Wikis at Work (or School)

Wikis at Work (Via elearnspace.) Siemens picks out a quote and elaborates on the uses of wikis and how foreign the process is to new users. (The original article about Wikis in corprate environments is worth skimming, too… especially as we consider preparing our students for the information workplace.)

I’d like to add that for eager educational technologists and early adopting teachers, it is important to recognize the difference between blogs and wikis, and what each is best suited for.

Blogs are best for facilitating conversation in a chronological order. New posts appear periodically and can be commented on. This format also highlights the author, whether it is a one-author blog (like a student or teacher blog) or multi-author blog (like a class blog or grade level team blog). Only the author can create a full “post” and others’ thoughts are subordinated to comments; even in a team blog, each post only has one author.

Wiki’s on the otherhand are best for non-chronological collection of resources. Old information isn’t archived, it is updated, reorganized, or replaced. Also, authorship is truly shared and collaborative. While each student may recognize their contributions to a class or project wiki, this may not be clear to others… it will be a collaboratively created project.

While many educators are beginning to understand how blogs work, and I’ve posted more than a few examples here in the read/write web category, there still seems to be a shortage of examples of good class wikis. I’ll point again to David Conlay’s Aristotle-Experiment as a model. You do have to dig a bit to find the good stuff… but check out his Juniors’ web projects, especially the one on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity. Don’t miss the video.