Teacher Tap

Wiki Planning

Before creating a wiki, be sure to spend time exploring the work of others. What's the mission of your wiki? Who will create and use your wiki?

As you consider whether a project might work well for a wiki, consider the characteristics of successful wikis: unique content, flexibility, synergy, and enthusiasm.

What makes a successful wiki?

Unique Content. Why recreate the Web? The key to a successful wiki is identifying and filling a niche need. What can you create or organize that isn't available elsewhere? For example, create a wiki based on one of the following topics:

Structure. Your project will quickly fizzle without good organization. An effective wiki makes good use of hyperlinks to connect information and ideas. Rather than one long page or a series of unrelated web pages, a quality wiki provides an intuitive way to explore information. One idea is linked to another so that people can see the forest and the trees.

Flexibility. A well-designed wiki has both structure and flexibility. Avoid starting a wiki with all the information in place. If it's complete, then why not just create web pages? One of the best things about wikis is their versatility. If you have incomplete information or the beginning of an idea, it's viewed by the wiki community as an opportunity for another participant to contribute rather than a defeat. Although structure is important, it must be balanced with the opportunity to expand and dig deeper into the content.

Synergy. When a group of people work together toward a joint goal, the result is often bigger and better than when people work independently. Although wikis work fine with just a few people, larger projects require more committment by individual group members or a larger writing pool. Consider expanding your contributors by inviting some of the following people to join projects:

Enthusiasm. Whether you're engaging teen learners in a class project or patrons in a community project, it's important that the project maintain a high energy level. Participants need to be passionate about the content or the project will quickly become a chore rather than a quest for knowledge. One way to maintain enthusiasm is through questioning. Consider some of the following questions as you worth through your wiki project:

Go to wikispaces and search for student produced wikis. Do they have the characteristics of a successful wiki? Why or why not?

Explore examples of Local or state interest (i.e., historical building, location, event, noteworthy person, oral history, Indiana (Historical Theatres of Indiana, Historical Preservation, Hoosier Music, Hoosier Round Barns, Indiana Artists). Also check out Create a Family Wiki Tree and Wedding. Do they have the characteristics of a successful wiki? Why or why not?

Content Planning

Think about designing a project that requires students to generate original works such as poetry, interviews, and science experiment results. There are many websites that contain information about the solar system, biomes, and countries of the world. How will your project contribute in some unique way to the body of information already on the Internet?

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