- Wikis are very similar to blogs, but they have some different features and may be better used for different types of assignments.
- Wikis, like blogs, are websites, offering dynamic content (you can subscribe to them), as well as collaborate on content and control what and how it is being presented/published.
- The GOOD NEWS is that most wikis now offer visual editors, which eliminates the need to learn wiki markup language. So, it’s just like typing into Word, for instance.
- Wikis provide a history of all of the revisions. So, if you don’t want something changed that someone has changed, you just need to revert back to that one. It’s that simple.
- Wikis can be public or private. You can control who can view/change a wiki page. Most wikis require people to be signed up for the wiki before they can edit it.
- Wikis offer a “discussion” tab, where people can comment on/discuss possible changes before they are actually made on the page.
- Wikis are flexible and can be customized like a blog, offering many templates and other features.
- Wikis, like blogs, allow users to upload files and insert images, videos, podcasts, and other multimedia elements.
Free online wikis:
10 Reasons to use Wikis in the Classroom:
- Wikis can promote group collaboration, research, creating content, group thinking.
- Students could actually create a course using a wiki (that’s pretty radical, I know, but it might be a very interesting and useful project.)
- Wikis can be used instead of email, as students can be subscribed to them , receiving updated announcements and other content in their email inbox or feed reader. NO MORE EMAILS SENT TO STUDENTS!
- Wikis promote non-linear thinking and the need to create structure to thoughts and processes. Students explicitly experience and see these processes as they work with a wiki.
- Wikis can easily be changed and edited, with evolving thoughts and concepts displayed through the history feature.
- Wikis provide a public space for reading and writing.
- Wikis are authentic venues for writing, with everyone sharing in the construction and collaboration of ideas.
- Content grows throughout the process of a wiki. A class could end up with a complete resource site for their courssework, for instance.
- Wikis are becoming easier to use, with no need to learn any specialized markup language.
- Wikis are fun.
Helpful advice to those wanting to start using blogs & wikis in their teaching:
- Allow students to practice with blogs and wikis. You can set up a wiki sandbox or simply a practice wiki at first for a student project. After they get the hang of it, they will take it from there.
- If the content is sensitive, perhaps make the blog and/or wiki private. That may reassure some students. However, don’t discount the power of public reading and writing. That is where authenticity comes in.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn along with your students. This is probably the best way to learn technology.
- If something doesn’t work, don’t stop experimenting. Again, learning with technology involves a bit of risk-taking, but problem-solving is a great by-product of this adventure.
- Attend our upcoming “Faculty Mashup” in October (TBA) to hear about ways faculty members at Boise State are using these new technologies.
Blogging basics (Technorati)
GREAT VIDEO, A MUST WATCH: Wikis in Plain English (YouTube)