Wiki


STRENGTHS
I like the 'website' layout of wikis: the author can determine the size of a page, can create subpages etc., whereas blog and Moodle pages can get quite long by the end of the year. A wiki can have a basic front page, with links to each unit, and even key areas within each unit, off to the side (the 'sidebar'). In the example below, there are a few key links that will be used in a number of units, however most of the information is kept off the home page, but is easily accessed from the left sidebar.

DPHIS_wiki_home_page.jpg

A second key strength of wikis is also shown by the above screenshot - the ability to include pictures and screenshots rather than just links to them. This is much more user friendly, and the students have no choice but to view the pictures, whereas I know that they do not open every link that is put onto a Moodle page.

Embedding video is an even better aspect of wikis. Again, better than a link is a video screen:


Teachertubetutorials, How to embed a video on Wikispaces, 5 September 2009, viewed 3 October 2011,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iEAYNV8m-k


Wikis are easy to learn how to construct (I have seen some 'more experienced' teachers learn to construct quite good wikis. One example is
http://6s6t.wikispaces.com/Language+A)

Wiki Projects are awesome. Here's an article I wrote for the Australian College of Educators' Professional Educator journal (July 2012)



WEAKNESSES
Any weaknesses of a wiki (and I admit to really only knowing the Wikispaces platform) are generally omissions attributable to their not being specifically for education. For a true 'wiki' where there are many edits of a page to build information, this needs to be carefully prepared and thought through. No two students can be editing the same page simultaneously within some information being lost (and hence frustration and drama!). Some ways to get around this are to have students work on different pages for a set period of time, and then move onto the next (eg
http://11hism2010-crm.wikispaces.com/) - but this requires 25-30 different but relevant aspects of the unit. Another way is for students to each have their own page, as in the 'experienced teacher' example above, but this runs the risk that other students will never or rarely look at their peers' work, and is not really the 'wiki' spirit, but is just an easy to build and use website.

Compared to Moodle, there are lots of education specific features that are lacking:
  • assignment submission
  • on campus tech support
  • privacy - especially for photos, videos, but also written work (even though editing capabilities are limited, viewing is available for anyone. Moodle is secure within the school)
  • simple course set up, with ability to hide future units, especially with courses being run subsequent to the initial website build.