Teacher Tap

The Basics

relayA wiki is a type of website that uses "open editing" collaborative software technology to provide an easy way for multiple participants to enter, submit, manage, and update a single web workspace.

Users make changes by selecting from options and filling in forms on a web page. Authorized users can add and delete links, pages, and content. In some cases, a moderator approves changes before they are posted. Some wikis also provide a way to track changes and view earlier versions of pages.

Visit The Home of Sylvie, a coho salmon, whose life story has been dramatizing by the fourth and fifth graders of Harborview Elementary School. Students learned about the coho salmon and created a fact-based wiki. Wiki means "quick-quick" in Hawaiian. Creators can build and edit wikis very quickly. The technology is simple.

Watch this great Wiki YouTube video introducing wikis. You can also go directly to CommonCraft Wikis in Plain English page for the video.

Need more examples? Watch the PBWiki educator videos.

Visit Ancient Greece for an example of a project that includes a variety of student produced work and use of the discussion tool.

When working with wikis in teaching and learning, you have many options.

Go to Goofy Global News. Notice the way the project directions are provided on the entry page. Students are required to post their own pages as well as evaluate peer projects.

Go to Catastrophe. What directions would young people need to be successful with this project?

Try It!
Open the Travel The USA! wiki.
Each person will choose a different state for the advertising campaign. You can edit a project that's already been started. Or, create your own.
To save time, we'll use Wikipedia for information. Most of their images are in the public domain. Click on a wikipedia images to see if you can use it in your project.
Then, explore the work of your classmates. Use the discussion tab to write a comment.

Wiki Characteristics

Although the wiki software can be used in many ways, most wikis share some basic characteristics that distinguish them from other social and collaborative technologies. The following list is adapted from Brian Lamb's (2004) Wiki Essences:

Unique. Why reinvent the wheel? With billions of pages on the web, wikis try to fill a nitch focusing on original content rather than rehashing information found elsewhere. When additional information beyond the scope of the project is needed, you don't need to copy it. Instead, a simple link is all that's needed.

Collaborative. It's lonely to create a wiki by yourself. They're designed to be free, open spaces for sharing. People don't worry about the author or owner of a wiki. Instead they concentrate on the synergy that comes from building a project as a virtual team.

Open Editing. Wikis are designed as collaborative environments where anyone can add or edit anything at any time. Although some wikis require contributors to register, most allow anyone to join in the fun.

Simple Coding. Rather than using complex software, wikis rely on simple web-based forms and basic HTML code and formatting tags. Spaces are removed from phrases to easily create new pages based on topics such as OrganicFood or InquiryBasedLearning.

Evolving. Although some wikis projects have a limited life, most are designed to be neverending. Someone plants the seed and the wiki grows in endless directions taking on a life of its own. Wikis are in a constant state of change. Wikis encourage people to start an idea and let someone else finish the thought or add polish.

| eduscapes | IUPUI Online Courses | Activate | 42explore | About Us | Contact Us | © 2007-2008 Annette Lamb