Wikis and Blogs


Select the right technology for your goals!

First decide what you're looking for, is it a way to disseminate information to your students, is it a way for students to collaborate on a project?  Blogs and wikis serve different needs. Make sure you chose the right technology to accomplish your goals.

 

 


 

What is a wiki?

A wiki (from the Hawaiian word 'quick') is a webpage that anyone can edit at anytime from anywhere. Wikis allow for asynchronous collaboration and communication between groups of people. On a wiki many people can edit the page and many people can read the page.

 

A wiki can imitate the way that you surf the web -- you can add pages in all directions and expand as needed through internal wiki page links and external links to outside sources. (From Shayne)

 

How can I use a wiki in my classroom?

 

Instructional wikis

Post information for your students to reference outside of the classroom. Wikis are accessible from anywhere, so your students can easily log on to find the most up to date class information.  Post your syllabus, homework, vocab list, additional homework resources, inspirational videos, office hours... 

 

On an instructional wiki you are the only editor, your students can read the information but can't contribute.

 

Collaborative wikis

Create interactive lessons where students contribute to the content on your wiki. Students create, publish and post work. On a collaborative workspace students can peer edit and comment on other student's work, work collaboratively and have easy access to a variety of links.

 

On a collaborative workspace, students can edit the page and contribute to the content on the workspace.

 

Faculty Wiki

Many schools use PBworks to communicate between staff.  Here are some ideas on how to use a wiki for collaborating with staff:

 

Document Repository - We used the repository template page to include all of our documents (forms, calendars, memos, notices) significantly cutting down on paper. This also helps those of us who always were misplacing paper copies.

Discussion-  We also use the wiki for discussion purposes (new ideas, meeting reactions, announcements).

Share Information- The wiki contains a library inventory and software inventory.

Training- Several video tutorials have been posted on the wiki.

 

Some great wiki examples:

 

 

Video Explanation

Can't access this video?  Try to view it on Teachertube

 

 



What is a Blog?

A blog (from the words 'web log') is an online journal where one person journals or posts information and many people can read or leave commentsEntries are linear and appear in reverse chronological order. Blogs are a great way to document information or to share updates with a large audience. 

 

How can I use a Blog in my classroom?

Blogs are a great way for you as a teacher to share information with your students or parents.  Post news about your class, the latest assignment or instructions.  Your students can use blogs as online diaries that can be updated daily, weekly or when they get a chance.  Other students can participate by leaving comments.

 

Three great educator blogs:

 

Video Explanation

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What's the difference!?!

Here's how educators describe the difference between blogs and wikis

 

From BarryB

 

"I would note that blogs are organized in reverse order of the postings made.  The most recent post is always on top and the blog is organized by month and year going back in time.  This type of organization lends itself to projects or information that are most logical when the information is time-related or you want to follow a train of thought with comments and being made and responded to.

 

Wikis are not dependent on a time-based organizational scheme.  If you think of an idea or project that you want to emphasize, you can create a new page and a new link at the top of your wiki and it gets the primary focus immediately; that emphasis won't disappear as time goes on, as long as you keep that link at the top of your Frontpage."

 

From Dwedgewood

 

"This is a question that we have discussed a lot and still find that  wikis and blogs can do many of the same things.  You can respond to posts on both, you can add lots of plugins to do lots of really neat things on both of them.  Both of them encourage reflecting on the work of others, but a blog is usually created by one author who posts something he has written, often with links to other writers as background info, and with invitations for others to comment.  A blog is a series starting with an article, then a stream of related comments.

 

 

A wiki can do this commenting, but it's not as pretty as on a blog and in a wiki the commenting is on it's own separate page.  Where a wiki shows its power is when a document will be enhanced by having many co-authors and where the collection of the information from many is what will provide the best finished product.  A wiki is a wonderful place to easily create documents that will evolve and change.

 

From Beth K.

 

I've used a Wiki on PB Works for about a year now. It is used to support a series of faculty development workshops that I conduct - it is our "Camp Wiki." I use it to house numerous resources from a Camp Schedule, links to external sites, fun sites (in the sidebar) and daily Camper reflections among other things. The wiki has been a wonderful place to house numerous resources that is easily updated.

 

We have used blogs more like journals than resource sites. We could have used a blog for our Camp daily reflections but preferred to keep everything in one site. A blog could have been used for all of the camp reflections where Summer Camp 2008 posted their reflections, other campers could have responded to their reflections. We could have also used the blog space for future camps - Winter 2009 and Summer 2009, this would keep all the reflections - the original responses and comments to those responses all in one place.