Looking through the archives, I found a discussion regarding wiki tool evaluations but it was from 2007. I was wondering what people are thinking now, two years down the road. Which wiki development tool has your vote and why?
I'd like to spend some time this summer putting together a wiki for my classroom, but I'd like to choose the best tool. What do you suggest?
My students have done five wikis (using wikispaces) for five different reasons. Maybe it's just me but what I don't like about wikis is that they ALL look the same. Way too much text, without any creativity or artisitic design. Maybe it's just me? You can see the wikis we've done here (scroll down the list). I like our curriculum websites better (also on list).
Making a wiki is easy, doing authentic collaboration and using a wiki for what it was supposed to be used for is hard. A wiki done badly is no better than a Powerpoint slide with ALL text, a hot list of weblinks a mile long with no annotation, or a photo album of a high school graduation with pictures taken from the bleachers and the graduate a quarter inch tall.
I agree. I've had my students on a NING this year and they've done great. But I'd like to instill a bit more of the collaborative research and editing that a wiki can provide. I've heard of teachers doing the same sort of thing using Google Docs, but that would cause too much hassle trying to get around the internet blocking software.
The best wiki my students did was the first one (gifted 6th graders). I had just started researching wikis (2006) and had never set one up. The students were reading a novel called The Wright3 and studying the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. I saw an immediate connections between the novel (fiction) and the research (fact). I got to school the next morning and in 45 minutes I divided the book into chunks, divided the kids into groups. When the kids got there I showed then Wikipedia (I used 'brussel sprouts' and "Super Mario' as my examples) explain the wiki process with emphasis on making the connections between the book and the research they had already done. Six hours later, voila' it was done! They loved it!! The next time they were luke warm. :)
They loved making the connections and linking. Caution: multiple kids cannot save simultaneously---
I recently wrote an article on wikis and their security features for classrooms. To distill, it looked to me like Wikispaces or Wetpaint is the way to go. Wikispaces is giving away private, ad-free classroom wikis at http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers. Wetpaint can also do ad-free and has privacy options, but it doesn't allow users under 13 (may or may not be a problem for you in particular).
I am trying to decide between developing a wiki or a ning and can't decide which would be the best for me to monitor. I don't want my students to get into to much trouble on it. I would like to see what they write and check to see that they are communicating in English about math and science. Any suggestiongs.
You have to be 13 to use ning. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. I've said it before and I'll say it again--with blogs, discussions, friends, messaging, photo and video uploading, I wouldn't use ning for anybody younger than high school. Just too much to monitor and too much for kids to abuse. Do your homework and you'll find your perfect tool.