Wikis in the Classroom
To save space and time on the podcast I’m outlining what a wiki is and how it works. If you already have a good working understanding of a wiki site, or use them in your teaching already, please feel free to skip ahead to the podcast. All of the important “whys” of using such a tool can be heard in the there.
What is a Wiki –
A wiki is a type of web page. Much the same way you can share your personal thoughts on a web site with a blog, or have a discussion with others on a web site with a forum, a web site with a wiki allows for online collaborative creation. In other words, a wiki is the name commonly given to any web site in which the users, or web surfers, can actually alter the web page while viewing it so that subsequent viewers are reading an entirely new page, or article. Users have the power to directly edit text, images, and links on a web site with a wiki.
How do you use a Wiki? –
The vast majority of wiki web sites are closed to the general public and used exclusively by small groups of people working on a common project. However, there are a number of very popular, and powerful, wiki-driven web sites, on which any user can register to become a member. Once a username and password are chosen the user visits a page on the web site they wish to alter, login using their account, and then click a link or edit button that opens up a word processing interface with the contents of the page they’re on. If you can use Microsoft Word, using a wiki web site is just as easy. The user enters or alters text, images, and links, then saves their work. The changes are saved as a version under their account and the web page is instantly changed to reflect the new version they’ve just created. If future versions created by other users don’t seem appropriate or as polished, returning to an older version is as simple as clicking on a button to display that older version.
Why Wiki? –
Listen to the podcast and you’ll hear all about why I believe this powerful, and somewhat intimidating tool, should be used in our classrooms. I’ll be discussing two excellent web sites that are based on the wiki format, www.wikipedia.org, and the English language version of www.wikibooks.org.
Podcast – Tech Savvy Educator – v.1_2