A wiki, “a collaborative web space where anyone can add content
and anyone can edit content that has already been published”
(Richardson, 2006, p.8), is a web tool that curriculum designers can use
to unite a program’s staff, teachers, and learners. A wiki can also be
used by the teacher and learners in a single course to share and
preserve course content. The wiki’s most powerful aspect is the ability
of individual users to collaborate from outside the classroom.
We use a wiki in a TESOL certificate teacher-training program
for teachers of English from Korea. The Korean teachers are present in
classrooms for three quarters of their time; the other quarter, they are
completing a practicum in local K-12 schools. Teachers live in separate
homestays dispersed throughout Seattle and its suburbs for a portion of
their stay. The wiki simplifies communication among the multiple
parties involved in the program (professors, instructors, learners,
tutors, and administrative staff) and is a useful classroom
In a program, a wiki can have many uses. Our professors and
instructors use the wiki as a platform in classes for presenting
lectures, activities, and homework assignments, and learners use the
shared space to post their homework. Such a platform allows all users
easy access to information from multiple classes inside and outside of
class. It also allows nonsynchronous yet contiguous posting in response
to prior-published input, an aspect especially valuable in posting
homework and teacher or peer review.
Here are some examples of how we use the editing or writing function of our wiki:
- A professor asks learners to elicit from their
native-speaking tutor linguistic words and structures for carrying out
specific speech acts and then post them on a page devoted to this
purpose for review by the class. In class the page is displayed and the
forms are reviewed and commented on. Then learners construct appropriate
sociocultural situations and choose the words and structures that match
- On a shared page, learners post and respond to each other’s
journal entries on topics such as their personal teaching philosophy and
certain activities they find most valuable as teachers.
- Learners post daily reports and reflections on practicum
activities from separate schools for others to read and compare with
In addition to being useful, creating a wiki is easy. We used Google to set up our wiki in five simple steps.
Because a wiki is simple to create and operate, and our
faculty, staff, and learners can write on it, not just read it, we use a
wiki as a unifying platform in our teacher-training program.
Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts and
other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Timothy R. Healy is the director of ACE
English Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle,
Washington, USA. His interests include using wikis for administrative
and pedagogical purposes.