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Educational Research and Review Vol. 7(7), pp. 182-191, 19 February, 2012
Available online at http://www.academicjournals.org/ERR
ISSN 1990-3839 ©2012 Academic Journals
Full Length Research Paper
Wikipedia as a teaching tool for technological
pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) development in
pre-service history teacher education
Ibrahim Hakki Öztürk
Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: +905059151237. Fax: +902862180524.
Accepted 23 January, 2012
This paper seeks to explore a web-based teaching activity designed for technological pedagogical
content knowledge (TPCK) development in pre-service history teacher education in Turkey. The study
is conducted by action research methodology. Using a project-based learning (PBL) approach, the
designed activity aims to provide the necessary background knowledge to support student-teachers for
their use of the wikis as a teaching tool in history education. The results show that the PBL activity
engaging student-teachers as authors in Wikipedia reveals as an effective and motivating tool for
initiating them to web authoring. Wikipedia authoring activity has been also fairly influential in terms of
improving the student-teachers’ historical knowledge. However, the acquisitions reported by
participants do not display the same effectiveness in terms of the pedagogical knowledge and TPCK.
The paper discusses the probable reasons of outcomes and the proper measures to be taken in order
to improve an efficiency model. The results support the idea arguing that an effective TPCK
development in pre-service teacher education requires systematic engagement of student-teachers in
rich teaching experiences within the real teaching contexts.
Key words: Wikipedia, teacher education, history teaching, technological pedagogical content knowledge
(TPCK), project-based learning, Turkey.
Related literature shows that despite the rapid
dissemination of Information and communication
technology (ICT) equipments in the schools, the
integration of the ICT-based methods and materials in
teachers’ practices encounters great difficulties (Haydn,
2001; Sanchez and Salinas, 2008; Hofer and Swan,
2006). Recent approaches focusing on the concept of
technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK)
offer a useful theoretical framework for the researchers
and educators for a better understanding of the issue of
technology integration in teaching practices.
The concept of TPCK was modelled on Shulman’s
(1987) notion of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK).
As “the distinctive bodies of knowledge for teaching”,
PCK “represents the blending of content and pedagogy
into an understanding of how particular topics, problems
or issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the
diverse interests and abilities of learners, and presented
for instruction” (Shulman, 1987:4). In 2000’s, the
researchers included the technology dimension to
Shulman’s conceptualization. Although different terms
were used to nominate this new conception as “PCK of
educational technology” or “ICT-related PCK”, the
concept of TPCK is largely accepted in literature.
TPCK represents the knowledge that teachers need for
an effective and successful integration of technology in
their teaching practices. Content knowledge (CK) is
knowledge about the subject matter that is to be taught in
a specific teaching field as history or mathematic.
Pedagogical knowledge (PK) is knowledge about the
teaching methods, processes and practices. Technology
knowledge (TK) involves the knowledge related to
technologies using in teaching and learning activities.
TPCK approach argues that, for the technology
integration in their teaching practices, the teachers must
have a kind of knowledge which could incorporate at the
same time CK, PK and TK. According to Mishra and
Koehler (2006: 1028-1029):
“Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK)
is an emergent form of knowledge that goes beyond all
three components (content, pedagogy, and technology).
[…] This knowledge would not typically be held by
technologically proficient subject matter experts, or by
technologists who know little of the subject or of
pedagogy, or by teachers who know little of that subject
or about technology. […] Productive technology
integration in teaching needs to consider all three issues
not in isolation, but rather within the complex
relationships in the system defined by the three key
As Walsh (2008: 4) notes, “information technology is of
no value in itself or by itself”. To develop an ICT-based
teaching, the inherent features of each discipline
(teaching contents, specific pedagogical methods,
established practices, etc.) should be considered.
However, Harris et al. (2009) state that most of the
existing technology integration approaches and policies
organize their efforts mainly based on the technological
affordances and constraints rather than those relative to
subject contents, pedagogical issues and teaching
contexts. They do not consider disciplinary knowledge
differences and the pedagogical strategies varying by
content and context.
