How are you using your wiki and other Web 2.0 tools?

I recently read an arti­cle in Edu­ca­tional Researcher that ana­lyzed the use of Wikis in schools. The find­ings were very inter­est­ing and they may serve as a cat­a­lyst for every­one to ana­lyze their use of Web 2.0 tools. In their exten­sive analy­sis researchers in the study iden­ti­fied four types of ways that wikis were being used. Those rea­sons are listed below along with the per­cent­age rate each are being used for.


  • Trial wikis and teacher research-sharing sites (40%)
  • Teacher content-delivery sites (34%)
  • Indi­vid­ual stu­dent assign­ment and port­fo­lios (25%)
  • Col­lab­o­ra­tive stu­dent pre­sen­ta­tions and work­spaces (1%)

These find­ings indi­cate that this Web 2.0 tool is often times not being used to its fullest poten­tial. It is often sim­ply being used as a place to store resources. This post isn’t intended as a crit­i­cism of those basic uses. In fact, that is how I often use wikis. Hope­fully this arti­cle and post will push all of us to care­fully con­sider how we are using technology. I REALLY like Berna­jean Porter’s tech­nol­ogy and learn­ing spec­trum.  In that spec­trum, she writes about the three ways most peo­ple use tech­nol­ogy in their class­rooms.  She describes lit­er­acy uses as sim­ply teach­ing about tech­nol­ogy. Her next cat­e­gory is adapt­ing uses such as edu­ca­tors using tech­nol­ogy in their classes just to use it. The final cat­e­gory is the trans­form­ing uses and she describes that as using tech­nol­ogy to meet learn­ing con­tent standards.

I think that it can be very easy to learn about a new tech­nol­ogy tool and then be dri­ven to use it sim­ply to use it. I would chal­lenge each of you to truly ana­lyze how you are using the tech­nolo­gies that you are using.  My goal wouldn’t be that all of the tech­nol­ogy you use would fall into Porter’s trans­form­ing uses cat­e­gory. Much of my own use of tech­nol­ogy is sim­ply about effi­ciency. More impor­tantly, I think we all need to become extremely cog­nizant of all of the things that we are doing in the class­room.  I’d like to push you to clearly iden­tify the rea­sons you are using tech­nol­ogy X in your school or classroom.

  • Why are you using X in your classroom?
  • Does it improve stu­dent learning?
  • Are stu­dents more engaged?
  • Are stu­dents col­lab­o­rat­ing more frequently?
  • Does it increase effi­ciency and allow you to spend more time on more impor­tant things?
The list of ques­tions goes on and on, and I’d chal­lenge you and your col­leagues to have con­ver­sa­tions around those questions.

Nick Sauers


  1. I espe­cially like your ques­tions, “Why are you using the tool?” and “Does it improve stu­dent learning?”

    We have such lit­tle time with stu­dents and resources are tight. I’m a fan of expos­ing teach­ers to tech ideas, let­ting teach­ers pilot tools, and then eval­u­at­ing the extent to which the tools enhance teach­ing and learning.

  2. Nick Sauers says:

    Thanks for the com­ment Janet. I’m excited to hear that you are eval­u­at­ing your tech ideas! That seems to be a chal­lenge for many.

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