A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove, and edit content. The name comes from the Hawaiian “wiki-wiki” meaning “quick." Characterized by ease of use, a wiki is an effective tool for collaborative authoring. Adding to a wiki is much like word processing and changes are instantly available. Wiki environments are usually text based, but can incorporate graphics, audio, video, and animation. You're probably already familiar with the world's best-known wiki, Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia collaboratively authored and edited by millions of users.
To complete Thing 21 you must:
A. Learn how wikis work
B. Explore a variety of educational wikis
C. Reflect on Thing 21 on your blog
A. Learn How Wikis Work
First, watch this video:
If you can't see the video, click here to watch it on the Common Craft website.
Then read this article to learn more about wikis.
So why use wikis? Simply put, they are easy to use, free, require no special skills or software, and are accessible from any computer with Internet access and web browser software. To protect information on a wiki, sites can require users to log-in before being able to edit. The history feature within wikis allows you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom, and earlier versions of a page can always be accessed.
B. Explore Wikis
Wikis have great potential as an educational tool for both teachers and students because they encourage collaborative learning and resource sharing. Among the things they can be used for are:
- Collaborative writing
- Creation and organization of content and study guides
- Lesson summaries
- Group notetaking
- Dissemination of classroom information
- Literature circles
- Collaborative textbooks
- Resource collections
- Vocabulary study
Take a look at the following examples to see some of the ways wikis are being used:
Comparing Hemispheres - project between schools in NY and Australia
Westwood Schools Wiki - online space for Camilla, GA students
Welker's Wikinomics - AP Economics class at Shanghai American School
Survey of Literature Course - 9th grade course site
Arbor Heights Elementary School Wiki - wiki as a school web site
Flat Planet - students in Canada and UK examine environmental issues
Google Earth Resources - wiki to provide resources for a workshop
Book Trailers for Readers - spotlighting great books for kids and teens
wikiHow - collaborative project to build world's largest how-to manual
Want to see more?
Examples of Educational Wikis – a large collection of wikis organized in (what would you expect?) a wiki!
C. Reflect - Blog Prompts for Thing 21
Describe a wiki you found that inspires you to create one of your own. What hurdles might stand in the way of your using a wiki? What would it take to remove the hurdles? Is it worth the fight?