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Week Three Discussion - Living in a Wiki Reality

posted Feb 5, 2014, 12:36 PM by Dan Boyle
    Let me start this by saying I loved my wikis (Honors and College Prep).  I used it for a couple of years and it was able to house all of my materials for class.  I uploaded PowerPoint presentations, TED Talk videos, assignments, worksheets, anything and everything for my classes.  It was a great spot for me to host everything.  My students had access to it from anywhere and everywhere that could I find an internet connection.  We all still had our blog spaces and were updating those frequently, if not daily or weekly.
    Over the last year or so, however, I have had a change of heart with regard to wikis.  While they are still valuable and a few people that I teach with use them on a daily basis for their classes (A 3rd year teacher in my department, and someone I mentored), I believe that they no longer serve my purpose as much as this website does now.  Yes, the website lacks the interactive back and forth that can be so valuable in a wiki, but it more than makes up for that with the variety of pages that I can have on this site and they portfolio that I can create for myself here.
    As a librarian, the interactive feature of the wiki is its greatest asset.  Lists of titles/authors/subject could be cross-referenced and comments about the title or author could be included and updated as frequently as readers wanted to.  As an elementary school librarian, this could be a class project with the librarian leading students through a variety of ways to post these reviews, from simple text, to a book trailer, to a podcast style "interview" with the main character or the author.  As students get older and no longer have a scheduled library period, it would be more difficult for a wiki to be updated by readers.  They would have to do it on their own time and might only do it if they were reminded to do so.  A high school library might find a wiki not as effective as a website because of this lack of interaction.
    If collaboration is the goal of the library wiki, then there are a number of different Web 2.0 tools that could be used by students to work on a project together or share information about a title or author.  They could start a GoogleDoc and share that address with a teacher/librarian to be updated as students saw fit.  This GoogleDoc could be linked to from the library web page so that a prospective reader could get the information that they needed and decide from there whether or not they wanted to read that title.