#16 (WEEK 7) Learn about wikis and discover some innovative ways that libraries are using them

A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, is the largest and perhaps the most well known of these knowledge sharing tools, but with benefits that wikis provide the use and popularity of these tools is exploding. Other popular wiki tools are PBworks (originally Peanut Butter Wiki or PBWiki), Wikispaces and Wikispaces for Educators, California K12HSN Calaxy wiki, and many more.

The word, "wiki" is the Hawaiian word for "quick-quick" or hurry. Some of the benefits that make the use of wikis so attractive are:
  • Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.
  • Tracking tools within wikis allow you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom.
  • Earlier versions of a page can be rolled back and viewed when needed.
  • Users do not need to know HTML programming language in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content. Very nice! In most cases simple syntax structure is used.

As the use of wikis has grown over the last few years, libraries all over the country have begun to use them to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, ALA and CSLA conference wikis and more.

Discovery Exercise:
1. For this discovery exercise, take a look at some library wikis and blog about your findings. Many have been created and stay in use, while others fall to the wayside once it's usefulness is over -- like a specific project or event. Here are a few examples to get you started:

2. Create a blog post about your findings. What did you find interesting? What types of applications within libraries and schools might work well with a wiki?

Discovery Resources:

Use these resources to learn more about wikis:

Curriculum Connections:

Wikis can be made for any classroom!

  • Idea #1: Collaborative note-taking. Students pitch in and add a fact or two about a topic. Teachers can encourage students to include opinions, challenges, and appropriate criticism. Students would then write essays using only these notes. Make sure that each addition includes a citation to website, book, or database, including page numbers so that it can be checked.
  • Idea #2: History. Students can compile a wiki of famous artists, architects, writers, and other key historical figures from a city, state, or country. Each student could create a page or contribute a specific section to each page.
  • Idea #3: Create "top 10" lists and supporting material. This could include scientists and their discoveries, top writers and their books, ... you get the idea. One list per wiki page.
  • Idea #4: Mission trading cards (see Week 3), once completed, could be added to a class wiki.

So what's in a wiki? Find out by doing some exploring on your own.

Suggested "tags" or labels: wiki, wikipedia

[Note: Please remember to include WEEK# and THING# in your heading posts.]