BUILDING COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE: EXPERIENCES IN A SOCIAL AND COMMUNAL CONSTRUCTIVIST ENVIRONMENT

Terri-lyn Jones

Abstract


Focusing on an education graduate student’s investigation into their participation in a class wiki, the paper documents the ways student perceptions of a wiki can change their contributions, the wiki itself, and the community that surrounds it. Specifically, wikis and the ways they function as social constructivist and communal constructivist learning tools, pushing the boundaries of their members’ collective zone of proximal development, are discussed. The paper provides evidence that the wiki has the potential to play a valuable role in the construction of a community of practice, if social aspects are taken advantage of. It examines how the perceptions students have of the reliability of their peers’ research and writing skills directly affect their attitudes towards the usefulness of the wiki and discoveries are made about how the collaborative knowledge base of the class wiki should be utilized and participation improved upon. These findings are applied to the possibility of creating a similar wiki community in online and face-to-face secondary classrooms, and the implications and challenges of doing this, such as digital literacy, reliability and socialization, are explored.

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ISSN 1925-7147

© CAARE 2014