#16 (WEEK 7) Learn about wikis and discover some innovative ways that educators use them

A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, is the largest and most well known of these knowledge sharing tools. The popularity of these tools is exploding. Other popular wiki tools are PBworks (originally Peanut Butter Wiki or PBWiki), Wikispaces and Wikispaces for Educators, California K12HSN Calaxy wiki, and many more.

The word, "wiki" is the Hawaiian word for "quick-quick" or hurry. Some of the benefits that make the use of wikis so attractive are:
  • Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit, or delete content.
  • Tracking tools within wikis allow you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom.
  • Earlier versions of a page can be rolled back and viewed when needed.
  • Users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content. In most cases simple syntax structure is used.
As the use of wikis has grown over the last few years, schools and libraries all over the country have begun to use them to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, conference wikis and best practices wikis.

Discovery Exercises:
  1. For this discovery exercise, you are asked to take a look at some school and library wikis and blog about your findings. Here are a few examples to get you started:
    SJCPL Subject Guides – a pathfinder wiki developed by the St. Joseph County Public Library system.
    Library Success: A best practices wiki
    The Albany County Public Library Staff wiki – an example of a wiki created for library staff to document procedures.
    Library Bloggers Wiki
    Sample school wiki
    Sample Literary Circle Wiki (10th Grade English) or pbWORKS for educators

  2. Create a blog post about your findings. What did you find interesting? What types of applications within libraries and schools might work well with a wiki?

Discovery Resources:
Use these resources to learn more about wikis.

Curriculum Connections:
Wikis can be made for any classroom!
  1. Idea #1: Collaborative note-taking. Everyone pitches in and adds a fact or two about a topic. Teachers can encourage students to include opinions, challenges, and appropriate criticism. Students would then write essays using only these notes. Make sure that each addition includes a citation to website, book, or database, including page numbers so that it can be checked.
  2. Idea #2: History. Students can compile a wiki of famous artists, architects, writers, and other key historical figures from a city, state, or country.
  3. Idea #3: Create a "top 10" lists and supporting material. This could include scientists and their discoveries, top writers and their books, ... you get the idea.
  4. Idea #4: Mission trading cards (see Week 3), once completed, could be added to a class wiki.
    So what's in a wiki? Find out by doing some exploring on your own.
Suggested "tags" or labels: wiki, wikipedia

[Note: Please remember to include WEEK# and THING# in your heading posts.]