Discuss the possible long term cultural implications of Wiki technology.
They say that two minds are better than one, but is the collective intelligence really superior to that of an individual? This is the question being raised of ‘wiki’ technology, the increasingly popular internet server software that allows users to create and edit webpage content from their browser. Wikis have the ability to connect a few - or infinite – numbers of people together to collaborate on any chosen subject. It is due to this flexibility that wikis have caused a wave of cultural changes in the education, research, business and marketing sectors.
Educators of primary through to tertiary levels have begun implementing wiki technology as a teaching method. Shih and Allen (2006) state that in order to stay in touch with the digital generation, the organisational culture of educators needs to change to adopt new learning technologies. They list wiki as one of the emerging technical tools that will cause a “seismic, paradigmatic shift … from a traditional teaching and service based culture to a learning culture”. In other words, wiki is different in that it has the potential to educate students not by the traditional method of teaching, but through allowing them to learn on their own.
Further weight has been given to this argument by a research paper on wikis in the primary school classroom. The study concluded that wikis offer an “enormous potential to learning”, as it expands the “social and cultural practices of the students” (Grant, 2006). Whilst the average assignment consists of individually researching and writing a paper, wikis bring a new level of learning whereby communal work is essential. Wiki is essentially an upgraded version of the butchers’ paper and permanent markers that are used at present. Its implementation in schools would mean that group work would be easier and more rewarding. It would be the launch pad for...