Wikis in the Classroom

The past few days I’ve had a lot of Wikis in my life. Two rather prominent Wiki presences that bear mention are Wikispaces and Wikipedia.

First, a Wikispace in my mind is a collaborative works pace of varied forms and shapes that provide content to be added and changed by multiple users in an online environment. This is a fantastic learning tool to incorporate into our learning activities with students online and in our classrooms.

They bring with them a lot of positive and negative angles that must be considered along with their implementation. When these factors are managed responsibly and with regularity, the negative aspects can be melted away and allow the positive results of collaboration on group projects that culminate in the sum being greater than the parts.

I really enjoyed exploring the Global Classroom and the great ways that teachers are able to connect and provide collaborative pathways and experiences with content for their students. I’m fascinated by the amount of work that goes into these projects and how rewarding things like this must be for teachers who may work in otherwise abject isolation to become a fellow among peers and make a journey with a colleague and their students in other parts of the country and/or world. And then I stop to think how simple are its origins!  It’s all happening because people in two different locations are contributing and collaborating through a Wikispace!

The second Wiki is that of Wikipedia fame. I actually wrote an entire blog post about how my thoughts are coalescing making me more of a supporter than a detractor. Check out Wikipedia: 7 Things to Respect.

The concept of collaborative, 21st century skills are readily apparent in Wikipedia. Of course it has certain pitfalls that must be avoided, but on the whole I believe in the vision of the organization and how the forward motion is heading toward its realization.

Wrapping one’s mind around the concept of Wikis in general is difficult because they are never the same things twice, but there is also a beautiful and enticing thing let go of the need to be able to describe then in a static state and just submit oneself to joining the experience as one more contributing participant.

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