What is a wiki? #1a

In order to begin my expertise on wikis for postsecondary vocational (PSV) students, I need to determine the definition and characteristics of a wiki.  Exploring any new concept requires (at least for me) a basic understanding and a foundation from which to base additional questions and paths of discovery.   Why not turn to wikipedia as a starting point?!

Wikipedia’s inclusion of wiki is a great example of a wiki itself, with its abundance of related hyperlinks (which provide additional resources) both within and external to the Wikipedia site.  Much of the article is a bit more technical than application in orientation, but there is the basic meaning:  “a type of website that allows users to add and edit content easily” in a collaborative manner.   One can even change the content of this wiki page – according to my retrieval, the wiki page was modified today, 3/13/06 at 10:49 and clicking on the ‘History’ tab, a user (Musical Linguist) made a minor edit.

So, who monitors wikipedia or any other wiki for accuracy of content?  How did these wikis get started in education?  With such openness and potential for vandalism, how do you control (or do you?) the content editing?  How would this type of collaboration help students learn?  Why would a wiki work for PSV students – would the concept work better with some programs or with some teachers?

I look forward to pursuing the answers to these questions (and undoubtedly additional ones) over the next six of weeks.  For this week, I’ll continue to explore the characteristics, examples and foundations of the meaning of wiki – moving toward their use in an educational context.

Wiki. (March 13, 2006). Wikipedia.  Retrieved March 13, 2006 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki


At 3:21 PM, Blogger Rick Ferdig said...

I like the switch of topics, Marie. It will allow you to explore some of your pedagogic goals. Then, when you're done, you'll be able to say...how could wireless impact this? Great job.

At 10:15 PM, Blogger Julie Romey said...

Your topic is near and dear to my heart. I love having these groups because I get to learn about three topics in addition to mine by reading everyone else's blogs. I am embarassed to say that I only recently discovered wikipedia and fell in love with it. However, I have a big concern as to the validity of the information. I showed it to my students one day, and mentioned the fact that it could be edited. Of course this meant that one of them had to go and delete an entire article on The Trail of Tears and replace it with some random teenage comment. Luckily it didn't stay on there. But it made me wonder (just like you did in your post) ... who monitors it and can we trust it? For now I just have my students use it as a starting point on a topic. I have them go there to get ideas of other terms and concepets to research. They then go to sites that I feel may be more reliable to do further research. There are several teachers in our school who refuse to let kids use wikipedia - they say that it is garbage and should be taken off the Internet! Ouch!


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