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Authentic learning experiences facilitated through a wiki

Video Help

Duration: 5:23

French teacher Sarah Collett and two of her students, from Hillcrest High School, describe the usefulness of using a wiki to create and enhance authentic language learning experiences.

Sarah Collett:
I started off by learning how to do a blog and then that progressed into a wiki. At first I used the wiki just as a place to put materials so that students could access it from home and they could revise things we’d done in class, and also (put) extension materials, and I still use that for all my classes.

And then I moved on to this year using My Portfolio quite a lot with my Year 11 students, and that was really a change from me being in control of what was on the wiki, to the students being in control of their My Portfolio pages. So they’ve used My Portfolio for their NCEA assessments this year. It’s really actually taken some of the pressure off the teacher with the assessments, and put it onto the students to be in control of their assessments and making sure everything’s there.

I’ve really noticed that the students comment on each others as well, they’ve all become friends within the group and they comment on each others work and says things like, “Oh why don’t you add this or change that part?” so it has become quite a good collaboration.

The My Portfolio stuff will stay – it belongs to the students so it stays with them, and it’s up to them who has access to view it.

Student 1:
The technology we’ve been using in classes has made everything a lot more independent and easier for home learning as well. We’ve started making a blog and we exchanged that with students in New Caledonia.

That gives everything a more personal view, and you can like add your own feeling to everything, and it makes everything a lot more independent to yourself.

Sarah Collett:
At the moment I’m using another wiki with my Year 10 class, and we’re collaborating with a school in New Caledonia.

Student 2:
Our teacher made it so that we could interact with students in New Caledonia who are our age and we learn about their backgrounds and their lifestyles.

It’s a good experience because we can also try and have conversations with them.

Student 1:
On the blogs we (could) comment on the other students blogs, and it was nice to see where they were at with their English. We could talk to them about it and what they liked and they would respond.

Sarah Collett:
My students and the New Caledonian students are all posting on the wiki, and they’ve made some presentations about themselves and about the school.

Student 1:
Our teacher has also set up a wiki site, which we can access from the computer, at home or at school.

Sarah Collett:
And they’re really enjoying actually being able to use French in a real, authentic situation with French speakers.

Student 1:
The fact that we could connect with other students in New Caledonia was great because we can improve on our pronunciation – and you just see how they speak and it’s sometimes a lot different than how you learn in class.

Sarah Collett:
We’ve had feedback from the New Caledonian students and they’ll kind of comment on each other's language, because my students are writing in French the New Caledonian students will say, "Oh actually we don’t say that quite like that," and kind of correct each other's work.

All of my class and all of the New Caledonian class are members, but then anybody else can look at it as well. So they can go home and show their parents or whoever.

On the two wikis that I use I’ve found that (students) we start off using them in class but students will also go away and access them at home. Especially the discussion forums, I sometimes put up a little question for them, and then they all start contributing to it, and I’ve seen that a lot of them do go home, and then will be writing (and) chatting online with the New Caledonian students from home.

Student 1:
She’s provided links for different websites that will help us in our learning.

Student 2:
One application I’ve used a lot, this year and last year, was Language Perfect. It’s been really good because you can listen to the application and see how it should sound, and then you can listen and then type the words, or you can see the words and listen to it so you can see how it’s spelt and how it sounds.

Student 1:
There’s one that we can talk into the computer and it gives us a percentage on our pronunciation, so we can refer back to that and see what we need to improve on what aspects we should look at.

Student 2:
We use technology in class to make videos. We can also see ourselves in the videos and see what we need to improve and how we can improve it.

Sarah Collett:
In our languages department we’ve got a set of netbooks, and it’s been really good that we can just integrate those into our lessons, so you’re not having to book a computer room and be fixed on that day we’re doing the computer stuff. The netbooks just allows us to be flexible.

Student 2:
We have netbooks and they’re really good because we can kind of independently choose what we want to do and choose which websites we want to visit and what we ourselves need to do.

Student 1:
It’s made a difference to my learning by,  it’s a lot more independent and you feel a lot less pressure when you’re learning on a computer because it’s by yourself and you don’t feel pressured by your classmates as well. And so it’s just a lot easier to use than talking to a teacher, and it’s a different style of learning so you get a different aspect to that as well.

Tags: Learning languages, Multimedia – video, Blogging, e-Portfolios, Secondary, NCEA, Student agency, Wiki, Digital fluency, CLA-Secondary, Classroom practice


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