Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wikis Dying? Not Likely

I had a great day at Edublogercon. I love the format. As a newb, I've known about it since the first one, but I'm as fresh as a daisy this year.

The original title of this blog was going to be "The Fan Boi Stuff Has to Stop". I sat on the post for a night and then thought about changing my title. Here is what I originally wrote. I left it here because part of me still feels very strongly about the topic of wikis in the classroom:

My favourite quote from the event was that we are not to be in awe of anyone. It was commented we should not feel intimidated or fearful to go up to talk to any of those who we admire so much because of their contributions to education and ed blogging. This is awesome!

Then I went to the "Are wikis dying session".

I voted with my feet on this one. After a few minutes I found that there was this Wikispaces fan boi-ism that was going on. Before I go any further, let it be said, I could be seen as a hypocrite here because of my own fan boi tendencies. I do have an Apple tattoo after all.

So there it is. My first impression of the session was that it was a bunch of people who were sucking up to the Wikispaces founders. And partially it was. It appeared to be a shameless opportunity for Wikispaces to do some market research and plug their product. And why didn't people say this is what sucks about wikis? Why didn't anyone mention pbworks or other wiki prodivers? Maybe I should have stayed longer. But you have to look on the bright side of things, right?

Positive discussions ensued about the process of introducing other peers to wikis and their uses. One person hit the nail on the head by mentioning that we might even have more success with wikis with newbs in schools if we show them Google Apps first. I agree with this entirely. There are few better ways to introduce a rookie to web tools than Google Apps.

Perhaps my favourite comment was from Jeff Utecht who said " A wiki with four attachments is just a web page with links. A wiki is about allowing people to collaborate and create content around a specific purpose or idea." Go read his blog about wikis. I have often fallen into the trap of saying I'm using a wiki for my classes, but in reality it's just a way to disseminate information and links to my students. I will be very mindful of this now because of this session.

Are wikis dying? No, I think they are still one of the most flexible web tools that we have at our disposal today. I will continue to use them as a communication tool and as a tool for student learning.

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