The capabilities of a Wiki are exciting for a new teacher to incoporate into a classroom. We could provide activities for students to work in groups allowing them to make decisions for themselves to take responsibility for their choices and direction of learning. Schneiderman and Kearsley's (1999) Engagement Theory framework emphasises meaningful learning for technology based learning. Engaged learning involves activities for students which possess an active cognitive process such as creative, problem solving, reasoning, decision making and evaluation.
My grade five class next term is studying a unit on the Great Barrier Reef. I can vision students setting up their own Wiki to portray both the commercial and environmental concerns regarding one of the natural wonders of the world. It would contain factual information and and personal opinions including the positive and negative aspect of both arguments and make it available for community members to make an informed decision regarding the future of the Great Barrier Reef. This type of activity includes the three comooponents of the Engagement Theroy;
- Project Based
- Outside focus.
The engagement theory portrays how important it is for students to be engaged for effective learning to occur. Research suggests that the most common use of computers in primary schools has been for word processing or for simply retyping handwritten test to produce a "nice copy" (Downes & Fatouros,1995). I have seen evidence of this but I aim to be a teacher with a constructivist view who value and understand the importance of children's learning; they need to be engaged in meaningful effective activities to constuct their own understandings.
In helping students become producers of knowledge a teacher's main instructional task is to create activities or environments that allow the student opportunities to engage in highter order thinking. Students' are to manipulate information and ideas in ways that transforms their meaning and implications (Queensland Governement, 2004). The reef wiki project allows student's to engage in the construction of knowledge. The outcomes are not always predictable but students' can combine facts and ideas in order to synthesise, generalise, explain, hypothesise and arrive at a conclusion or interpretation (Queensland Government, 2004).