Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wiki Saved Me from My Collaborative Woes

I have had a perpetual block against collaborative learning that goes all the way back to my days as an undergraduate student. I had a teacher who assigned us our groups, wouldn’t change my group upon request, faulted groups when any member didn’t do their part, and faulted individuals if she saw evidence that some students were compensating for others. So, I worked really hard on behalf of my lazy dopy group, only to receive an undeservedly low grade, one which I appealed for 1 ½ years before I had it stricken from my record.

So perhaps it’s understandable why I now, as an educator, am very reluctant to make my students do group work.

But God bless modernity! I am so excited at the possibility of using wikis in my classroom. I am so excited at never having to rely on a corny smile and nod to determine whether or not a student contributed to the group. I am so excited to never put the hard workers in the uncomfortable position of telling whether or not the other had actually contributed. I absolutely love the notion that the computer will tell me exactly who did what and when, and will tell me who changed anything along the way.

I know that many an educator swears by collaborative learning. I thank the concept of the wiki for reawakening in me the possibility of making it work.

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