Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

The Wiki Website in Music Education: A New Collaborative Medium

Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

The Wiki Website in Music Education: A New Collaborative Medium

Article excerpt

The list of pedagogically compelling technology tools is getting longer by the day. This is good news, but where does one start? The idea of learning and implementing any of these tools can be a daunting task for a busy educator. In this and future articles I will provide help in identifying and utilizing some of these technology resources. In this article I have chosen to explore a powerful Internet collaboration tool-the wiki website or 'wiki.'

A wiki, the Hawaiian word for 'quick,' (Leo & Kuamo'o, 2003) looks and functions much the same as any website except for an important difference-any visitor can add and edit the content of a wiki. This creative freedom is apparent in the most popular example of a wiki-www.wikipedia.com. All content found in this online encyclopedia is created and edited by the users of the wiki. The content of this and other wikis is an evolving representation of a community's collective knowledge.

Wikis allow visitors to not only create and edit content, but also to utilize a variety of media formats for their content, e.g., video, audio, slideshows, discussions, pictures, and text. The result is an extremely versatile collaboration tool.

A Wiki in Action

From organizing e-portfolios to facilitating class discussions, the wiki has become a valuable asset to my music program. In this section I describe an example of how a wiki assists me in creating a learner-centered learning environment for my students.

In my secondary Applied Music (guitar) course students' abilities range from beginner to advanced and all have their own musical interests and goals. In the spirit of learner-centered teaching and learning, each student's unique needs must be accommodated-a wiki helps me do this.

I set up a wiki for my course containing a page for each of my students. On each student page I place the headings: listening, performing, and creating. Under each of these headings I provide some guidance as to what each means with respect to the learning of guitar. The students are asked to create a plan describing how they would like to experience each topic within the context of the course and then to place these plans on their wiki pages. As their learning progresses, the students are encouraged to change their plans to reflect any new perspectives. Once students take ownership of the wiki, many begin adding content (e.g., YouTube videos, audio, text) to help articulate their thoughts. All student wiki pages are viewable by all classmates (not viewable by the public) and students are encouraged to contribute to their friends' plans. The wiki has served to create a living artifact for the students as they document their learning and emerging ideas and knowledge. …

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