Students are social in nature - social technologies play to their style!

Definitions: "An online three-ring binder"

  • A wiki is a collection of web pages that can be easily edited by anyone, at any time, from anywhere.
  • Wiki pages are, by default, open but they can be configured to give selective access, or may even be entirely closed.
  • Wiki's use a simple mark-up language that require little training or prior knowledge. Many wikis have a built-in WYSWYG text editor for ease of use.
  • A shared repository of knowledge with the knowledge base growing over time (Godwin-Jones, 2003).
  • A simple on-line database where each page is easily edited by any user with a Web browser; no special software nor a third party webmaster is needed to post content.
  • A wiki's versioning capability can show the evolution of thought processes as contributors interact with content.

What do wikis look like?
Typically a wiki is very "clean". This means there is mostly (or solely) text. However, images can be added.

Educational Uses of Wikis

TEAMWORK & COLLABORATION -- Wikis maximize interplay and collaboration opportunities.
    • If learning is indeed a social activity, wikis afford an opportunity for the social construction of knowledge where students and teachers are not simply engaged in developing their own information but actively involved in creating knowledge that will benefit other students.
    • Wikis permit public document construction, that is, distributed authorship.

Wikis can be used for:
  • Any class project with a reference or encyclopedic format, including instructions, manuals, glossaries, and the like.
  • A class or group project with a bibliographic format. Students could gather websites related to a topic, then annotate, rank, and organize them.
  • Take collaborative notes.
  • Create an interactive course page.
  • Create an ongoing database for shareable lesson plans.
  • Student-created texts. Students build a guide to online security and privacy and are evaluated as a class. Every student has a stake in the project and will likely benefit from the instruction it contained. Students also become familiar with "textbook" English and its avoidance of personal-sounding prose. Victoria Davis (CoolCatTeacher Blog)
* Plan a conference or publish a magazine -

code to do this is under the discussion.

Downsides to Wikis:

Quality of posted work
Need for monitoring, collaboration bias, navigational concerns.

Articles about wikis in education:
* Wiki Pedagogy :: This article by Renee Fountain endeavours to denote and promote pedagogical experimentations concerning a Free/Open technology called a "Wiki".... The particular pedagogical challenge is one of control: wikis work most effectively when students can assert meaningful autonomy over the process. This involves not just adjusting the technical configuration and delivery; it involves challenging the social norms and practices of the course as well (Lamb, 2004). Enacting such horizontal knowledge assemblages in higher education practices could evoke a return towards and an instance upon the making of impossible public goods” (Ciffolilli, 2003).
  • Using Wikis in Schools: A Case Study by Lyndsay Grant, Learning Researcher, Future Lab. This paper looks both at the affordances of the technology itself and the wider context of the classroom, and offers some provisional conclusions about the potential of using wikis to support collaborative learning in schools.

Other Online References & Resources
Alan Levine's //Wikis and More...// (New Learning Technologies Buffet) was originally presented at a workshop for Maricopa Community College library staff (January 13, 2005): a great overview, moving beyond wikis to cover collaborative web writing with Writely.
Using wiki in education :: A wiki about using wikis in education authored by Stewart Mader.
7 things you should know about wikis :: a part of the "7 things you need to know about..." series from the Educause Learning Initiative.
Teaching Hacks :: Want to know more about Wikis and their implimentation in courses... or find out if there are any good wikis around for your subject matter you are teaching...

Wiki Tools -- just a few of the myriad of choices.

Why wait? Pick one and set yourself up for collaboration today, and contact me at any time for assistance.