Engagement relates to making connections with the activity, connecting with other students, experiencing fun and excitement; as a result, deep learning occurs. Engagement occurs with variety, student choice and constantly changing or increasing challenges.

The following definition, as it applies to technology, is also most useful!

“Student engagement is a rendezvous between learning and the digital tools and techniques that excite students.” (Educause 2009)

Increased student engagement that occurs when using wikis:

Students are more engaged with online writing processes and collaboration. (Luce-Kapler 2007; Morgan & Smith 2008)

Students are engaged through discussion. (Harding 2007) o Students are engaged through having choices, having the opportunity to reflect, to construct meaning and to take some responsibility for their own learning. (Pappas 2010)

The ‘fun’ or ‘wow’ factor helps to engage students.

Gibbons experimented with using wikis for writing tasks, creative writing, webquest responses and also text responses. In all uses, he found students were more actively involved in the tasks, produced higher results and a greater level of understanding. They were all involved!

'I noticed that students were making changes in the evenings as well as during class.' (Gibbons 2010, pp. 36-7) This is significant as it backs up my findings - my students were spending time at home working on their wikis (without having been asked to do so)

Students expressed the opinion that they really enjoyed working with the wikis (Mak & Coniam 2008). Every lesson, my students ask if they can spend time working on their text and wikis

Research into wikis and student engagement:
There is little research that focuses solely on how wikis increase student engagement. However, engagement has been mentioned generally in a number of studies on other aspects of using wikis. (For example, Tarasiuk 2010, Tharp 2010, Wetzel 2008)

‘Students found the wiki project fun and engaging, they enjoyed the books they read...I knew the students enjoyed the wiki after the project was over because many of them continued using it for other writing assignments. And just recently, I received an email from one of the students I no longer have in class asking for the name of our wiki website because she wanted to use the format again for a project in another class.’ (Tharp 2010) (This example referred to a wiki project being used for a novel study.)
My experience in using a wiki with my Year 7 students reflects the above statement. Students have begged to be allowed to work on their wikis; students worked on them voluntarily at home; students have been beginning to use wikis as a presentation or collaboration tool for other topics and subjects.

‘Wikis transform teaching and learning, because of the collaborative nature of this technological tool which actively engages students in the learning process.’ (Wetzel 2008)

Another example (referring to a novel study):
'Instantly, I noticed that students put more effort into the work they completed on their wiki pages than they did on regular worksheets. Wikis can be viewed by anyone on the Internet, so the students knew their site could be viewed by others. This made the students more deliberate and thoughtful as they added information and edited each other’s work. The students collaborated and supported each other authentically as they completed their work. In the past, as students worked on vocabulary in a packet or notebook, I noticed that many would write down definitions without really understanding the words. Placing vocabulary on the wiki forced these students to have a deeper and less casual understanding of their vocabulary words. Since they were adding information as a group, the students needed to collaborate and consider each other’s ideas through discussion. They appeared more sincere in their comments to each other concerning their definitions. It seemed every time I logged onto a webpage to check work, I found that the students had created something new and extended their learning themselves.' (Tarasiuk 2010)