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Submissions/Wiki as a means to enhance dialog in the classroom

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

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Title of the submission
Wiki as a Means to Enhance Dialogical Discourse in the Classroom
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Shiri Mor Hagani
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Haifa University
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Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

Wiki as a Means to Enhance Dialogical Discourse in the Classroom

Shiri Hagani and Dr. Dani Ben-Zvi The University of Haifa

In this lecture we will demonstrate how the use of a MediaWiki platform as an academic learning environment, that includes weekly meetings in a classroom and online work between meetings, can promote a dialogical discourse among learners and between learners and teacher. As we are going to assert, this discourse is of great significance to the learning community as a whole, as well as to each of the learners on her own – of two aspects – their involvement and actual learning in the course itself, and the way they perceive the consequences and impact it will have on their lives thereafter. This presentation is a part of a doctoral study by Hagani under the guidance of Ben-Zvi at the University of Haifa.

In the Wikiedtech learning environment, the Wiki platform has undergone a seemingly slight change. This change, however, is very essential in practice – the conversion of the User Page to a “Personal Journal” for each of the learners. This change has created a unique educational space – “Personal Journal Space” (PJS), in which the learners expressed themselves, related reflectively to their learning process experiences, discussed their (mis)understandings, and converse with each other and with the course teacher in the PJS talk page. Alongside the PJS space an additional space was created and implemented in the weekly face-to-face lesson: the Learning Community Feedback (LCF) discussion. In the latter the learners receive an opportunity to expressed their reflections on their learning experiences and comprehensions to one another, as well as coping together with the dilemmas and challenges of collaborative learning.

The possibility to convey and listen, the inevitability of personal exposure of every learner to all other learners, on one hand, and the learner’s openness to other voices in the classroom, on the other, as well as the support and guidance of the course teacher that accompanied these processes and encouraged them, created a learning community that is based on two principal components:

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a. Giving a central arena for a discourse among learners as a means for personal educational development and as a motive for collaborative learning, in a variety of communication channels (simultaneously in writing and speech, asynchronously and synchronously, and interpersonal conversations alongside entire class discussions).

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b. Personal, professional and social acquaintance among learners that exceeds the customary level in academic courses.

These components may allow learners in courses of this kind, to reach a higher and deeper level of collaboration while working on their learning tasks. However, the dialogical discourse is not only a means for completion of the educational tasks, but does receive a meaning and value in itself: the experience of this course seems to make the learners see a possibility for authentic and meaningful collaboration in the academic environment. It also made a change in the way they see themselves as contributors and beneficiaries from their involvement in the collaborative learning. Furthermore, from an instrumental collaboration, as it may happen, from an arena of competitiveness and struggle for position one against another, as it might happen on other cases, the dialogical discourse that took place in the course created and allowed a safe, protected and accepting space, in which there is room for different voices to be heard and compete for influence on the entire community. This discourse also allowed the teacher to receive a better picture of different students’ needs, their knowledge and their coping with the course’s tasks and challenges. Moreover, it opened for the teacher additional communication channels with the students.

At this stage of the research we still face a number of challenges, for example: How does the process described above take place in practice? What is the relation between the influence of a Wiki-based learning environment and its unique design and the teacher’s influence on the learning process and the creation of the discourse? In this presentation we will address these challenges and others, and show examples and evidences to support our arguments.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)
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  1. Shiri
  2. CT Cooper · talk 12:10, 1 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Dani.benzvi 20:36, 1 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Vibhijain 16:36, 7 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Amir E. Aharoni
  6. Alexander Naumov 14:07, 28 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]