A. Silva, C. Vilela, M. Baptista, S. Freire, A. Freire

Instituto de Educação da Universidade de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
School has long recognized and accepted Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a mean to promote students learning. The wiki presents specific characteristics concerning communication and information publishing and sharing. These characteristics have important potential value that makes it a significant tool to be used by teachers. However, wikis place new challenges related to a different teacher role, a different attitude concerning learning and teaching strategies.
In order to meet those challenges, teachers have to adapt teaching, by accommodating innovations and by reconciling old and new ideas. However, they can be resistant to introducing changes in their practice. In-service training programmes can play an essential role in overcoming those resistances, by promoting collaboration, supporting the design and implementation of activities involving wikis, facilitating data collection concerning its impacts and reflection about teaching and learning.
The project ‘intTT: An INTegral Teacher Training for developing digital and communicative competences and subject content learning at schools’, was funded by Lifelong Learning Programme. Within this project, we developed a training programme with the goal to promote teachers’ use of wikis in the classroom. The training programme lasted 50 hour and included two phases. Initially teachers were acquainted with science curriculum and the possibilities it offers for developing inquiry activities using wikis. In this phase, teachers also learnt about wikis use and inquiry activities in science classrooms and they designed, collaboratively, inquiry activities for being explored using a wiki. During the second phase, teachers were involved with activities’ implementation in their classrooms, shared their experiences, and reflected, conjointly, on the difficulties, solutions and potentialities envisaged. The present communication aims at describing the challenges that teachers faced and the potentialities that they attribute to the use of wikis.
Participants were twenty physics and chemistry teachers from ten different schools, nearby Lisbon, who frequented the training programme. The methodology has its roots in qualitative research, with an interpretative orientation. Data was collected by means of interviews and written reflections during and after the programme. Results show that challenges presented to the teachers have different nature. Teachers mostly mention difficulties related with the need to overcome technical limitations, either in school or at home; related to restrictions of available computers and with making Internet connections; related with the time necessary for exploring the activities; related with limitations in the edition of text and pages and with the impossibility of simultaneous publication of the pages, which can lead to information loss. However, they also point several potentialities in wiki use, namely the possibility to diversify teaching strategies, occurring in formal or informal context, to allow a more open and free exploration of scientific contents, the possibility to diversity learning situations, facilitating pupils’ development of scientific, communicative and digital competencies.
It is important now to explore which new competencies should the teachers develop, in order to overcome these challenges related to wikis use and to enact all the potentialities associated with its use in exploring inquiry activities in science classes.