One of the big buzz words of that last year or two has been "Wiki", but I know there’s still quite a bit of confusion about what one is or how one uses it. Since we just posted one for keeping track of what the DEN is doing at conferences, I thought this would be a good time to say a few words about one of my favorite wiki-sites, PBWiki.
A wiki is basically a website that has an "Edit" button right there on the page. For most wiki’s, anybody that comes along can click edit and then add or delete things from the website. While that may sound a little chaotic, it can be incredibly useful for group projects.
In our case, we wanted to create a way that people could sign up to hang out in the Discovery Booth at the Illinois state technology conference (IL-TCE) (password for the wki is ‘discovery’), as well as to share what opportunities there were to meet up with other DEN members and who was presenting when. If I had set up a traditional web page, everybody would have to keep emailing me the information. Then I would make the changes, save them and upload them to the web server. By having the information on a wiki, people can just do it themselves. It’s very empowering.
There are hundreds of ways to create wikis, but one of my favorites is PBWiki. The reason I like this one so much is that it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s free and they’re really dedicated to education. In fact, when you click "New Page", the choices all revolve around the classroom environment.
A few other things I like about PBWiki… By default, their wikis are password protected, so you don’t need to worry about wiki spam (yes, spam permeates everything). Also, they have the option to save your wiki as a PDF so you can print it out. Very few wiki engines have that feature yet, so that’s a big bonus. You can also attach files to your wiki, although you only get 10mb with the free version.
If you haven’t tried your hand at Wikis yet, it’s a great place to start.