March 2012
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Timothy R. Healy, ACE English Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University

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 tool.

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 them.
  • 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 their own.

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: Corwin Press.

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.

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