As a teacher librarian and instructional partner, I see the strengths of using wikis to create pathfinders of mediated resources to guide students in their search for relevant information for their projects. The pathfinder not only saves time for the students but can also be created to infuse information literacy skills teaching.
As a teacher, I see the value of having my students use blogs and wikis to capture their research project learning journey. As students work collaboratively in teams of 3-4, I will be able to monitor and give feedback on their progress through the use of blogs. As the date of every entry is captured, I will be able to easily check on the students’ progress and also note if every member of the team has been actively contributing. While using blogs as some form of online journal, I need to constantly remind myself of the point made by Judy O’Connell in her EdOnline Blog, “Too often, educators use blogs as a replacement for journals, when really what blogs should do is extend conversations from within the classroom to a wider audience.” Judy further reiterated the point that, “power of blogs is not in the writing, it is in the thoughts, the comments, and the conversation that they can start, sustain, and take into a million different directions.” I also need to be mindful of another point raised by Will Richardson in his 31stAug blog entry, “blogs are learning spaces where there are a lot of intellectual engagement and conversations going on with the blogger with the wider community.”
I see wikis and blogs as useful enablers to help students take ownership of their own learning and to construct knowledge but this pedagogical approach will definitely entail additional time and effort from both the teachers and TLs as they need to respond, interact and provide feedback to the students. Given the multitude of daily tasks TLs have to undertake, being timely and responsive to blog and wiki discussion threads will certainly take up more work hours of the TLs.