My Wiki Wiki Future!


I absolutely plan on using wikis in my future for personal and professional endeavors. I think that wikis can be a powerful tool for critical thinking about content and information gathering/publication (especially in the current internet age), and for collaboration. I would love to have a class wiki that is continuously evolving and growing over the course of a lesson, unit, and even school year. It is something that could permeate my entire teaching plan and be easily incorporated into any/every lesson. Wikis could even be updated by teachers and students year-to-year. A class homepage could link students to content resources, interesting and relevant articles or stories, notes, assignments, and even quizzes and tests. Student work could be presented and shared with teachers and peers, and students could easily work together on group projects. Students could be responsible for parts of the development of the wiki, and also for different sections. For instance, students may develop a list of vocabulary for a unit by building the definitions and examples together, and updating the information as it is presented and learned in class. Students can then all benefit from this information and use it as a study guide (perhaps by making the wiki information available on tests students will be more motivated to produce higher quality entries), or resource for further learning. They will e able to practice appropriate and correct spelling, grammar, and other writing tools, and practice organizing presented information in ways that are efficient and accessible to their intended audience. Students may be required to provide liked citations to the information that they share.

As a classroom or many classrooms of students build a wiki together they are developing social and cooperative skills, learning how to work together and support each other, and growing an environment of trust. Hopefully wiki entries will spark insightful discussions about content, how information is shared and presented, and information and source validity and accuracy. Of course I still think that it is important that teachers and students are monitoring the wiki for appropriate and correct content, but when students gain agency in the wiki (and class) by investing their time and effort, I am confident that they will self-police and hold themselves and each other accountable. Still, inappropriate behavior and editing, or even the destruction of the wiki by students is a possibility, and work expected of and on the wiki should not be critical to the success of the students or the classroom.

Some wiki examples:
Thousand and One Flat World Tales: This wiki is incredible for a number of reasons: it has a very cool premise that makes guests want to explore, it utilizes collaboration between very distant student peers (with neat features like clocks that display the time in other participating counties), and students are able to revise and incorporate suggestions to their work immediately and before they are turned in for assessment. It also helps students with writing and language skills, organization and editing skills, and allows interested students the opportunity to be published and potentially be recognized for later opportunities in writing. The navigation of the website could stand to be a little more intuitive.

The Discover Utopia Project: Another wiki with a very interesting theme that can be easily tied into content. This wiki asks students very deep and profound questions that require significant thought and reflection, and which can spark interesting conversations. Genuine examples of real-world utopia challenges are highlighted, and prompts and ideas are provided. Student work is displayed proudly. The homepage could be a little more inviting, and student work is a little hard to find on your own without guessing and clicking around.

Reich Chemistry: This is a very simple wiki, and something very similar to what I would like to initially produce. I feel like it is a good starting point, but still has plenty of room for improvements (less offensive colors and more use of pictures spring to mind). However it does exactly what it says it will do, no more and no less.

Westwood Schools Computer Science: A more advanced version of what could be a multi-year work of a wiki. This has access to past work and courses, and contains integrated links, which is convenient and unobtrusive, and is also very intuitive to use. The style is simple and lack-luster, but also very professional. It seems that very few words are wasted. It also does a very good job of showcasing student work.

Lords of the Flies Survival Game: The only wiki on this list that does not use wikispaces as a host, and the layout is noticeably different (not necessarily in a bad way, just less familiar, especially to the student whose only wiki experience is wikipedia). The idea of this wiki is also very engaging and can definitely be tied into and across content areas. It is presented as a game, which is also appealing and will keep participants entertained and engrossed. Color coding is nice, but the instructions could stand to be more clear (modeling and providing examples of expectations and final products would be nice as well), and links could be used more effectively for page navigation.