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What is a Wiki?

A Wiki could be considered a combination of a Web site and a Word document. It can be read just like any other web site,, but any number of people can collaboratively work on the content of the site with no special software and very few technical skills. Besides the ease of editing, it is possible to keep a record of all changes and additions made and who made them.  Each time a person makes changes to a wiki page, that revision of the content becomes the current version, and an older version is stored. Versions of the document can be compared side-by-side, and edits can be removed if necessary.

Some wiki hosts charge but there are plenty of free sites that offer unlimited pages and sufficient storage space for images and documents.

Watch Jon Udell's video on how wikis can grow.

Here are a few examples of wikis;


Activity 3a: Write a short impression of one of the wikis on your blog.  Take a look at your classmate's blogs and comment on their thoughts.



Wikis in Education

Wikis are gaining popularity in education for a variety of reasons.  One very popular aspect of wikis for the classroom is that they make it easy to 'get online' without having to spend hours training students the basics in HTML programming.  Teachers can easily provide a place for students to have an authentic real-world audience. 

They're also good tools for collaboration.  Blogs are great for one-to-many communication, such as one student writing and getting feedback.  Forums are good for letting many users ask questions and letting many people answer.  Wikis support a multi-user aspect, which lets all the students in the group have access to one site.  They can upload their files, images and text before or after seeing what others in the group are doing.

Here are a few ideas for using wikis in your classroom.

Read, Stewart Mader's "For Letter Words, How Wikis and Editing are Making the Internet a Better Learning Tool"


Activity 3b: Think of ways in which you could use a wiki for your students.  Suggest one or two in a blog posting and read some of your class member's wiki ideas also.



How To Create A Wiki

As previously mentioned, there are several wiki hosts available but for this course, we will be introducing the wiki host that is used for the KNUE program.  It has an easy set up process and the editing functions are similar to Microsoft so they should be somewhat familiar to your.  If you haven't had a chance to see it already, you can see this wiki at; KNUE WIKI.  

Read the following directions to create your wiki;

pbwiki front page image

Step One

Go to; PBwiki.com and click the Create a Wiki button.

You will also see other options on this page.  As PBwiki is used by a lot of educators, there are articles and white papers so feel free to take the time to read them when you have time.

Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained from [brian.klug@pbwiki.com]

pbwiki sign up page image

Step Two

Type in your name and an existing email address

Create a password and make a record of that password. It's very important to not forget that password

Create a name for your wiki and select a topic option from the drop down menu

Click the Create my Wiki button.

Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained from [brian.klug@pbwiki.com]

pbwiki signed up image Step Three

You'll now see a message that tells you to check your email for confirmation.  Go to the email account that you used to create the wiki and follow the link that is provided to see your new wiki.

As soon as you have your wiki URL and the password, send it to the instructor via the Teaching with Technology Blog comments.  It will be placed on the blog and the class list page so that your class members can contribute to your wiki.

Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained from [brian.klug@pbwiki.com]


Editing Your Wiki

Remember that as you create your wiki, you want others to be able to contribute information, opinions and materials to the wiki.  This means that you want to make your wiki easy to understand, organized and 'inviting'.  'Inviting' may mean that you pose questions that can be answered or that you create lists that can be added to.  Consider how you might get your students to contribute to a class project or discussion.  The topic may also be important.  Is it a topic that others might be able to add their ideas or information on? 

Another important aspect for guest contributors is that they be able to identify themselves so it might be a good idea to provide instructions for how they can do that.  Should they 'sign' their name at the end of all their contributions, should they use an image, a font style or a color?

Now that you have your wiki, you'll want to start uploading images, creating new pages and writing.  You may wish to experiment or contact the Pbwki help service.  You can also watch the following videos for tips.
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Introducing Pbwiki
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Editing your wiki
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Importing Images
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Plugins: A table of Contents

Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained from [brian.klug@pbwiki.com]


Activity 3c: At this point, you will be creating your own wiki.  Consider how to make your wiki interesting and inviting to others so that they can contribute.  The topic can be on technology, hobbies, learning and teaching, life at KNUE or any other suitable topic.  If you are struggling for a topic, ask for help on your blog and get some help from classmates.  Take a look at a few of the class blogs to see if you can provide help yourself.



Working Collaboratively on a Wiki

See Assignment 3, part B for details on this activity.

After you have created your own wiki, you'll want to start contributing to other wikis.  Visit the Class List page to find the URL's and passwords for your classmates' wikis.  It's important that contributions be relevant to the original creation and also that your contribution be authored by either your name, using a unique color or font or by following the wiki owner's instructions for contribution.

Here are a few tips on making wiki contributions;





Duffy, Peter D & Bruns, Axel (2006). The Use of Blogs, Wikis and RSS in Education: A Conversation of Possibilities. In Proceedings Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006, pages pp. 31-38, Brisbane. Viewed on May 23, 2008. http://eprints.qut.edu.au/archive/00005398/01/5398.pdf

Leu, D, Kinzer, C K, Coiro JL & Cammack,  (2004). Toward a theory of new literacies emerging from the internet and other information and communication technologies, Reading online, viewed May 12, 2005, http://www.readingonline.org/newliteracies/lit_index.asp?HREF=leu/index.html

Pettenati, Maria Chiara; Cigognini, Elisabetta; Mangione, Jose. (2007). Online Using Social    Software for  Personal Knowledge Management in Formal Online Learning Submission,          Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education v8 n3 p52-65.14 pp. Viewed  on May 13, 2008.             http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80  /34/eb/4d.pdf

Mader, Stewart. How Wiki and Editing Are Making The Internet A Better Learning Tool Using Wiki in Education  Viewed on May 29, 2008   http://www.wikiineducation.com/display/ikiw/Four+Letter+Words+-+How+wiki+and+edit+are+making+the+Internet+a+better+teaching+tool

PBwiki.com: http://www.pbwiki.com

The Science of Spectroscopy: http://www.scienceofspectroscopy.info/edit/index.php?title=Using_wiki_in_education

Undell, Jon. Heavy Metal Wiki Evolution [Screencast] Viewed on May 29,2008  http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/gems/umlaut.html