The technology integration in teaching activities is a
very complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon.
Although the technologic knowledge is very important,
effective teaching with technology requires essentially an
effective interweaving of the knowledge and affordances
in different areas (content, pedagogy and technology)
and constraints relative to educational context. TPCK
defines a body of knowledge that results from
connections and interactions among technologies,
curriculum content, and specific pedagogical approaches
for effective discipline-based teaching with educational
technologies (Angeli and Valanides, 2009; Harris et al.,
TPCK approach requires radical changes in the
established practices and approaches for the ICT
integration in the field of teacher education. In pre-service
teacher education programs, the courses and activities
for technologic skills acquisition are organized usually in
isolation from disciplinary content and pedagogic issues,
thereby focusing merely on technologic skills (Chai et al.,
2010). The content of education organized this way fails
to provide the necessary knowledge and skills for the
teachers so that they could effectively use technology in
their applications. As Mishra and Koehler (2006: 1033)
note, “merely knowing how to use technology is not the
same as knowing how to teach with it”. The approaches
and practices that would properly integrate skills and
knowledge in relation to different fields including content,
pedagogy and technology should be developed in the
teacher education programs. Doering et al. (2009) argue
that teacher education programs must bring the areas of
technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge together,
as one knowledge base, rather than separating
knowledge related to three areas. According to Koehler
and Mishra (2005: 148), in teacher education, “it is
necessary to teach technology in contexts that honor the
rich connections between technology, the subject-matter
(content) and the means of teaching it (the pedagogy).”
TPCK development by project-based learning (PBL)
In recent decades, the new approaches and initiatives in
the field of education including constructivist theory have
led to the emergence of new teaching methods. The
project-based learning (PBL) attracts a great deal of
attention as one of these methods in the educational
researches and practices. Thomas (2000:1) defines PBL
as “a model that organizes learning around projects” that
are “complex tasks, based on challenging questions or
problems, that involve students in design, problem-
solving, decision making, or investigative activities”. PBL
is a student-centered approach in which learners control
the learning process and this “affords students the
possibility and the motive to work their way to the solution
in their own idiosyncratic way” (Helle et al., 2006: 292).
In relevant literature, the benefits and advantages of
PBL for an effective and successful process of learning
are often emphasized. PBL encourages student’s
initiative, self-directiveness, inventiveness, and
independence in learning activities (Donnelly and
Fitzmaurice, 2005). In a PBL setting, students investigate
and seek resolutions to problems; hence they acquire a
better understanding of the key principles and concepts
of the disciplines (Blumenfeld et al., 1991). Compared to
the traditional methods, PBL is much more effective in
the improvement of students’ skills (Kolmos, 2008).
According to Thomas (2000: 37), “there is ample
evidence that PBL is an effective method for teaching
complex processes and procedures such as planning,
communicating, problem solving, and decision making”.
It appears that the widespread use of computer
technologies in the education has been beneficial and
useful in terms of the implementation of PBL projects.
The technical opportunities provided by the ICT offer
students to carry out their projects and realize their
products (Blumenfeld et al., 1991). Technology facilitates
access to knowledge and sources. The Internet has
particularly introduced a radical change. The Internet
facilities are also important considering that it serves a
venue for the students to share their projects with large
masses (Papastergiou, 2005).
Despite its potential to improve learning process,
relevant researches show that most of teachers rarely
use PBL in their teaching activities (Barron et al., 1998).
The primary reason for this state of reluctance appears to
be its complexity and complicated structure for using in
184 Educ. Res. Rev.
comparison to the conventional methods. With respect to
students, PBL requires considerable effort, motivation,
persistence and ability to organize their own work plans.
