Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's in a Wiki?

My evaluation of these wiki’s is based on Vicki Davis’ components of an effective wiki.   This first wiki I’d like to introduce is this third grade wiki  First of all, there doesn’t appear to be much of a collaborative effort as there is only one real writer.  Maybe as the year progresses there will be more but as of now there is only one.  What this wiki adds in visual appeal is taken away by its lack of organization.  I found myself wandering around unable to really follow any logical order.    There are tons of hyperlinks but many of them are not good ones and when you get to the link, you have to try to figure out what to do there.  It’s not real affective in my opinion.  The wording used to explain the contents does not make it easier to navigate and I found several typing errors.  I really think the wiki should be more organized and easier to follow.  There are quite a few new tools introduced but without guidance, I could see parents and students having difficulty figuring out how to use the links.  I do like to see the student work but it lacks an explanation of what the assignments entailed.  
The second wiki I’d like to introduce is this fifth grade wiki.  All of Vicki Davis’ components of an effective wiki are in place here.  It has elements of collaboration, it is visually appealing, (easy to pick out the school mascot) it is very well organized and includes links to activities and also has interactive multisensory tools on the same page.  It is very original in content and leaves the viewer not only willing but anxious to look at the whole site.  I like the links to her reading and writing workshop pages.  I can see that her students are members of her wiki. 
I think the point of using a wiki in the classroom is the component of collaboration.  It causes the members to become interactive rather than being viewers and consumers.  It increases involvement and allows students to take part in the whole makeup of the site.  Wikis give students a voice and the ability to share insights and information.  Through the sharing of insights and information they are able to observe results and reactions thus giving them the opportunity to transfer meaning to new situations.


  1. Lack of organization seems to be a common issue with Wiki's. There have been several that I have looked at that it took a lot of time to really figure out where everything was and what the page was really for. I hope to keep my Wiki pages as basic as I can so the students can quickly access what they need without the hassle.

  2. In my search I also found many wikis to be used by one writer instead of collaborators. I don't know that there is a simple answer as to why... perhaps lack of understanding of a wiki or the effort that goes into educating about how to utilize it for collaboration?

  3. Definitely agree with you on the lack of organization on the 3rd grade wiki. One thing that is recommended as "good practice" is preventing the reader from having to scroll in any direction. It may have been easier to include more links in the navigation rather than extending the page further. Thankfully you were able to see a more organized wiki in the 5th grade example.