Definition

A wiki, according to the definition at Wikipedia, (the most well known wiki) is a collaborative website where the users can contribute. If any teacher who is at this site would like to contribute to the page, make corrections, or additions, the "Edit This Page" button will change this page from a static web page to a word processing document. It is just that easy. It just so happens however, that this page is restricted so that only invited guests can view and contribute. If you are viewing this private site, you have the "generic" log in information provided. Please join wikispaces to obtain a unique log in user name. Once you obtain a user name, join this space. You may add pages, make corrections, or additions to this site once you obtain your unique user name from Wikispaces.

You can even get your own site to use with your students!

Here's a great video that explains the process!


Web 2.0

A wiki is an example of Web 2.0 technology. Other examples of Web 2.0 are blogs, social networking, and folksonomies. The whole process of this type of technology allows a community of people to share information easily, collaborate, and connect with others with common interests. Features of a wiki:
  • definition: webpage with an edit button
  • easy to correct mistakes
  • easy to allow people to contribute
  • does not prevent the making of mistakes
  • “wisdom of crowds” – collaborative (wikipedia)
  • “notification” – asked to be notified when changes occur – that’s how stuff gets fixed in 2 minutes.
  • web 2.0 applications work with old computers - no need to spend money on software

Here are places you can go to create your own wiki:
Wikispaces (preferred in classroom work because teachers and students can obtain ad free space)
PBWiki
Wetpaint

Purpose of a Wiki

The purpose of a wiki is to facilitate participation in an easy-to-use online environment by a community of people who care about the content because they have ownership of the process and the results.

Issues

Adoption issues include:
  • Application or Use – examples in the "real world" include sales processes, technical documentation, work group collaboration, and event planning. An example of how a space like this is used in a school is here. So far over 90,000 K-12 educators have signed up on wikispaces (not to mention all the other wiki websites available). They use their wikis for a variety of purposes including digital portfolios, group projects, and demonstration of learning across a wide variety of subjects.
  • Open vs. Secure – the less control the more powerful the tool, the more control the more security, different levels of control are available. This wiki is protected, meaning that only authorized users can contribute. Anyone however can read the wiki, which is why we do not use names or identifying information.
  • Quality, Accuracy, and Moderators – New users need to understand that a wiki is a tool, like email and a word processor, no more or less accurate than those tools. The colaborative nature of this type of work offers the opportunity for review by others, including the moderator, which in this case are the teachers. Click here for a comparison of wikipedia to Encyclopedia Britannica.

Process

The first step is to invite people. To participate in wikis, including wikipedia, a person has to use an email address, user name, and password. In this case and with most educational wikis, the website administrators take care of the user list so that students' email addresses are not used.
The home page and the navigation bar on the right side is the framework or template for people to start.
Personal profile pages that identify the user with their user name and contact information are important in most wikis because then the community or guests can identify the writers, lending credibility to the content. Schools do not use profile pages for anyone other than the teachers.
As new pages are created, the navigation bar grows and the content gets organized as needed.
Encourage visits. Companies may put non-essential information on the wiki so people will visit often ie sign up sheets, list of places for lunch, staff birthdays, photos of an event. In this application, students are compelled to visit to contribute.
Create a scaffold or template for people to fill in the blanks. Most wikis do this.
When people ask for information that is on the wiki, email them the link to the specific page, training people to check the wiki and increasing the value. For example, classrooms can use each others' wikis as resources to learn about different topics.
Adoption spreads as users invite or compel other users to contribute.

Roles

Champion – a person who can train others or help them get started
WikiGardener or WikiGnome – those who like to fix typos, find citations for quotes, fix broken links, and add links
WikiFairy - someone who makes format changes to make the wiki more visually appealing.
WikiTroll – those who like to insight a reaction from others by posting controversial content or doing disruptive things. WikiTrolls do not exists when wikis require a login with a secure password because they are not anonymous

Obstacles

  • Empty pages where people don’t know where to start
  • One person takes control – all members feel a sense of ownership, accomplishment, and responsibility when they all contribute fairly equally
  • Too much organization – a wiki should start out with the least amount of structure because structure will be added over time as the need arises

Wikis Worth a Look

Mr. Klingman's Wikispace- MIddle School
Ah-Bon-French- Middle School Foreign Language
Bilbrey-English- Middle School English
Armstrong-history- Middle School History
Collaboration Nation- Middle School Social Studies
Fletcherwiki- MIddle School Science
Maggie's Lit Wiki - a good example of a teacher using wikispaces as a class web page
7th Grade Math - This is a great site for math
Discovery 0607 - Teacher's personal lesson plan wiki, same teacher - resource wiki (check out the page about classroom blogging)
Arbor Heights - Looks like the beginnings of a school website
Google Earth for Classroom Use - Collaboration among teachers
Ms. Barnett's Class Web Page - High School
Dinosaur Wiki - Grade 2 Class Project
Broken World - World History Class
Mr. Knuffke's Class Web Page - Check out his "Wiki Warranty"!
Mr. Freccia's Class Web Page - All High School teachers should do this!!
Mr. Stevens - AP English
Glengarrypedia - wiki as a study of this novel
Studying Societies - World History Wiki
spfractions - Wiki displaying student projects demonstrating understanding fractions
5th Grade Writing Wiki - poetry
5th Grade Social Studies WIki - Colonies
Terry the Tennis Ball - collaborative "Chose Your Own Adventure" story
Code Blue - 6th grade science, body systems
Wiki Junior Books
Corpus Wiki - student portfolio
Red Cedar Writing Project
Aorere College - Social Science classes from Austrailia
Computer Teacher's Wiki- look for collaborative project examples
Ms. Bonk's Please Show Your Work - Middle school math from District 142
Long List of Educational Wikis - check this list to see if you find teachers that teach the same grade level or subject to gather good resources


Get Your Own!

Sources:
http://www.wikipatterns.com/display/wikipatterns/

http://coollessons.wikispaces.com/Communication_Learning_and_Connectivity