Likewise, teachers should have extensive knowledge,
student-oriented methods and adequate capacity on
different PBL strategies and activities in respect to the
project subjects in order to better support and direct the
students during the project period (Blumenfeld et al.,
1991). Therefore, success of PBL heavily depends upon
the competence of the teachers, the support provided for
them to design PBL environment and the quality of the
teacher education on this matter.
PBL should be integrated into the teacher education
since this method is an effective professional training
method. The works of teaching models on TPCK
development in the literature are mostly based on PBL or
similar approaches. Koehler and Mishra (2005), Mishra
and Koehler (2006) and Koehler et al. (2007) propose
“learning technology by design” approach for TPCK
development in teacher education. According to this
approach, in the learning-technology-by-design, students
learn by acting as practitioners, rather than merely
learning the practice through overt lecturing and
traditional teaching. They propose different types of
activities including online course design, making movies
and redesigning educational web sites that involve
“authentic and engaging ill-structured problems that
reflect the complexity of the real world” (Mishra and
Koehler, 2006: 1035). In many other studies, the
researchers use the activities based on PBL or similar
design task models for the TPCK development in teacher
education (Angeli and Valanides, 2009; Doering et al.,
2009; Özgün-Koca et al., 2010; So and Kim, 2009).
Wiki works as a web-based PBL activity
Web-based learning has become in recent years an
effective and widespread teaching strategy in history
education like other teaching disciplines (Doğan and Dinç,
2007; Hillis ve Munro, 2005; Matta, 2002; Yang, 2009).
However, the use of the Internet by students in history
classes does not always improve historical and critical
thinking. The most important problem is the reliance of
the students on copy-past practices without spending
much time and effort for actual and proper learning
(Haydn, 2003; Walsh, 2008). Therefore, effective use of
web opportunities depends upon the designation of the
proper teaching activities.
One of the best ways for effective use of the Internet in
teaching activities is web authoring. The web authoring
activities that transform the students from web users to
the web creators seem to be proper to merge technology
skills with the knowledge and skills of the discipline. It has
been observed that in the field of history teaching, the
web content creation applications encourage students to
do research on historical subjects and generate
knowledge, contribute to the emergence of a productive
learning process and improve effectively the ICT skills
(Matta, 2002; Yang, 2009).
Wikis are web tools offering suitable conditions for web
authoring studies and works. A wiki is a multi-user web
site where all users can add content and edit the content
of the others (Downing et al., 2009). The most distinctive
feature of the wikis is its construction by multiple users in
an interactive and collaborative process. Ruth and
Houghton (2009: 148) stress that the “wiki epistemology”
displays five significant aspects:
a) “Collaboration – individuals acting together to develop
b) Construction/co-construction – individuals acting
together to produce knowledge and their products (in
c) Different ways of learning – individuals acting together
as equals – sometimes an expert, sometimes a novice,
rather than in competition;
d) The authority of 'the' expert is undermined; and
e) A different philosophical underpinning which is more
oriented towards constructionism”.
From an educational perspective, Parker and Chao (2007:
57) define a wiki as “a web communication and
collaboration tool that can be used to engage students in
learning with others within a collaborative environment”.
Researches confirm that the wikis can be used in both
secondary education level (Lamb and Johnson, 2009;
Nordin and Klobas, 2009) and higher education level
(Mindel and Verma, 2006; Workman, 2008).
In terms of PBL effectiveness, one of the greatest
advantages that the wikis offer is that its use is
technically fairly easy (Duffy and Bruns, 2006; Gooding,
2008). According to Deters et al. (2010:123), “because of
their simple features, wikis can be appropriate for
students and teachers at all levels”.
Wiki studies provide a collaborative learning
environment for the students. In a wiki activity, the
knowledge is collectively generated with the participation
of different wiki members in the content production
process. From this perspective, the wiki activities
constitute an interesting tool for enhancing student-
centered and social constructivist learning environments
(Farmer, 2006; Nordin and Klobas, 2009).
