As I read and examined the articles, I originally had no idea why they were referring to Wikipedia as part of the wikis. As a digital Immigrant, I did not realize that Wikipedia was a wiki-based encyclopedia. A wiki is a website that allows everyone to participate in the creation of the site. You can create or edit anything that is on the sites contents. Wikis are continuously under revisions as things are always changing and modifying within the world. The worlds largest and most famous wiki is Wikipedia, which is a collaboration of contributors and editors from online. Anyone can use a wiki and they are very simple to use. People use them for collaborations on projects, while educators like us, would use them to conduct or follow up on courses or developments. It can also be used as a way of communication with parents who have Internet access. Wikis and blogs may seem similar but they are very different. Blogs are where people “post” and “comment” on each others things. However, unlike the wiki, only the author of that post or comment can edit it. A wiki allows anyone the ability to change and modify the information that is posted or modified.
Here is a video that explains Wikis in plain English:
What are the benefits from using a wiki within your school or classroom? Some of the benefits include :
- Connections that students make between new knowledge and old knowledge.
- Allows for creativity and allows students to accept the idea of others being able to edit your work. By teaching this skill, it allows for more collaboration and group projects rather than just individual ones to take place.
- It emphasizes the ideas that creativity pieces are never truly complete. There is always more to add or edit as time goes on.
- Increases involvement and allows everyone to take an active role rather than “wait for their turn” mentality.
- Develops teamwork skills that help them not only in schools but in life as a whole.
- Improves and works with the writing process on an everyday basis in a more interactive and fun way for students. The revision phase that most students have a hard time with especially.
Now that we discussed what a wiki was and what the benefits could be, there was another term that was tossed around a lot within the articles as a whole. The term is Wikibookian. A wikibookian is a user of the wikibooks project. Not being too sure of the whole wiki thing in the first place, I was curious how one became a wikibookian and to my surprise anyone can become one. Everyone has a voice and can state their opinions on a topic as long as it is backed up with research. One of the articles did research based on wikibookians and their statuses. They figured out who they were in terms of age, gender, backgrounds etc. There were many graphs and charts to show us what population makes up majority of the wikibookian community. Here are a few examples: (click on the facts to see the corresponding charts)
- Out of 80 Wikibookians that were surveyed, about 58% were younger than the age of 26 and 83% were under the age of 35. These results made it clear that it is a younger generation that is involved in the Wikis more than the older generation.
- The gender results showed that those writing or coordinating a wiki were typically males.
- Normal book production is normally associated with high education levels, so the study investigated the educational background of the Wikibookians. It became apparent that nearly 40% of the respondents had yet to graduate from any kind of college setting and another 11% just obtained a 2 year college degree.
- Wikibookians were employed mainly by higher education positions making up 29%, but there were other employers that also contributed to these percentages.
- They asked questions about the level of fun, frustration or challenge that their wikibook projects resembled. 94% agreed or strongly agreed that their wikibook was fun. When asked if they were challenging, 75% agreed. When asked if it was frustrating, only one in four strongly agreed with that statement.
- When they were asked how they would explain a wiki to someone else, most referred to it as an online library or a community of writers.
Here is a site that has Educational Wikis for use in the classroom.