Submissions/Using wiki to create a learning community: The case of chemistry teacher's leaders

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

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Title of the submission

Using wiki to create a learning community: The case of chemistry teacher's leaders

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)

Presentation and discussion

Author of the submission

Yael Shwartz & Dvora Katchevitch

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Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot

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Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

This study focuses on the use of wiki as a learning environment, in the context of a two years professional development program for chemistry leaders-teachers. Specific tasks were designed to suit the wiki environment. Using the wiki environment aimed at constructing a community of practice that builds and shares knowledge. Establishing communities of practice and collaborative web learning are perceived as powerful means for individual cognitive development, and for fostering norms of dialogue, group interactions and information sharing. The research investigates the complex relationship between teachers' own experience, beliefs and the extent in which they support their students in constructing knowledge collaboratively.

Our Research questions are:

  1. What are teachers conceptions regarding various aspects of collaborative nature of learning using the wiki environment?;
  2. Are there differences in teachers' conceptions between well-functioning teachers and weak-functioning teachers?;
  3. What are the relations between teachers' views of their own classroom practice and their self-experience during the professional development program?,

Methodology: 20 chemistry teachers participating in a "teachers-leaders" program. The teachers varied in their age (32-62 years old) and teaching experience (3 to 25 years of experience). Our data sources included automatic data obtained from wiki data-base, teachers' artifacts, individual interviews, and finally a questionnaire, aiming at evaluating various aspects of the work in a wiki environment

Findings: For all participants writing collaboratively in the wiki environment was a new experience. During the second year, some of the teachers developed a genuine sense of community of practitioners and promoted collaboration in other means and frameworks then the wiki. In addition, different participation profiles emerged from data analysis. 28% of the teachers functioned below the minimal requirements, and could be considered as peripheral members of the community, 44% functioned as required and could be considered central members, and 28% exceeded expectations and functioned much more then was required by the tasks guidelines, and even took the role of leaders of this community. The relatively younger teachers (bellow median, age 45) significantly devoted more time to wiki work, demonstrated a significantly higher level of ownership and a positive attitude toward the collaborative artifacts. Teachers' who were active members of the wiki community tended to describe their classroom practice as more 'student-centered'. Teachers, holding a teacher-centered approach, were less willing to accept the idea of a community of learners that build their own knowledge, both during the PD and when relating to their practice.

Conclusions: Understanding the perceptions of experienced teachers and their relation to integrating collaborative tools in their practice is important especially when these teachers are regarded as "future leaders" for other teachers. Professional development needs to address the issue of technological-pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) and not be limited to support for technical issues.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)

Wiki Academy

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Almapater44 19:29, 9 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]