Wikipedia, under review in this study, is the most
popular wiki site on the web. In the English version,
Wikipedia is defined as “a free, web-based, collaborative,
multilingual encyclopedia” (Wikipedia, 2011). Launched in
2001, Wikipedia has become the largest and most
popular encyclopedic knowledge source in web.
Some teachers and educators complain about the
negative effect of the Wikipedia for the student studies
(Darren and Smoot, 2009). The students prefer copying
methods instead of intensive and extensive research by
use of the Wikipedia since it provides easy access to a
huge number of subjects. As stressed earlier, this is a
general downside of the Internet over student research
projects. However, students may be transformed from
passive users to active producers by reliance on PBL
activities. In other words, students can serve as
Wikipedia writers rather than Wikipedia users. A number
of studies confirm that web authoring activities performed
through Wikipedia website motivates students (Darren
and Smoot, 2009; Konieczny, 2007; Nix, 2010).
Purpose of the study
This study seeks to analyze the use of the wikis as an
effective web-based teaching tool for technology
integration in pre-service teacher education. The web-
based PBL activity (Wikipedia workshop) used in the
study aims to develop student-teachers’ knowledge and
skills about wiki authoring that is an emergent history
teaching method in secondary education. Wikipedia
workshop is designed here as a learning activity that
could combine pedagogical, technological and content
knowledge, in line with TPCK approach. It seeks to
ensure that student-teachers acquire the necessary
knowledge and skills on a web-based PBL strategy that
they could use in their own teaching applications in the
As an action research, this study aims, on the one hand,
to test the efficiency of the designed activity and to
improve it. Therefore, the research holds some practical
and pragmatic goals towards improvement of the teacher
education practices. On the other hand, investigating the
process of the TPCK development in the context of a
web-based PBL activity in pre-service teacher education,
the study also seeks to make contributions to emergent
literature on this field.
The research questions are following:
1) How Wikipedia workshop contributes to improvement
of the student-teachers’ skills (in term of the content
knowledge, the pedagogical knowledge, the technological
knowledge and TPCK).
2) What are the difficulties that the student-teachers
encounter in Wikipedia workshop?
3) What are the factors that influence the student-
teachers’ motivation in Wikipedia workshop?
Action research model
Greenwood and Levin (2007: 3) define action research as “social
research carried out by a team that encompasses a professional
action researcher and the members of an organization, community,
or network ("stakeholders") who are seeking to improve the
participants' situation”. Action research explicitly seeks to make the
social situations better than they were before; and this is basically
Figure 1. Action research cycle.
what distinguishes it from other research approaches (Norton,
2009). Action researches are designed as circular phases. Different
circular models are used in the action researches in the literature.
There are basically four phases in the circular model: Planning,
acting, observing and reflecting (Costello, 2007; McNiff and
Whitehead, 2002; Cunningham, 2008) (Figure 1).
An action research starts with the identification of an issue or a
situation that needs to be improved and developed (Costello, 2007;
McNiff and Whitehead, 2002). Some (Cunningham, 2008) start the
action research with the process of reflecting. In fact, at the
beginning, planning and reflecting are intertwined. A
comprehensive reflection is needed for the identification of a
problem and planning an action. The phase to follow is the
implementation of the planned action. The objective of the action is
to observe a change and improvement. This could be a change
toward improvement in education-related structures and issues or a
change in the professional competencies of the participants. The
third phase involves observation of the impacts of the changes and
improvements. The phase to follow is a comprehensive review of
the action along with its impacts. This is a phase for transition to the
next cycle. The success, impact and flaws of the planned action as
well as the state of the issue after the action are reviewed in details
to draft the action. The action is planned again based on the
reflections and the cycle keeps going.
Action research is a research strategy widely used in education.
Action research offers a very suitable framework to ensure
professional development of the teachers and of the trial of new
educational model and activities. In teacher education, action
research lets teachers and teacher educators to have the
opportunity to research on their own teaching practices and to
improve them (Altrichter et al., 2000; Henning et al., 2009).
