Sunday, June 03, 2007

Wikis, Wikis Everywhere...

Nancy White is amazing. If you are an adult educator, you must run, not walk to a computer and read her blog. I have a Clustr map on my blog and am very happy that I have had over 600 hits. Nancy's cluster map has over 115,000 hits! In fact - all you can see is red dots representing clusters of hits - she is truly read world-wide, and often. A rare high standard for the rest of us to aspire to.

One of Nancy's recent posts is "Wikis in Plain English" which includes a very good introduction to wikis video done by Lee and Sachi LeFever of CommonCraft. The video is also available on YouTube.

I am a big believer in the power of wikis as collaborative learning tools. I use them in my courses and for my own use as well. They are a great way to get diverse groups of learners to find, share, and explain course material and content. In fact, wikis are a great way to get learners to discover and create course content, weaning them away from the expectation that it is the facilitator's or faculty's job to provide content (I do my best to provide only that content that I think is essential for the learning environment or that which might not be discovered by learners on their own). Once learners get engaged in the wiki process, they find that they are engaged in very powerful learning experiences.

The good thing is that wikis are becoming more and more universal. Wikipedia, of course, is the best known wiki, but there are many others out there that I use on a regular basis. The
Simteach wiki is a great resource for anyone involved in Second Life or other virtual worlds.

Here are some other wikis and wiki resources that I have found useful:

And here is a great article from Educause - "Wide Open Spaces: Wikis, Ready or Not" by Brian Lamb from the University of British Columbia. The article is a great summary of wikis and is also downloadable as a .PDF file. I highly recommend Educause as a source of educational articles and material.

Wikis are here to stay - what I need to do now as an adult educator is to figure out how to best use them to enhance my learners' learning environments (and my own too).

I would love to hear what anyone else has to say about wikis and what you are doing with them. It would also be great to get any wiki-related resources that you would be willing to share...

(Photo - wiki world (draft) by kaurjmeb)


Carolyn said...

Ian, thanks for pulling all this information together. It's a one-stop shop for all things wiki in education ... definitely something to pass along. I can't wait to see what you come up with when you use wikis in the fall.

Nancy White said...

Wow, thanks Ian.

And thanks for the great wiki links. I have a project coming up to think about wiki practices in a particular setting and new ideas are always useful.

Ian H. MacLeod said...

I'm glad that the post is of use - making lists of resources seems to an approach that work for me, and wikis are just such an important learning tool that I couldn't resist making a list of wiki resources. I am sure that I have missed lost of them and hope that more will be added as we go.

As for what will happen this Fall, stay tuned. I plan on telling everyone all about it...