Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's with the Wiki?

Have you ever used a wiki? Are you asking yourself, "What's a wiki?" If so, watch this video.

Now that you have an idea what a wiki is, let me tell you how I've used it in the past as well as how I've seen my peers use it AND how a wiki is being used at the start of this new school year at my workplace.

The Past:

Over the last couple of years, I've used a wiki in various presentations and workshops. Mainly to have the agenda online, with links, images, etc. etc. This was done instead of having a "paper agenda." Upon arrival at the workshop, participants would be referred to the wiki and we'd talk briefly about it and even add to it as the day progressed. I would, however, say that if something was added, it was added by myself or my co-presenter. Ideally it would have been added to by the participants in the session, which to me, is how a wiki should really work. I have also used it in presentations at conferences.

My Peers:

I must say, I've seen some pretty incredible, in-depth, wikis created by my peers. I can tell that there was some effort to put them together. For instance, look at this 21st Century Skills Fair wiki. This fantastic group of educators use a site called Wikispaces to create their wikis. I have also stumbled upon some other wikis, through Twitter or in some other fashion. For instance: Elementary Voicethreads, or "How to make a Voicethread", or "Web 2.0 and Marzano"...there are soooooo many I don't know about...but I save them as I see them!

New (at my workplace):

This year, at work, we've had new committees, with new people, in new roles...and all of us have different calendars (shocking, I know). So, with all of these new roles, we decided that we needed to meet as a group to make sure that we all know "what's going on" in respect to our new roles and positions. (Insert light bulb here) The idea is(was) to start a wiki.

The purpose of the wiki, for myself, was to try and cut down on email. One email sent out to everyone on the committee, then that person clicking the "reply-to-all" button, then another person "replying-to-all" and so on, etc., etc. Have you been there and done that? The email piles up, it takes FOREVER to read, decipher whether or not you need that information, do you file the info? Trash it? ...I digress.

What if...just what if, we all have access to a wiki, where we all post any information we want or need to share, this info could be Word documents, pdfs, spreadsheets, links or just typed info. (Poof)...all of the emailing back and forth just disappeared. Then, when the person(s) in the group have info to share with the rest of the group, they simply post it to the wiki. (Are you with me?) The next thought is, then I, a member of the group, decide I want to know what's happening, I then look at the wiki! Amazing! Simple! Friendly!

What wikis have you seen or used? Do you have other ideas? Leave a comment!


Here's a website with some "best practices for using wikis."

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