The study was performed in the pre-service history teacher
education program at the Faculty of Education in Çanakkale
Onsekiz Mart University (Turkey). It was performed in the context of
the Modern European History course offered in the 3rd year in
history teacher education program. In Turkey, the pre-service
education of secondary school teachers is provided in a five-year
long education in the faculty of education in the universities. During
186 Educ. Res. Rev.
Table 1. Student-teachers’ acquisitions out of the Wikipedia workshop according to their responses.
My knowledge on content generation over the Internet has improved
My knowledge on history and historical research has improved
I have become more confident on knowledge generation and sharing over the Internet
I have learned new methods that I can use in history teaching
I have not acquired anything
five-year long education, the student-teachers receive both
disciplinary education in history and pedagogical formation.
Twenty seven student-teachers (14 female, 13 male) taking the
Modern European History course in the history teacher education
program in Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University participated in this
action research. PBL activity, subject matter of the research, has
been designed as an obligatory part of the course that would have
an impact over the overall grade of the students. The participants
had no prior experience on web authoring except social media such
The study has followed the action research model encompassing
the phases of planning, acting, observing and reflecting as outlined
earlier. The researcher served as the supervisor of PBL activity and
worked together with the students during the entire research
The student-teachers were asked to create an article on the
European history by utilizing the Turkish version of Wikipedia; the
assigned article was to be at least 3500 words with visual
documents. The themes were picked by the student-teachers under
the guidance by the researcher. Some of the picked themes
required addition of new articles in Wikipedia whereas some others
required the enhancement of existing articles. Whether they would
work as teams was left to the preference of the student-teachers.
Ten students preferred working as pairs whereas 17 students
preferred to serve as single authors for their articles.
The researcher and the student-teachers worked together in the
ICT laboratory three hours in a week during the period of four
weeks. Before the first group work, the subject matters were
identified. The students were asked to find relevant sources and
documents. In the first week of the group work, the researcher
taught how to prepare content for Wikipedia. He also provided
extensive information on the web-based methods in history
teaching and how the wikis are used in this teaching process.
During the first week work, the student-teachers have taken the first
steps to write content for Wikipedia by using short applications.
During the weeks following, the student works were assessed; the
technical problems they encountered were discussed and they
were given advice to improve the historical content. They were also
asked to make progress by studying outside the classroom.
The majority of the student-teachers have completed their works
after the four-week period. The rest of the students were allowed to
complete their works within two weeks. In the aftermath, the
student-teachers were asked to give their views on the work; the
responses were analyzed. Whole of the research process lasted
one and half month.
Data collection and analysis
The qualitative approach was adopted in the collection and
analyses of the data. The data was collected by structured interview
method. The responses of the participants were received in written
forms, including open-ended questions, upon the completion of the
The data analysis was performed by content analysis method
(Berg, 2001; Yildirim and Şimşek, 2004). Three main dimensions
were identified for the content analysis: (1) the acquisitions of the
student-teachers; (2) the difficulties they had; and (3) the factors
affecting their motivation.
The corpuses of the data collected were separately analyzed in
term of the three identified dimensions. The themes expressed by
the student-teachers for each dimension was taken as a unit of
analysis. After a general review of the data, the categories were
constituted for each of the three dimensions. The categories and
the frequencies of the responses are showed in tables. The themes
referred to by only one student-teacher are classified in the
category others. The analysis includes also the examples from
FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
In their responses to interview questions, 22 out of the 27
student-teachers refer to the individual acquisitions out of
the Wikipedia workshop. In return, 5 students note that
they did not acquire anything significant or at all in this
study (Table 1).
In terms of web authoring (technological knowledge),
most of the students find the Wikipedia workshop
effective and successful. The following observation by a
student-teacher reflects the view of the majority of the
“This has been a pretty productive study for me. I have
produced a webpage for the first time. I have learned a
lot of things about computers. This is new and I believe
this will be of great help for me.”
