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[Replicable Practices] Week 07: Wikis (Post 1 of 2)

March 28, 2012

Thing #12 Learn About Wikis

The seventh week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to discover wikis. Thing #12 encourages me me to explore, collaborate, contribute, author, add, remove, and edit content all through a Wiki.

I don’t get it?

Watch a video by CommonCraft and Lee LeFever. The video is can be see at YouTube via this Link.

What’s the point?

Read the article hosted here at Scribd.com. The article is entitled 7 Things You Should Know about Wikis. Pay close attention to sections 4, 5 and 7. Thanks to EduCause Learning Initiative.

Comments

There is no one particular Wiki that inspires me because there are so many Educational Wikis that have some value or resources that can be further developed. I have been personally involved in 3 wiki projects through the AQ’s that I have taken. Two of the wikis have been hosted on Wikispaces and the other on PBworks. It amazes me (after seeing and collaborating on it first hand) how fast a wiki grows with information and ideas.  I admit these wikis were staged or urged to be created and filled but after a while collaborators were more than happy to continue to develop ideas and carry on discussion passed the last day of the AQ.

There are however some hurdles that might stand in the way of educators that need to be overcome before Wikis are implemented regularly in a classroom.

  1. Not knowing how to begin/use or setup a wiki – Teachers need to delve into it and try it out. They can experiment on their own or sit with another and explore and collaborate together. Also seeing examples of wikis and how they are used can be an incentive.
  2. Anonymity – Chances are that instructors are afraid that users will spew out unintelligent pointless dribble. Although this may occur chances are a teacher will be able to catch the culprit. Users have to register on the wiki before they can make a comment. A collection of names / user names can be kept. Also teachers can assign user names. For example use student numbers. This helps keep some sense of order. Usually users end up regulating each other. Some wikis offer the ability to look back at revision history therefore changes can be quickly fixed and tracked.
  3. Time / Organization – There is not much of it and yes at first the task can be daunting however you will be amazed on how much a wiki grows in a short amount of time. Users also normally maintain some consistent formatting feature. A chaotic wiki is no good not even to its contributors.
  4. Getting with the times – Of course there are the early adopters and those others that are stuck in an old rut. It might take some easing into however through positive encouragement, collaboration and courage anyone can move out of the rut. Think, pair and share.
  5. Technology (Limitations or Resources) – Wikis are not necessary power hungry web applications. The majority of the wikis are normally text based. What is required though is a solid internet connection. I am blessed with having multiple computers in my classroom. Encourage students to bring in their own laptops, tablets or smartphones. Give students a positive purpose and set some simple and clear rules. WiFi is where it is at.

Is it worth the fight? – Without giving it an honest effort a teacher will never know. I happen to think it is.

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