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2011 TechDayPlus: Harry Carley

The following is a summary of the presentation given by Harry Carley

Working with Wikis, Technology in Teaching

By Harry Carley
Matsuyama University, Ehime

I demonstrated what a wikis was and the applications that can be include in the construction of a wiki. I then explained the variety of courses that I was using wikis with. These courses included Travel English; a world exploration English presentation class for non-English majors, and also a composition writing class that encompasses English majors from 1st year to Graduate level. Students in the writing course possess extremely varying degrees of writing ability. Thus with an imbalanced group of learners I pointed out the strong points of how a wiki can solve this problem.

Other courses utilizing wikis center on preparation for the TOEIC and TOEIC Bridge tests. The usefulness of wikis included demonstrating how easy it is for students to download videos such as YouTube, insert Google maps, images, charts and graphs, audio files and others. Most importantly, Travel English course students are able to include a wider depth of information in their presentations than they normally would use PowerPoint slides.

Composition courses employing wikis can apply the traditional approach of students editing each others writing or as I explained, with varying levels of ability, each student can write on their own page and I, the instructor can edit and comment as needed. Wikis, also have the added benefit of keeping track when each individual page has been edited by whom and on what day and time. This accountability offers the instructor a wider vision of student’s progress and task accomplishments whether in class or out.

Lastly, I rationalized how wikis can be related to test preparation courses. I especially emphasized how I am currently using wikis in the low level classes to go beyond test preparation and test taking to ‘test making’. Low level students make their own TOEIC and TOEIC Bridge tests utilizing the tools embedded in a wiki. This way learner can practice grammar construction along with tools of technology. Although, in only the first semester of research wikis have already proven to instill enthusiasm and motivation for low level students, in particular.

I ended my presentation with emphasis on the ease of understanding how to use wikis for lecturer and learner alike. Most wiki sites are free to use and download for educators. Security features include protected and secure areas where only the class instructor and members can edit their pages. This feature restricts any unwanted comments or changes by individuals outside the course or from the World Wide Web.