In addition, some student-teachers note that the
Wikipedia study enhances their ability of knowledge
generation and their confidence over sharing this
knowledge. For instance, a participant makes the following
“This work has inspired me on webpage creation. I have
not done such a thing over the Internet. It was not as
hard as I used to think.”
In general, it is also observed that the student-teachers
have positive views on the content (history knowledge)
acquisitions. Compared to a traditional history research,
the students find Wikipedia study more productive and
illustrative. They stress that in this study, they are able to
have access to more sources, work harder for the
synthesis of the information and that their skills and
knowledge have improved. There are two primary
reasons for this improvement: first, authoring for a public
webpage is far more motivating than traditional
homework assignments. It is observed that this
encourages the students to work harder. A participant
“What distinguishes this work from the other
assignments is that it will be published in an open source.
This enabled us to do more extensive research on this
matter and pay greater attention to the authoring
Secondly, it is observed that creating an original text
and respecting authoring rules in Wikipedia forces the
student-teachers to work harder. For example:
“This work was far more challenging than the previous
assignments. In doing this assignment, I have reviewed a
lot of books, and collected extensive details on the
subject. I have worked hard to observe the proper citation
rules, comply with the property rights and achieve a
reliable synthesis. It was tough; but it was illustrative than
One of the unexpected results of the research was that
only a few student-teachers made note of the
pedagogical acquisitions of the Wikipedia work. As noted
earlier, the Wikipedia study was presented to student-
teachers as an example of the web-based PBL activities
that could be used in the history teaching. However, it
becomes apparent that the majority did not notice this
pedagogical dimension, or that they did not pay much
attention to it even if they became aware of it.
As the aforementioned examples show, there is visible
interaction between the technological dimension
(authoring in Wikipedia) and content dimension (doing
research, writing a history text, improvement of historical
knowledge). However, statements by the student-
teachers do not display a similar correlation in terms of
pedagogical dimension. The pedagogical acquisitions are
expressed in general terms without being related to the
other fields and any emphasis upon concrete
experiences. For example:
“This workshop was important, because we learned
how we can use Internet in schools.”
In light of these results, what could we say about TPCK
development in student-teachers? The literature stresses
that TPCK is a separate knowledge independent of the
interactions between different knowledge areas.
According to Angeli and Valanides (2009), TPCK is a
distinct “unique body of knowledge” and separate from
the types of knowledge that constitute it. It is constructed
from the interaction of its knowledge bases, but the mere
development of one or more of its knowledge bases does
not mean its development. Harris et al. (2009:401) state that
TPCK is different from knowledge of its individual
components, and “it arises instead from multiple
interactions among content, pedagogical, technological,
and contextual knowledge.” According to the research
findings, the participants refer to significant acquisitions in
terms of technological and content knowledge; however,
they also imply that its pedagogical side remains poor
and that there are no interactions between these three
knowledge areas that would constitute a new knowledge
Angeli and Valanides (2009: 158 and 166)) offer a fairly
useful framework for understanding of this result. They
argue that teachers’ TPCK development requires learning
activities highly situated within the context of classroom
“ICT–TPCK is a body of knowledge that grows
continuously with systematic engagement in rich teaching
experiences. This means that any program or
instructional design model that aims at the development
of ICT–TPCK must consider teachers’ knowledge and
classroom experiences. […] Teachers must be trained in
powerful learning environments where teaching is
situated in real and authentic tasks, and in ways where
teachers themselves constitute a part of a larger learning
and professional community for the purpose of
exchanging perspectives, resolving dilemmas, and
confronting uncertainty in transforming classroom
In this study, PBL activity performed with the student-
teachers has been designed as a teaching activity that
could be applied in elementary and secondary education
level. The activity has been applied in the context of the
teacher education at university environment. The student-
teachers did not perform the relevant Wikipedia work
within the context of real classroom and students. In the
end, their perceptions on the pedagogical dimension of
the activity did not improve; and probably they failed to
develop the necessary TPCK knowledge required to
implement this activity in the classroom environment.
