This is the second in a series of forum posts asking for feedback on the software and services around the different categories of Classroom 2.0 programs. This time it's wikis. What programs or services do you use? Wikispaces, PBWiki, Wetpaint, Jotspot, or some other?

Which are your favorites and why?
What features are important to you?
(If you're feeling verbose) What are the pros and cons of the programs you've tried?

Hopefully, these discussions will provide an unparalleled reference for new users making choices about what tools to use.

Tags: reviews, wikis

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I use wikispaces. It is quite plain and I really like it that way. The no advertisements for educators reduces distractions for my students. They've updated embedding features and it's easier now. Templates are nice with pbwiki and that would be great if wikispaces could offer something similar. Other great wikispaces features: discussion page on each page created, easy editing, even the messaging system built in. What bothers me: the table feature isn't very easy to manipulate.
I'm new to classroom2.0 and enjoying seeing inside so many classrooms through the forums, etc. on this ning. Thanks for the great network!
Jennifer Barnett
My class wiki
I did collaborate on wikis set on pbwiki or wikispaces. I tend to prefer the ones with formatting conventions over the ones with a wysyg editor because they ensure better consistency in the look and feel of the page (wikispace more than than pbwiki). I like the possibility to add extra modules as well (chat, calendar, etc.)

Because I am familiar with webdevelopment (I put my first pages on the web in the mid 90s), I have a wiki on a personal hosting account. Not really relevant, in the context of this discussion.

What is more relevant is that I have on that wiki nformation about wikis and how to use them to encourage collaborative learning.

A resource particularly worth reading is A Catalog of CoWeb Uses by Guzdial (2000). It provides a *very* long list of activities that can been run on a wiki.
I don't have any experience with wiki services (got our own servers). But from our experience (6 years or so) I think that wiki technology (any tech actually) is not innocent. Depending on what your aims are, different software ought to be considered.

- Embedded wikis in portals (either CMS or LMS): to support small writing activities at University level. Usually pages are not connected. E.g. Moodle+Erfurt, PostNuke+phpwiki, TikiWiki.
- Wikiservers (like Swiki) for for primary schools. They just use it to make pages (mostly presentations / valorizations)
- Mediawikis at both University and High School level: to support writing-to-learn activities. Usually, learners focus in small teams on writing just pages, but do have to connect to others and coordinate a bit. Also used for independant study projects. Students have to contribute to a theme of a wiki that is also used for other purposes (i.e. teaching materials, note taking for research etc.)
- Other but simpler stand-alone wikis (same purpose as above)

What I found is that students and teachers take a long time to understand what hypertext is. Simple to use wikis if you have learners write / fill in pages in a "predefined space". Very hard to to make them understand that wikis are just collections of flat connected pages and that organization is an issue when you enter at some point into "knowledge community" designs etc.
I love using wikispaces. We have been using it in my classroom since Thanksgiving 2006. It is easy to use, ad-free for educators and the support from Adam and his team is excellent.

It has been so useful that it is being used much more widely across our county. I honestly think that this is a gateway application for Web2.0.



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