Use of wikis as a collaborative ICT tool for extending the frontiers of knowledge in tertiary institutions
The human brain works much like a network of computers connected by nodes. These nodes allow computers on the same network to communicate effectively. Educators have discovered that today’s learning environment functions much the same way, with learners connecting to the internet, to other learners and to their teachers to increase their knowledge. This discovery has led to a paradigm shift in education which has transformed the learning environment from teacher-centered to learner-centered. The learner-centered environment allows for interactivity, communication and collaboration. When Web 2.0 technologies are used in the classroom, learners and teachers are given the opportunity to extend the frontiers of knowledge by collaborating and contributing to knowledge. This paper explores the possibility of using Wikis – a Web 2.0 technology – to extend the frontiers of knowledge. It also discusses how Wikis are presently being used in education; how to create a Wiki site using three different Wiki host platforms; and how to contribute content to Wikipedia – which is the world’s largest Wiki site. Finally, recommendations are given on what management of institutions can do to encourage the use of Wikis in the classroom.
KEYWORDS: Collaboration, Web 2.0 technology, Wikis, Wikipedia, 21st century skills, Frontiers of knowledge