Would this mean that these activities are irrelevant and
useless for TPCK development in the student-teachers?
Our answer is “quite possibly no”. The results of this
study show that reliance on such works alone would not
ensure TPCK development. However, this does not
necessarily mean that these learning activities are
completely useless and dysfunctional. In pre-service
education, these activities may serve as a stage of
preparation for the teaching applications that the student-
teachers would hold in the classroom environment.
Considering the activity practiced in this study, it will be
fair to argue that it is almost impossible for the student-
teachers to experience this activity in the real teaching
context without acquiring the necessary fundamentals
relevant to Wikipedia work. Therefore, without a real
classroom environment, the works performed in teacher
training context alone may become a part of TPCK
development process. However, for a productive TPCK
development process, these works should be supported by
188 Educ. Res. Rev.
Table 2. Difficulties during the Wikipedia workshop according to student-teachers’ responses.
I had difficulties because other users of Wikipedia erased my additions
I had difficulties because I did not have the required ICT skills
It took a lot of time
and combined with other works of real classroom and
When it comes to the student-teachers stating that they
have acquired nothing out of these works, it is observed
that some difficulties they had to face played a key role in
their final judgments. Some student-teachers (two) had
such a conclusion because of lack of necessary
computer skills whereas three others were frustrated and
disappointed by the deletion of their contribution and
addition to the content by other users. For instance:
“I do not think I have acquired anything. I had difficulty
because I did not have much skill for computers use. It
took a lot of time and still I cannot do anything properly.
Perhaps I would not be able to perform this assignment if
it is repeated once more.”
“Unfortunately, I have not seen anything positive in this
work. I cannot say I acquired anything out of it. I worked
hard, rewrote my part; yet the part I added was deleted.
The only thing I got out of this has been anger and
Difficulties encountered by student-teachers
As the student-teachers participating in this study did
have to have any web authoring experiences, particular
attention was paid to make sure that the activity used did
not involve advanced level of technical applications. One
of the reasons for the selection of Wikipedia study is
because it is easy to implement wiki technology.
Regarding technological knowledge and skills, student-
teachers have encountered some problems during the
early stage of the work. However, after a process of
practicing, most of the students have learned the
fundamental Wikipedia applications. A participant states this:
“I do not think this work is pretty hard. It was just a little
difficult because it was my first time to do such a work.
And I overcame this problem after learning the
The problems reported by the students expressing
difficulties with respect to lack of computer skills mostly
include singular issues as add visual content or make
proper citation. Only three student-teachers stated that
they had general difficulty because of lack of computer
skills. In the end, it may be concluded that the wiki works
can be taken as a useful start for the teachers with no
prior experience on web authoring.
The most significant difficulty and challenge that the
student-teachers had, relates to the collaboration and
coordination with other users. More than half of the
students noted that they had difficulties because other
users deleted the content they added and that they had
to redo what they had done before. The changes made
by other users were mostly made in the form of page
removal, instead of revision or improvement (Table 2).
The primary reasons for the deletion of the contents
include improper citations or forms of plagiarisms. At the
beginning of the study, the students were told to comply
with the citation rules; however, despite this initial
warning, most participants did not pay much attention to
this issue at the beginning. But they changed their
attitude after having difficulties to integrate their content
to the Wikipedia. Therefore, these challenges have been
regarded as a positive outcome that compelled the
participants to generate high quality content.
However, the students’ tendency to prepare contents
consistent with the property rules after the initial deletions
did not always address the problem. This has been the
case particularly in regards to the existing articles. In
many cases, despite that the student-teachers authored
high quality content for the existing entries, the previous
versions were reinstalled. This created a sense of
frustration; lack of motivation, disappointment and
indignation among the student-teachers encountered this
problem. A participant expresses his view on the matter
“The other Wikipedia authors do not accept out additions
for some reasons. Frankly, I did my part over and over
again; but they just did not accept it. Besides, I did not
understand that on what basis they did so. This
discouraged me from doing my assignment.”
