Welcome in! Wikis vs. blogs

This post is in answer to the 30 goals challenge for educators. You can  see my answer to the previous goal here.

“There is no persuasiveness more effectual than the transparency of a single heart, of a sincere life.”

by Joseph Barber Lightfoot

I love opening my classroom doors virtually, as I believe it makes parents realise the great amount of things that are taking place in the classroom. It encourages them to spend more time with their kids, and talk about what’s going on at school. Apart from that, it makes them feel more respectful and take my work more seriously. In addition to that (yeah, there’s more to add =)), it provides me with lots of new ideas and motivation from the members of my PLN. They always give me  good feedback and push me and motivate me to continue working hard (that’s why I love learning collaboratively, remember?).

Up to not so long ago, I have always used class blogs to share my students’ work. First, two years ago, I started a class blog in response to my 6th grade students’ need to improve their writing. Last year, with my 5th grade students’ blog, the aim was different. The blog was created to post their productions related to our project about animals.

By the end of the year, after attending one of @shellterrell’s workshop about wikis, I started to see the benefits of using them. I have never paid much attention to wikis before and was not really interested in the topic. However, Shelly made us realise that wikis are more collaborative in nature than blogs are, and as it is a hyperlinked collection of individual pages you can decide the order in which you present the information. It is not presented, by default, in reverse chronological order as blogs do. This made me become aware that my class blog: Into the Wild would have been better presented in a wiki. It would have been more visual and easier to navigate. (Here you can find more information about the differences between blogs and wikis)

Wikis are very easy to create. If you can word process, you can use a wiki. This, plus, Shelly sharing her own wikis, really motivated me to create my own. I gave wikis a very little try with my second grade students, and I just loved the experience. So, I’m planning to use them more this year. My colleagues have also become interested in them, and have asked me to teach them how to create their own. It is the first time that some of them have shown an interest in teaching with technology.  For that reason, this has been a trully inspirational workshop not only for me, but also indirectly for my colleagues. It has had a true ripple effect.

Posted on February 10, 2011, in Reflections on Tefl/tesl, web 20 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I wish people (see Google Doc linked to) should STOP saying things like the following:

    BLOGS: Authors=Usually only one person or a small team can post. Each post is one author’s voice. Others can only leave comments.

    WIKIS Authors=Many. Most wikis allow either anonymous editing or editing by a limited number of approved users.

    That is simply NOT true. You can have all the members of your class post on a blog, like 12, 25, 30, however many you teach.

    Would you want to have so many people? Possibly. Would it become a bit chaotic? Yes.

    But wouldn’t a wiki with 30 contributors get chaotic? Wikis in my experience in fact work best with either FEW (5-6) contributors, or else in small groups (3-5) each working on their OWN pages.

  2. Hi Sabrina,

    I set up a wiki for a group of six-year-olds that I am teaching. We are not using a course book but I have developed the syllabus specifically for them so I thought it would be a good idea to create a page where the parents could see what kind of work we are doing and watch some of the videos and songs we have been looking at. I often create Glogs which I then embed on the wiki on the topic that include vocabulary and structures we have been learning. Our wiki is private and the parents each have a password to access the site, mainly for privacy reasons as this would allow me to post photos and videos of the children. What I like most about a wiki (as opposed to a blog) is that you can order the pages as you wish – in topics for example – making everything easier to find. I would like the parents to collaborate more in their child’s learning, and this is possible with a wiki.

    I’d love to see your class wikis – unfortunately I can’t share mine as it’s private!

    • Hi Michelle! Long time no see! Holidays still here in Argentina, so I’m finding it quite difficult to get back to work. Thanks for passing by and sharing your experience. I would love to see your wiki, because I’m sure it would give me lots of new ideas and inspiration. However, I understand your concerns about privacy. It is an important issue to take into account as we are dealing with children. Maybe, you can share some of the things you post in the wiki (the ones in which your students are not involved directly) in your blog and explain to us why you post it in your wiki and how you use it there, you may also share your students’ reactions to it… well, just some ideas. Thanks for passing by. Lots of kisses and hugs from Argentina. I will share my wikis soon when the academic year start.

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