iamliterate - collaboration

Collaboration and Writing

Synchronous - For More - See Below

- Working at the same time on the same document - try Google Docs


- Working at different times or different pages - Wikis may be for you.

What are wikis anyway?

One way to collaborate is to work with an online published space such as a wiki.

The most popular wiki is called Wikipedia.org

Where did they come from?

Find out at - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki

More about Wikis

Ways that you can be involved in wikis

  1. Access, read and search other's wikis
  2. Contribute to an existing wiki such as Wikipedia or WebDot.com
  3. Host your own with own computers such as with Mindtouch.com
  4. Host your own virtually such as with PBWiki.com, Wikispaces.com, jottit.com or zoho.com
  5. (A similar concept is Google Docs where you can actually simultaneously edit the same document.)

Wikispaces offers incredible opportunity to work collaboratively. When this site was first created, I was presenting after another presenter at Simon Fraser University for their TLITE program. While Julia Leong was presenting, I updated this site with the information from her presentation. When I presented, it was a smooth flow between us as I could reference where she left off and where I began. To make it even better, one of the teachers in the audience caught a spelling mistake and fixed it before anyone else realized it was there.

1. Access, read and search other's wikis

Aside from Wikipedia, most wikis are created for specific tasks. This leans to finding them through searching in your area of interest. Sometimes you will be able to google and find a wiki that interests you; however, in my experience, I have found wikis when someone shares their wiki with me. I am sharing my information here on a wiki. While at NECC in Atlanta, several presenters shared their presentations through wikis - encouraging us to contribute and make it better.

Samples - There are now too many samples to list on this page. They have been moved to the samplewikis page.
Also check out the ones in the Wikispaces directory at http://educationalwikis.wikispaces.com/Examples+of+educational+wikis

2. Contribute to existing wikis

You are free to request membership in this space, or even to edit it as a guest. Wikipedia allows anyone in the world to edit the site as well. I created a topic for my passion of Information and Media Literacy. It is true that people can be malicious and remove or alter information;however, Wikipedia will identify a site with a disclaimer if there is conflicting information, poorly formatted information and information without references. While anyone can edit Wikipedia, anyone can also revert the pages to a previous version. The owner of the page does have the ability to block or prevent changes. As an experiment, a teacher in Surrey changed a single word 'a' to 'the' within a day, it was reverted back.

Why contribute to others wikis? We are in a position to be co-creators of knowledge. I freely admit that I do not have all the answers. I think this is a good place to start with our students too. Starting from a place of working together and striving for improvement is what I want to model. This wiki was designed to be a resource for teachers after I have presented AND as a resource for others to do presentations.

Wikis are mostly WYSIWYG with special options for formating similar to HTML coding. This wikispaces has a tool bar to assist in formating text and inserting media. I can use a link command to insert a hyperlink, or type in the full address and it automatically converts it tinyurl.com (http://tinyurl.com)
See additional mark up codes at http://wikispaces.com/wikitext

3 & 4 Hosting a Wiki

Hosting a Wiki allows you to be in control. You can set pages to be private thus only viewable with login or password. You can also set the wiki to open to the public. I have had my wiki for 3 months and no malicious changes at all. It has been fantastic to be able to tweak it on the fly. I am writing this 2 weeks before the CUEBC.ca conference. I will be able to update it and have others update it as the conference gets closer.

To sign up for your wiki - http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers100K

You can get additional support here- http://www.wikispaces.com/help+Teachers

More educational examples




Where can I get help

PB Wiki training video


How can a wiki work in a classroom?

I am an idealist. Anytime you want the class to learn something, it could be done with a wiki. I believe in collaboration and shared knowledge. Much of learning is about the connections we make, not about the facts we remember. Alfie Kohn shared a 10 year test with us at the STA convention in May 2006 - What will they remember 10 years from now? Do we really care about all of the facts of Ancient Egypt for Grade 7's? I believe that teaching them to learn is much more important than learning the facts.

The wiki allows for a shared public writing space. Wouldn't it be great to have the class work together to build the resource for teaching themselves about Ancient Egypt. Instead of students writing the same report each year that you teach Ancient Egypt, why not have the first year build the framework for next year's students. You could have discussion areas, upload photos from a student that has actually been there....

Anything we ask students to write, share, present could be adapted to a wiki. Why not have Grade 5 students share about the human body by talking to parents, or doctors and writing up what they learned from these 'experts'? Why not invite a doctor (or Biology 12 class) to participate in your study of the human body.

If we are not ready for the students to be writing publicly, why not use the wiki as a place to build connections with your parent community. A Kindergarten class could have a wiki (possibly with a tinyurl link) to review what they are learning. So far, my youngest daughter in Kindergarten has been learning about colours (easily a page), lifecycle of plants (upcoming visit to the pumpkin patch could include putting photos up after), making turkey puppets (post the instructions for parents and siblings to try at home), learning letters of the alphabet (parents could upload photos for different letters), each day for show and tell.

Wiki Etiquette


Sample Student created wikis

The Surrey School District in collaboration with November Learning and the Semiamhoo Nation have this wiki - http://www.semiahmooseasonswiki.org/index.php/Main_Page

School writing interactive wiki textbook

A note about accuracy of Wikis and Wikipedia

Wikis are as accurate as the contributors. My wiki is accurate to my knowledge. If I make a mistake - feel free to correct it.
Wikipedia is as accurate as most encyclopedias. (One example is relating to science articles. 123 errors in Encyclopedia Britanica written by 'experts', to 160 in Wikipedia - written by the public)

More information on the accuracy of Wikipedia
http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/12/15/1352207&from=rss - Wikipedia articles are longer so will naturally have more room for errors.

A note about the size and value of Wikis and Wikipedia

Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia source. It is the most up to date.
Check out the following information

Google Docs

Google has many tools available to support the inquiry and collaborative process.