Another problem that the students reported is that the
assignment took a lot of time. The students note that the
Wikipedia study requires a great amount of time
compared to other assignments. The fact that they had to
work longer hours during the research and knowledge
generation phases and then implementing their output to
Wikipedia required a lot of time is the primary reason for
Table 3. The motivating features of the Wikipedia workshop for the student-teachers.
Sharing their product with others
Being an author in a popular encyclopedia
Working with computers
The research findings show that the student-teachers find
the Wikipedia authoring workshop more interesting and
motivating than the conventional assignments. It is
observed that they are particularly motivated by the
dissemination of their own content through the Internet
environment; this creates a sense of satisfaction and
pride for the student-teachers.
The student-teachers discuss this issue from two
general angles. Above all they underline that it is pretty
nice to share their contents and produces with the others
and to help others by this generation of knowledge. A
student-teacher makes the following statement on the
“It is pretty nice to share information in web environment.
What we do in other assignments stays with us. We were
unable to share that with other people. But others are
able to benefit from our products in Wikipedia.”
It is also a matter of pride and satisfaction to serve as an
author in a popular encyclopedia like Wikipedia. It is
observed that the student-teachers were motivated by
this. For example:
“Frankly, it gives me real pride and satisfaction to write
for an encyclopedia that is used by millions. I have an
entry in this encyclopedia.”
Excepting the issues specific to Wikipedia authoring, the
ICT-based workshop does not seem as interesting or
motivating by vast majority of the student-teachers. Only
a small number of student-teachers note that the ICT-
based workshop is less boring and more interesting than
the classical works (Table 3).
The factors that discourage the students from taking up
Wikipedia works include incidents relevant to the
difficulties encountered during the workshop. As reviewed
above, the deletion of their content by other users
negatively affects the student-teachers.
Action research appears to be a very effective and
functional method for the assessment and improvement
of the teaching activities and models designed for TPCK
development. The research findings show the
weaknesses of the practiced teaching activity and serve
as guidance for the researchers for its improvement.
The Wikipedia authoring, designed as a PBL activity,
has been fairly influential in terms of improving the
student- teachers’ technological and content knowledge.
The results demonstrate that the Wikipedia work has
provided a very motivating working environment for the
student-teachers. It becomes evident that such an activity
is pretty consistent for the student-teachers with limited
technological skills to initiate web authoring.
However, the acquisitions reported by participants do
not display the same effectiveness in terms of the
pedagogical knowledge. Likewise, it has also been
observed that the student-teachers do not maintain
connections between three types of knowledge
(technology, pedagogy and content). Therefore, it may be
argued that this activity fails short in TPCK development.
This result supports the idea arguing that an effective
TPCK development in pre-service teacher education
requires systematic engagement of student-teachers in
rich teaching experiences within the real teaching
contexts (Angeli and Valanides, 2009).
The research findings refer to a number of points that
should be considered for the improvement of the web-
based PBL activity. Above all, it is crucial to integrate to
the model used the activities that could ensure to the
student-teachers to perform practices in real teaching
environments. The consecutive series of activities can be
planned for this. The first set of activity can involve
activities that could be held to improve the fundamental
skills in respect to the Wiki works, whereas the second
can feature activities that could be performed with the
participation of in-service teachers and secondary
students in school context. This requires a long-lasting,
systematic and intense learning process.
The wikis are very proper tool for creating collaborative
learning environment. However in this study, despite
some positive findings, the relation of the participants
with other users has been mostly confrontational.
Although Wikipedia provide the possibility of interactions
among the users, the student-teachers abstained from
maintaining contact with the other users and generate
common knowledge. In the future works, the student-
teachers should be directed more properly for
collaborative study with the other users. To this end, it will
190 Educ. Res. Rev.
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groups. Therefore, it can be concluded that it will be
useful to design the endeavor as a group activity rather
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