Northeastern Illinois University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Page: 5713 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Creating opportunities and forums for reflection is an essential component of holistic learning. Web 2.0 technology has enabled new opportunities not only for sharing information but enabling “collaborative reflection” among students. This new application of this technology is a natural evolution that has emerged for use beginning with shared web pages to wikis.
Initially the use of multimedia technology opened exciting possibilities for educators as well as for students by significantly broadening access to information, and easing the ability to publish information. I incorporated this by requiring students to report the lab as a webpage “Virtual Lab Report”, not a traditional paper lab report. On this webpage, the students supplemented their written findings and analysis of the lab with tables, pictures, and links. This report enabled the students to create a non linear lab report, and obtain ongoing access and cross reference information for future experiments and advanced course work. In addition their work was reviewed not only by the professor but also by their peers. However, at this stage, the work was created individually by the students and s/he was the only one that had the ability to modify it. In this model, the communication was predominantly bilateral.
With the introduction of web 2.0 technologies, there was an increase in the possibilities for online collaboration. Collaboration is a central tenet of successful performance in the laboratory, but it was hard to accomplish within a non-residential university. We implemented Chem-Wiki, to extend and facilitate students’ collaboration. Students analyzed the data, and produced the web-based lab report together through the wiki. Ultimately, students were able to interact with each other regardless of time or location, and successfully implemented the lab through virtual collaboration. These wiki-reports were more dynamic than “Virtual lab reports” because they could be continually edited, updated, and monitored by group members as well as the professor in real time. Ultimately, introducing this new format enhanced the ability of students to collaborate productively and create a dynamic, boundless, community of learning.
However, both of these reports were both focused on the production of a final report. While the students learned through the collaborative process, the feedback suggested that these experiences were limited.
To enhance the existing interaction, we utilized the wiki to develop what we called “collaborative reflection.” This process helped students engage even more with the scientific process and reflect on their experiment and experience, individually and as a group. The reflections are an essential component of good learning by allowing students to understand material more thoroughly and relate it to what they already know and to real applications. Providing a time and space for reflection, allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the material, and achieve higher order thinking. While prior to this platform students were required to reflect, this process was highly individualized. The wiki created an interactive forum for collective reflection which exposed the students to diversity of thought and ideas, as well as different approaches to reflection. The collaborative reflection with wikis has allowed students to collaborate in the development of learning and ideas.
Web 2.0 technologies wiki, collaboration, reflection.