In piazza online: exploring the use of wikis with beginner foreign language learners
Wikis are increasingly seen as useful tools for promoting active student engagement and collaborative language learning. Unlike most applications of wikis to foreign/second language learning thus far reported on, ours concerns complete beginners. In this paper, we focus on our approach to and evaluation of the integration of wikis into our first-year Italian course with the aim of encouraging out-of-class practice and fostering students' sense of class community, right from the start of their learning. The evaluation showed that, although the students created several attractive and interesting pages, they did not appreciate the wikis as much as we had hoped: there were technical hitches, many found collaboration dynamics challenging, and most developed little interest in participating in a cross-campus online group. Our data analysis found no relationship between the students' perceptions of the wiki work and their gender, initial confidence or frequency of use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) tools. However, those who, on entering the course, placed greater importance on interaction with other students, and a sense of community in class, showed greater appreciation of the wiki experience. From these findings, we draw implications for improving our approach to integrating wiki work into our program.
Computer Assisted Language Learning
LOTE, ESL and TESOL Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. Maori)