Monday, July 23, 2007

More about wikis

Learned a new fact: a single page in a wiki is referred appropriately as a "wiki page" while the entire set of hyperlinked pages together creates the "wiki". It is starting to make a bit more sense to me now....but just browsing through the numerous pages out there about what a wiki is was a bit overwhelming to me and to try to begin was kinda scary.

As Ward said in the original description of a wiki,
"Allowing everyday users to create and edit any page in a Web site is exciting in that it encourages democratic use of the Web and promotes content composition by nontechnical users." A very good point for some of us nontechnical users in that we can go in and edit a web page without too many difficulties.

The technical aspects of doing a wiki are pretty basic once you get the hang of it. You simply log into one of the free sites, create a log in, space/page name, and begin typing whatever it is you want. You can easily come back to it to edit, can upload pictures, A pro and con at the same time about a wiki is it's security. It's great that anyone can edit it, but at the same time, one could destroy what you have created it with nasty vandalism quite easily; or add information that is incorrect (be sure to protect yours that way it doesn't happen).

A wiki can be used to send students to a particular page where you want them to read specific information and give them the opportunity to edit what has already been written (could be great for fixing math problems or correcting language mechanics errors in writing). It would be a wonderful place to put up class notes on a lecture and have the kids add their own personal notes. It also would be cool to share your page with other classes to be able to compare information or in conjunction with a telecollaborative project. Another way to use a wiki would be for students to share their writing with others, have other students edit it for content/mechanics and get feedback from their peers. I might even suggest this to some of the teachers I work with for a fun, interactive way to work on their students' writing. One last thought, for now, is that wikis could also be helpful with communicating and sharing with parents. Parents could view their own child's published work and let the teacher know any important information to share with the class.

One article (open as a pdf file) that I found helpful was the 7 Things You Should Know about Wikis (from a classmates blog):

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