Giving students the opportunity to learn to work within a team is a recurring theme in many educational institutions. Collaboration is required in virtually all work places so schools and universities are always looking for opportunities to get students off the individual assessment treadmill and to embrace tasks that are more about “we” instead of “I”.
The problem is that traditional assignments simply don’t work in a group setting all that well. In the world of pen and paper or even traditional, albeit electronic, documents true collaboration is difficult. What is meant to be collaboration usually turns into “you do this and I’ll do that.” That is teamwork however its not really collaboration any more than you doing the dishes while I change the car’s oil.
Wikis change all that. Wikis present an opportunity for students to genuinely work shoulder to shoulder to collaboratively create something. Something where each student can have a hand in the creation of each and every individual component. No more “my part” and “your part”. Now everyone is able to contribute to every part of their work.
It’s still early days for this technology however the ramifications of it are huge. Wikis allow true collaboration instead of simple task splitting. They allow collective production of work in a way that changes how students work together forever.