Wiki-supported collaborative learning in primary education. How a dialogic space is created for thinking together
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This paper explores how wikis may be used to support primary education students’ collaborative interaction and how such an interaction process can be characterised. The overall aim of this study is to analyse the collaborative processes of students working together in a wiki environment, in order to see how primary students can actively create a shared context for learning in the wiki. Educational literature has already reported that wikis may support collaborative knowledge-construction processes, but in our study we claim that a dialogic perspective is needed to accomplish this. Students must develop an intersubjective orientation towards each others’ perspectives, to co-construct knowledge about a topic. For this purpose, our project utilised a ‘Thinking Together’ approach to help students develop an intersubjective orientation towards one another and to support the creation of a ‘dialogic space’ to co-construct new understanding in a wiki science project. The students’ asynchronous interaction process in a primary classroom -- which led to the creation of a science text in the wiki -- was analysed and characterised, using a dialogic approach to the study of CSCL practices. Our results illustrate how the Thinking Together approach became embedded within the wiki environment and in the students’ collaborative processes. We argue that a dialogic approach for examining interaction can be used to help design more effective pedagogic approaches related to the use of wikis in education and to equip learners with the competences they need to participate in the global knowledge-construction era.