Submissions:2016/Of Dead Authors and Digital Natives: a critical survey of studies on Wikis as classroom tools, and what WikiMedia educational initiatives can learn from them

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Type of submission
Nathanael Green
E-mail address
User: Petropoxy (Lithoderm Proxy)
Over the last decade or more, educators eager to harness the Web 2.0's potential for an open, collectively determined knowledge paradigm have experimented with ways of implementing Wikis in the classroom, with decidedly mixed results. "Of Dead Authors and Digital Natives" is a far-reaching survey of academic papers resulting from these efforts from 2006 to the present. In the course of this survey I analyze factors that can cause an educational wiki to succeed or fail - including educator preconceptions about both students and wikis, structures of collaboration, degrees of involvement, and integration of other learning materials - and distill these findings into several broadly applicable lessons learned that can be of use to Wikimedia's educational initiatives going forward. While not all of these studies used Wikimedia wikis, the lessons learned are broad enough to be applied generally.

- Educator misconceptions - This first part of the presentation deals with misconceptions about students and the nature of Web 2.0 technologies and how these assumptions negatively affected several educational wiki projects. These misconceptions include the survival of Prensky's "Digital Natives" rhetoric as a commonplace assumption, the ramifications of this, and misconceptions about the way in which Wikipedia collaboration actually works. While Wikimedia's educational initiatives would be less likely to suffer from these, presumably being headed by more experienced wiki users, it is still important to catalog them so that they may be more easily avoided.

- Structures of collaboration - This second part of the presentation statistically analyzes the actual structure of collaboration on Wikipedia articles, which is less "mass collaboration" and more "small dedicated groups of primary and secondary contributors," and examines the ways in which educational wiki projects can be structured to work with, rather than against, this reality. As before, relevant case studies are examined.

- Degrees of involvement and integration of other learning materials - This final part of the presentation examines ways in which the degree of integration between classroom wikis and the class itself has both positively and negatively affected their outcomes in different case studies, what accounts for this, and how some cases have shown success by creatively combining wikis with other learning materials.

Author note: This paper originated as a student essay I wrote in 2011 and has been significantly revised and expanded since then. This topic has been an interest of mine for quite a few years now, and I'm eager to share my findings with other Wikipedians for whom they could prove helpful. Thanks for your consideration!

Length of presentation
15-30 min.
Special schedule requests
Preferred room size
25 ?
Will you attend WikiConference North America if your submission is not accepted?
Probably not, unfortunately- it's a long way from Ohio and I'm short on time and money.

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