To Wiki or NOT to Wiki

Having decided to share my students’ learning with a wider audience, I then had to decide what would serve as my platform to do this. I was thinking of creating my own classroom blog so that I and my students (with adult support) could blog about their learning and new discoveries. But after having created two blogs already, I thought I would explore a new digital platform…enter the Wiki.

My first challenge was to determine which wiki site to use to host my students’ work. Jeff Utecht suggest 3 possibilities: wetpaint, wikispaces, and pbworks.

The first choice was eliminated due to ads, and seeing as this was going to be for educational purposes, I decided to try the other sites.

My second choice was wikispaces since my school had used this site extensively.
I started to play around with the different options.  Some of these included, layout, colour scheme, importing YouTube videos and creating a chart.

I wanted to structure the wiki using a chart where each column would hold different items.  I found this a bit of a challenge and not very user friendly.  I couldn’t edit the size of the cells because they were automatically formatted to fit the content.  This minor inconvenience led me to try my third site…

PBworks seemed simple and a little more user friendly in the chart department.
Because I was used to the sidebar being on the left on wikispaces and wetpaint, I had to adjust to the right-sided sidebar.  I tried to change this orientation, but could not find a way to do so.

Then I started to add some content…just to play around with the architecture of the wiki.  I quickly found out that I had little content to post, at least for the moment.  (I wanted this to be created with the work my students developed, not just a storehouse of information – information that was created by others.)  As a result, the look and feel did not appeal to me. 

I also wanted to document our classroom learning as it happened.  That’s why I wanted to use a chart in the first place, to create a calendar that would record our discoveries and our questions, as they transpired. 

I quickly realized that I was playing with the wrong tool! 

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~ by Vu Lam on February 3, 2010.

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