Saturday, June 4, 2011

WIKIS (session 5)

The use of technology in the TEFL field offers a lot of opportunities for learning progress and improvement . To work with tools like computers and the internet ; for instance, may become a motivating learning experience as students may feel excited, stimulated and inspired if they realize the advantages and benefits of using such tools in their learning and practice of the target language.

Language learners may also feel stimulated when working with authentic material and participating in collaborative tasks. In this sense, a very useful tool that allows students to participate in collaborative learning tasks is “WIKI”.

A wiki is a “website on which pages can be constructed and edited by its creator as well as by its users”. (Sharma and Barrettt, 2007). Wikis have many uses in the language learning field . When students are learning a foreign language, they actually need a context that gives them the possibility to interact and use what they have learned. Therefore, participating in the process of creating and editing a wiki may be that perfect context.

According to Sharma and Barrett (2007) some of the benefits that wikis offer to the language learning are that they propose opportunities for learners to create bonds between them which may facilitate their learning. Wikis also make learners develop a sense of responsibility and respect when they realize that they are creating a project and that they are the authors of it.

In addition, teachers benefit from using wikis as these tools can facilitate some teaching tasks such as monitoring students progress, keep a record of how students are doing, observe what difficulties they may be encountering, among others .

The use of wikis in education, and specifically in the TEFL field has become the latest trend among teachers who love using technology in their jobs. Personally, I think that this technological instrument possesses great features and offers a number of possibilities that may contribute with the effectiveness of the teaching /learning process. At this regards, based on the premise that working cooperatively and collaboratively really contributes with meaningful learning, then wikis (because of their features and devices) will continue to be very efficient teaching/ learning tools.


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