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postgraduate thesis: Collaborative writing with Wikis in upper primary English language classrooms

TitleCollaborative writing with Wikis in upper primary English language classrooms
Authors
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Woo, M.. (2013). Collaborative writing with Wikis in upper primary English language classrooms. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5017926
AbstractMany studies have been conducted on the application of Web 2.0 technologies (e.g., wikis) in educational environments. These studies have dealt with topics such as exploring the potential of their use, what effect they might have on student learning, and how effectively they can be used with appropriate instructional practice. However, whether these findings conducted on the tertiary and high school levels are applicable to young learners of English as the second language (L2) in primary levels have yet to been examined. This study investigated how wiki’s key affordances might help in scaffolding students during collaborative writing projects among primary five and six students (n=119) in a Chinese primary school in Hong Kong, where English is taught as the L2. Three classes of students and their English subject teachers participated in a three-month English language writing programme using a wiki. Data was collected and analyzed from both non-wiki collaborative writing prior to a wiki intervention and the other from wiki supported collaborative writing after the intervention. Employing a mixed methods design, both quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed from student and teacher interviews, student and teacher questionnaires, and from activities recorded in the wiki system, including posted edits and comments and students’ group writings. To understand human activity in a complex classroom environment, activity theory was used as an analytical lens to help examine and compare the learning processes and their outcomes in the two different collaborative writing environments. The study found that the use of a wiki in three upper primary classes was perceived positively, with the wiki's technology affordances matching positively with the required tasks of collaborative writing. The key affordances from wiki collaborative writing supported and enhanced the learning tasks required of the nonwiki collaborative writing. These affordances, available in wiki collaborative writing, also helped overcome some of the constraints and limitations observed in non-wiki collaborative writing and helped to enhance writing and social skills necessary for collaborative writing tasks. When some of the key affordances -- temporal and access control applications which provided an online platform for peer comments and history pages to track student’s editing processes -- were combined together, they can become a powerful tool for peer feedback and peer editing leading to meaningful revision processes. The tracking functionality of the wiki gave in-depth information about the types of edits the students were making, mainly content meaning versus surface level, and it may have helped improve student group writing. Examining the two collaborative writing environments within the framework of activity theory revealed the dynamic changes and development of the activity system through tension and contradiction among the components of the activity structure. The tension and contradiction among the tools, the community of learners and the objective of their tasks – tension and contradiction which was caused by the need to implement group writing within the given curriculum time -- seemed to have decreased after the introduction of the wiki technology. Findings may shed light on how wikis can help provide necessary support for students’ collaborative writing and how peer-feedback can influence this process. It may help provide practical recommendations for primary school English language teachers and help researchers and educators understand the potential that Web 2.0, specifically wikis, can bring to scaffold primary-school L2 writers in collaborative learning.
DegreeDoctor of Education
SubjectEnglish language - Composition and exercises - Study and teaching (Primary) - China - Hong Kong.
Internet in education - China - Hong Kong.
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/183645
HKU Library Item IDb5017926

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorWoo, Matsuko.-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationWoo, M.. (2013). Collaborative writing with Wikis in upper primary English language classrooms. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5017926-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/183645-
dc.description.abstractMany studies have been conducted on the application of Web 2.0 technologies (e.g., wikis) in educational environments. These studies have dealt with topics such as exploring the potential of their use, what effect they might have on student learning, and how effectively they can be used with appropriate instructional practice. However, whether these findings conducted on the tertiary and high school levels are applicable to young learners of English as the second language (L2) in primary levels have yet to been examined. This study investigated how wiki’s key affordances might help in scaffolding students during collaborative writing projects among primary five and six students (n=119) in a Chinese primary school in Hong Kong, where English is taught as the L2. Three classes of students and their English subject teachers participated in a three-month English language writing programme using a wiki. Data was collected and analyzed from both non-wiki collaborative writing prior to a wiki intervention and the other from wiki supported collaborative writing after the intervention. Employing a mixed methods design, both quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed from student and teacher interviews, student and teacher questionnaires, and from activities recorded in the wiki system, including posted edits and comments and students’ group writings. To understand human activity in a complex classroom environment, activity theory was used as an analytical lens to help examine and compare the learning processes and their outcomes in the two different collaborative writing environments. The study found that the use of a wiki in three upper primary classes was perceived positively, with the wiki's technology affordances matching positively with the required tasks of collaborative writing. The key affordances from wiki collaborative writing supported and enhanced the learning tasks required of the nonwiki collaborative writing. These affordances, available in wiki collaborative writing, also helped overcome some of the constraints and limitations observed in non-wiki collaborative writing and helped to enhance writing and social skills necessary for collaborative writing tasks. When some of the key affordances -- temporal and access control applications which provided an online platform for peer comments and history pages to track student’s editing processes -- were combined together, they can become a powerful tool for peer feedback and peer editing leading to meaningful revision processes. The tracking functionality of the wiki gave in-depth information about the types of edits the students were making, mainly content meaning versus surface level, and it may have helped improve student group writing. Examining the two collaborative writing environments within the framework of activity theory revealed the dynamic changes and development of the activity system through tension and contradiction among the components of the activity structure. The tension and contradiction among the tools, the community of learners and the objective of their tasks – tension and contradiction which was caused by the need to implement group writing within the given curriculum time -- seemed to have decreased after the introduction of the wiki technology. Findings may shed light on how wikis can help provide necessary support for students’ collaborative writing and how peer-feedback can influence this process. It may help provide practical recommendations for primary school English language teachers and help researchers and educators understand the potential that Web 2.0, specifically wikis, can bring to scaffold primary-school L2 writers in collaborative learning.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B50179263-
dc.subject.lcshEnglish language - Composition and exercises - Study and teaching (Primary) - China - Hong Kong.-
dc.subject.lcshInternet in education - China - Hong Kong.-
dc.titleCollaborative writing with Wikis in upper primary English language classrooms-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5017926-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Education-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5017926-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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