What a wacky wiki week

November 9, 2007

beef.gifIt all started with a Wiki. You know. You start one and it becomes all consuming. “Wow, it’s two o’clock already?” or “you guys are on your own for dinner” type of consuming. It’s like starting a blog.

The Brandon Hall Wiki we use internally (actually we have tried several over the past couple of years) is MediaWiki which was written for Wikipedia. This past week though, I’ve been busy exploring other Wiki platforms.

A class I am taking requires me to set up three knowledge bases on learning theories. Some people used PowerPoint, some used Word, a couple had pages on their Websites but I decided to use a Wiki even though this isn’t a collaborative project. I used pbwiki, a wiki designed for educators, and loved it. Nice templates for classes. Easy. (I won’t share my school wiki because I think it sucks right now. After I’ve been graded with an “A,” maybe).

I’m using WikiSpaces for some workshops on Emerging Learning Technologies. I like this platform too. I found that multiple people can’t edit at the same time though, so have set up pages for each attendee to work in. There’s some nice, easy to use plug-ins. I thought since others will be leading the workshop at different times during the year, it’s nice to get the agenda and content out there along with a place for people to work. It’s not done yet either. Of course, that’s the nature of a Wiki. I guess that’s what I like.

This “never done” aspect of collaboration raises some interesting questions when it comes to a class Wiki that is graded. When I turn the knowledge base assignment in (provide a link via the university’s Blackboard LMS dropbox), can I continue to work on it? When does the professor actually review it? It’s a roll of the dice for procrastinators. (I think it would feel like cheating).

My daughter (11) set up her own Wiki this week using WikiSpaces. She was home from school and watching what I was up to on the workshop Wiki. I had her act as a workshop participant and go through my little 10-minute explanation/demonstration on – you guessed it…wikis. I asked her, what do you think? She said, “Mom, can I have one?” (successful training!)

It’s always fun for me to watch a child ย learn. She has excellent computer skills and her choice of uploading photos of Beefaroni and a Sphynx labeled ‘things I like’ cracked me up (those running for the award ‘Mother of the Year’ apparently feed children Beefaroni). I imagine she’ll have a fully functional Wiki to share with her friends shortly. (FYI for your kids…parental controls on our PC running with Vista allowed her to set up an account but not access her Wiki. WTF? Anyway, she was up and running in 10 minutes and I removed controls).

And, finally, I’ve been in the Complexive Wiki that George Siemens and Tony Karrer set up for the Corporate Learning: Trends and Innovations online conference. It is also on the MediaWiki platform.

In the event you don’t know what a wiki is, here’s one definition:

A Wiki allows web pages to be created and edited using a web browser, usually by multiple people. Wiki software is classified as collaborative software; software that helps people work on a common platform. Wiki software runs the Wiki on a Web server and the Wiki engine implements the wiki technology. Most Wiki engines are open source meaning the code is openly available to the public.

(Here’s a nice comparison of Wiki software and Wiki farms.)

What’s your Wiki favorite?

  • http://christytucker.wordpress.com/ Christy Tucker

    One other you could check out is Wetpaint wikis. I still like Wikispaces and will continue to use that for myself, but Wetpaint seems like it would be more approachable for a non-techie. Wetpaint walks new users through in a step-by-step way that means they really don’t have to know what they’re doing before they start as long as they can read directions. Wetpaint wikis are also prettier than wikispaces, with lots of templates available. “Pretty is a feature,” says Mark Shuttleworth (founder of Ubuntu), and I have to agree.

    Not that you needed one other to spend time testing, but hey, it’s another excuse to procrastinate from real work. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kudos to your daughter for jumping in and getting started. Tell her I think it’s great that she’s trying it out for herself.

  • http://christytucker.wordpress.com Christy Tucker

    One other you could check out is Wetpaint wikis. I still like Wikispaces and will continue to use that for myself, but Wetpaint seems like it would be more approachable for a non-techie. Wetpaint walks new users through in a step-by-step way that means they really don’t have to know what they’re doing before they start as long as they can read directions. Wetpaint wikis are also prettier than wikispaces, with lots of templates available. “Pretty is a feature,” says Mark Shuttleworth (founder of Ubuntu), and I have to agree.

    Not that you needed one other to spend time testing, but hey, it’s another excuse to procrastinate from real work. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kudos to your daughter for jumping in and getting started. Tell her I think it’s great that she’s trying it out for herself.

  • http://richardmillwood.net/ Richard Millwood

    I tried a little substitution:
    A CMS (Content Management System) allows web pages to be created and edited using a web browser, usually by multiple people. CMS software is classified as collaborative software; software that helps people work on a common platform. CMS software runs the CMS on a Web server and the CMS engine implements the CMS technology. Most CMS engines are open source meaning the code is openly available to the public.
    For me, this illuminates a problem – how on earth are folks to make sense of the differences – do we even know what they are – does it matter?
    For my money, the key ideas in a wiki, to distinguish if from the crowd, are firstly structural: it is for creating a not-necessarily-hierarchical hypertext; and secondly operational: you can insert links to pages that don’t exist yet by using a combination of symbols and camelCase. Not sure that that enlightens anyone either, unless the background shared knowledge of information systems in society were richer…

  • http://richardmillwood.net Richard Millwood

    I tried a little substitution:
    A CMS (Content Management System) allows web pages to be created and edited using a web browser, usually by multiple people. CMS software is classified as collaborative software; software that helps people work on a common platform. CMS software runs the CMS on a Web server and the CMS engine implements the CMS technology. Most CMS engines are open source meaning the code is openly available to the public.
    For me, this illuminates a problem – how on earth are folks to make sense of the differences – do we even know what they are – does it matter?
    For my money, the key ideas in a wiki, to distinguish if from the crowd, are firstly structural: it is for creating a not-necessarily-hierarchical hypertext; and secondly operational: you can insert links to pages that don’t exist yet by using a combination of symbols and camelCase. Not sure that that enlightens anyone either, unless the background shared knowledge of information systems in society were richer…

  • http://elearnenable.proboards79.com/ Philip

    Hi, I’ve used the wetpaint, wikimedia and wikitiki software. Wikimedia I find the best, wetpaint is ok for free webhosted stuff and wikitiki is horrific.

    Here is a link to Twiki but I don’t know what it’s like.

  • http://elearnenable.proboards79.com/ Philip

    Hi, I’ve used the wetpaint, wikimedia and wikitiki software. Wikimedia I find the best, wetpaint is ok for free webhosted stuff and wikitiki is horrific.

    Here is a link to Twiki but I don’t know what it’s like.

  • trish

    Gary Woodill was invited to our 2008 WSIB Learning Conference and I am currently attending his workshop on Blended Learning. Janet we appreciate you tapping in via SKYPE to offer your expertise on blended learning, thank-you.

  • trish

    Gary Woodill was invited to our 2008 WSIB Learning Conference and I am currently attending his workshop on Blended Learning. Janet we appreciate you tapping in via SKYPE to offer your expertise on blended learning, thank-you.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Anytime Trish. Hope the lighting looked better on your end than mine. : )

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Anytime Trish. Hope the lighting looked better on your end than mine. : )

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