The common usage of the word “wiki” comes from the Hawai’ian word “wiki wiki” meaning quick (Agir, 2014). The first wiki was created in 1994 by Ward Cunningham, who called his project Wikiwikiweb (Beutler Ink, 6 April 2014). Wikis are distinct from blogs in that a wiki is edited by multiple authors, whereas a blog typically has only one author. A wiki is well suited for collaboration among a group of people.
Wikis in Education
My impression is that wikis are not as widely used in education as blogs are. However, wikis might be the wave of the future. Teachers First (2016) suggests various uses for wikis within education, such as study guides made by groups of students, vocabulary lists and examples, artifacts from research projects, and a travelogue from a field trip. These uses seem to be geared towards a grade school audience. However, Richeson (24 February 2010) reported the use of a wiki to create a homework “solutions manual” within a university mathematics course. I believe that wikis offer many opportunities for collaboration among students in the classroom.
Wikis in Corporate Training
Wikis can also be used in a corporate training environment. For example, Malamed (2016) suggests using wikis to host frequently asked questions, to create a knowledge base related to a specific topic, or to provide technical help for customers. I can see a similar use within my work team. We have recently implemented a new Learning Management System (LMS) and the members of our team are using it with various levels of success. We could create a wiki and use it to post procedures and tips and tricks for working with the new LMS. This type of wiki usage seems to be me to be most suited to informal learning. You could implement a wiki in a formal training environment, but that might not be as successful. For example, in the study of wikis used within formal corporate training that Leino, Tanhua-Piiroinen, and Sommers-Piiroinen (2012) conducted, participants reported the wiki requirement as feeling like a chore. I believe the nature of a wiki lends itself better in a corporate training environment to informal use by members of a team to gather and retain knowledge.
Wiki Tools – Wikispaces
As with blogs, many online wiki tools are available. The one I have chosen to feature here is Wikispaces. Wikispaces offers free wikis to educators and for a fee to businesses, with the fee increasing according to the amount of workspace that is required. I will explain how to create a free Wikispaces site for education.
- Go to http://www.wikispaces.com/.
- Click on Education to create a free education wiki.
- Wikispaces refers to an education wiki on their site as a classroom. Click on Create a Free Classroom Now.
- Enter a name for the wiki. This will become the first portion of the URL to your wiki.
- Select your country and educational institution.
- Specify the subject you are teaching (optional).
- Select the grade level of your course (optional).
- Check the box to certify that you are using the course for education.
- Click Create.
Your site is created.
- Click the down error and select Edit to change the welcome message.
- Edit the welcome message and click Save.
- To create a new page on the wiki, click the Page icon.
- Specify a name for the page and tags to categorize the content of the page.
- Click Create. You are taken to the new page where you can add the page content.
- To add members to your wiki, click the Members button.
- If the people you are inviting to your wiki already have a Wikispaces account, click the Invite People button to send email invitations to the people who you want to join your wiki.
- Enter the email addresses of the people you want to invite and click Send.
- If the people you are inviting to your wiki don’t have a Wikispaces account, click the Create Code button.
- The system generates a code. Send this code to the people you want to invite.
To Join the Wiki
- The person who receives the code should go to the URL for your wiki and then click the Join button.
- Enter a username and password of your choosing.
- Enter your email address.
- Enter the Join code that you received from the wiki creator.
- Click Join.
The wiki opens and you can edit just as the wiki creator can.
Learn More about Wikis and Wikispaces
The steps I have provided above will just get you started with a Wikispaces wiki. To find out more about Wikispaces, I recommend the following sources:
- Wikispaces offers online support. You can find at http://helpcenter.wikispaces.com/
- This YouTube video is slightly dated, but provides good information about Wikispaces classroom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJjT–hbbhc
- A good book about using a wiki is The Complete Guide to Wikis: How to Set Up, Use, and Benefit from Wikis for Teachers, Business Professionals, Families, and Friends by T. Brian Chatfield. This book is available for purchase on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Guide-Wikis-Teachers-Professionals/dp/1601383193/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477762159&sr=8-1&keywords=wikispaces.
Agir, A. (2014). What are the usage conditions of web 2.0 tools faculty of education students?. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 15(3), 171-196.
Beutler Ink. (6 April 2014). Wiki: A word’s journey. Retrieved from http://elearninginfographics.com/the-wiki-journey-infographic/
Leino, J., Tanhua-Piiroinen, E., & Sommers-Piiroinen, J. (2012). Adding social media to e-learning in the workplace: Instilling interactive learning culture. International Journal of Advanced Corporate Learning, 5(3), 18-25. doi:10.3991/ijac.v5i3.2183
Malamed, C. (2016). Using wikis for learning and collaboration. Retrieved from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning2-0/using-wikis-for-elearning/
Richeson, D. (24 February 2010). Using wikis in mathematics classes. Retrieved from https://divisbyzero.com/2010/02/24/using-wikis-in-mathematics-classes/
Teachers First. (2016). Wiki ideas for the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.teachersfirst.com/content/wiki/wikiideas1.cfm