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Some institutions have made a full-scale commitment to the cloud in terms of educational opportunities, confiding a large portion of their students' interactions to offsite group based tools and technologies. These often allow a wide variety of things to happen in class situations that our more primitive technologies won't accommodate. One of the more interesting kinds of cloud based tools used by educators is the cooperative work application known as a wiki. Wikis are essentially cloud based authoring tools, in which all participants have an opportunity to edit the work in progress (while having their contributions tracked for accountability purposes) and work can proceed asynchronously. The best known version of this communications tool is of course the well-known Wikipedia; you can read about its own version of its own model here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki. It is a very interesting and widely applied tool, and clearly has implications for educational activities. You can probably find a variety of materials relating to the applications of wikis in education if you do some simple Google searching.
Some schools have made wikis a central point in their educational model. For
example, Bentley University near Boston, a school specializing in business
education and high technology,claims to teach many of their courses "through the
lens of Web 2.0" An excellent example of how Columbia University uses wikis is
Please select any course on the site and explore it further. As you review their video,
try to think about what the students there might be getting out of their classes that
isn't currently available to our students; also consider any possible downsides to the
wikibased model that should be evaluated as well.
In this Ted Talk Sugata Mitra discusses how to use the cloud to build a collaborative
school in a self organized learning environment.
When you have reviewed the Bentley U. and Columbia University materials and the
Ted Talk, please summarize your assessment of the applicability of wikis as a cloud based tool and the use of the Cloud for self-organized learning environments for our
educational system in a short (2-3page) paper. Please try to address the
following issues somewhere in your paper:
- Your understanding of how a wiki works and the kinds of things that can be used for
- Your assessment of the wiki model as a representation of the cloud computing approach
- Your specific comments regarding the video from Columbia University and how they use their wiki
- A summary of the thoughts you have regarding the applicability of the cloud computing model to the work of our students
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