Week 6 is quickly coming to an end but collaboration and learning in a virtual environment is just beginning. This course provided me with the opportunity to learn about wikis, blogs, podcasts and social networking sites and possible applications in the classroom. In my opinion, wikis offer the greatest opportunity for collaborative learning. Corporations like Disney, McDonalds, Sony and BMW use wikis to manage documents and other information. The City of Rochester, New York has created a wiki where people can share what they love or dislike about the city. From restaurants, places of interest, tours and more, this site serves as an innovative way for the City of Rochester to capture information and resources that can be shared with millions of people for little to no cost. Rocwiki.org currently has 11,578 pages with more to come.
Dr. Dave S. Knowlton, Director for The Center for Distance Education and Learning Technologies at Crichton College wrote:
"Knowledge construction is best accomplished through collaboration. In general, students learn through the give-and-take among classmates. That is, as students write contributions to discussions, they learn what it is that they are trying to say. The replies that they receive from their classmates further this learning. (For a discussion of writing to learn, see Lindemann, 1995.) When students share ideas in a discussion, they receive feedback on those ideas. Often this feedback from classmates will cause cognitive dissonance for the student because it conflicts with their original views. The dissonance encourages students to revise their views and test their revised views in light of further peer review among the class (Knowlton, Knowlton, & Davis, 2000)."
I strongly believe it is time for the school boards and districts that oversee and manage K-12, to begin considering combining asynchronous, high learner control programs where the learner controls the pace of learning with synchronous programs where there is interaction with an instructor who can facilitate learning activities and stimulate creative thinking. The most effective educational programs are those that train cognitive and metacognitive skills. If the goal is to educate today's youth to be the leaders of tomorrow, these are the skills that will be required to solve problems that will be specific to our work and social environment in the future.
City of Rochester, New York. Retrieved from http://rocwiki.org/Front_Page on January 24, 2011
Knowlton, D. (2001). Promoting durable knowledge construction through online discussion. Retrieved from http://frank.mtsu.edu/~itconf/proceed01/11.html on January 24, 2011.