools right now, rather than be the norm. And if they do become the norm, they will still need teachers and educators to moderate these digital learning environments.

  3. Friedman calls calls what you’re working towards, removing internal frictions. The requirement of face to face meeting for student projects is lessened if not in some cases removed.
    You are right in suggesting, in less strong terms, that internet based learning will not, can not and should not replace face-to-face learning. There will definitely be a more dramatic shift in the student/educator dynamic than us become facilitators. In my opinion anyway.

  4. I do not think that education in lower grades should go to completely online. The face to face value and the social aspects of school remain very important. Once a person has established social networks then classes can be provided completely online. An MLS is a great way for a teacher to supplement the classroom education. You are going in a great direction.

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