Wikis are Web sites that can be quickly updated. Ward Cunningham first used the term “wiki” between 1994 and 1995. Cunningham borrowed the term from the Hawaiian word wiki, which means "quick." His "WikiWikiWeb" became a tool for individuals to collaborate on documents by simply clicking an "edit" button on a Web page and changing the content without knowing HTML or how to transfer documents between computers on a network. Wikis follow a document-based model, where each page (however long), is part of a complete site.
Wikis complement the Read/Write Web. Using wikis does not require technical knowledge, and content online can be authored completely within a Web browser without any additional applications or knowledge of coding. Wiki software lives on the Web server and the content is stored in a database.
A wiki site can be a profoundly productive component in the work of any organization that has ready access to computers. Many open source software projects today rely on wikis for contributors and users of free software to co-write information and/or documentation.
Different wiki servers offer different capabilities and features, but most wikis are defined by several key characteristics. The overriding principal of each one is that content can be updated by anyone, quickly and easily.
Traditionally, wikis host documents on a Web server which not only can be read by anyone, they can be edited by anyone. This is the same idea given to Wikipedia. On Wikipedia you can search for an article on any topic, read it, and if you have something to add, you can click “Edit” and make changes.
For those of you who disagree with using Wikipedia or having students use Wikipedia here is a side note:
While the accuracy of every article on Wikipedia is not pristine, might we alter our concept of an encyclopedia? A comparison of scientific articles between Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica appeared in Nature (Giles, 2005) and showed the accuracy of the two sources at roughly equal levels. (Among 42 science entries tested, the average science entry in Wikipedia contained approximately four inaccuracies; Britannica, approximately three.) Wikipedia, then, and the sites that will follow its lead, may offer us both greater breadth and depth than traditional sources.
Wiki documents, or articles, are composed in some form of “wiki-text,” a formatting syntax that controls the look of the text (boldface, italics, etc.) and provides links to other Web sites and wiki pages. Editing a wiki page is much simpler than using HTML, but it does include using some formatting symbols to structure text when displayed on the wiki pages.
One of the most engaging features of a wiki is having the ability to manipulate a Web site so easily. Think of a wiki like a book we can all share in reading but we can make corrections, add new pages, and make new links between the pages. Most wikis allow uploading of external files, such as documents from word processing programs and PDFs; additionally, they include the ability to utilize multimedia files such as graphics, audio, and video.
Many wikis have a history feature, which ensures that bad edits to documents contained within the wiki can be “rolled back” to an earlier version. Wikis can save every document version ever made. If you want to track users on your wiki system each change in a wiki document will show when changes were made and by whom. This is a great feature to use when having students work in groups or participate in discussions.
Wikis are powerful editing tools for building documentation, establishing an electronic curriculum, organizing meetings, recording school board events, and collaborating on a variety of projects that require input from a variety of people. Imagine teachers sharing study guides, lesson plans, and resource documents via a wiki. Teachers across halls and across districts can augment original documents, projects and information.
The best thing about using a wiki is whenever administrators, teachers or students need to share access to information quickly, and share responsibility for creating and updating information wikis are the best and easiest tool to use.
Keep in mind Wikis, like the Web, are always “under construction.” My experience in using wikis as an educator has shown that the contribution of many versus one is sometimes messy, but it is often more enlightening and valuable. Preparing students for a world that offers so much information so easily is a great reason to use wikis in the classroom.

Wikispaces Shared Group Project

This assignment will be best accomplished if the different wikis were explored and the reading was completed. Additionally, the best way to complete this assignment is for one of you to be the group leader and the others join your wiki.
Make sure the group leader types all group names on the shared wiki. All group memebers should contribute to answering the questions below.
In your discussion group explain each wiki and the difference between them, which wiki would be best used for a classroom setting and why.
What is a wiki? a tool for individuals to collaborate on documents
Why a wiki? wikis host documents on a Web server which not only can be read by anyone, they can be edited by anyone.
Based on the reading and your surfing of wikis how may a Wiki be used as technology for communication?
Examine wikis
There are several wikis to choose from below are just a few listed. You will need to Google each one to find the web pages explaining them.
  • PmWiki
  • Media Wiki
  • Instiki
  • WetPaint
  • PBwiki (Peanut Butter Wiki)
  • Wikispaces
Based on your surfing of the above wikis answer the following quesitons
  1. Describe the elements of the wiki.
  2. What do you like about the wiki?
  3. What are the pros and cons associated with wikis?
  4. How can wikis be used in the classroom and change a classroom?
  5. Describe what it takes to manage a wiki
I mentioned in the reading that wikis are the best and easiest tool to use do you agree or disagree explain the reason why.
Review the following wikis. These are the ones I have provided. As a group find one other wiki that would be a good wiki to use in the classroom OR find a good wiki site already developed that teachers are using. Post the wikis on the group leaders wiki page.
Best Educational Wikis
Educational Wikis
Mrs. Maine
WikiWiki Teaching
As a group explain how you all would use a wiki for the classroom please be detailed.

1. The wiki is a tool that has been developed to let anyone anywhere create and modify web content without any previous computer programing experience. Unlike HTML or Linix where the person creating or inputing the information must be knowledgeable in the language of the system that they are using, wiki allows users to edit wiki spaces in plain text and with the click of a button. Wiki is a self edit system that users input their information that is then subject to the edits of any other user that goes on that page. There are several ways in which a wiki can be set up, for example there is the Pmwiki that is based on the "principle of the PmWikiPhilosophy is to only include essential features in the core engine, but make it easy for administrators to customize and add new markup", ( and there is the Pbwiki which shares the same functions of the basic wiki but is supposed to be so easy to navigate and operates on a freemium basis (basic features are free and premium features are to be paid for). ( From the information that I found, it seemed as if the last three wiki's were more for educators and to use with classes. Wikis include the input of those who use the site for the betterment of all its users.
2. To me the wiki is a way to have experts and novice alike shape a subject in content and feeling in a non confrontational way. A wiki takes the opinions of anyone who wants to edit it and pairs it with the knowledge of field experts. I could see this in a classroom setting where the teacher gives a subject and groups of students then can shape a wiki into a web based answer.I like the fact that wikis give many points of view on a subject and allows for changes to occur as new information is found or as the information included earlier becomes obsolete.
3. The pros and cons of the wiki come in the basic set up, allowing anyone to edit the information. You could put the example of define Pte. Obama's contribution to america. You would get fact mixed with emotion from all sides of the political spectrum. On the other hand you can have people defining D day in world war II and in that you could get input from those that were actually there, that to me is priceless information that could most easily be put onto a wiki because of the open access. I feel that the biggest pro of the wiki is the wide spectrum of knowledge that can be tapped and shared by the members. On the other side of the coin, it's that open forum that invites anyone with an opinion to voice it here and can lead to the addition of less than reliable information be offered as truth.
4. Wiki's have the ability to allow the students to put as much or as little input into a page that is all about what they think, know and feel. It is a way for a teacher to see exactly what the contributions from each individual are. It also allows the parents to do the same so therefore they can feel more included in what their child is doing and learning.
5. To manage a wiki is fairly simple, the manager can determine if they like the current changes or if they want to revert to a previous post, thus eliminating content that they feel does not belong in their space. Choices in management styles depend on the type of set up. Managers can set up wikis that allow certain groups or individuals(pmwiki's) to edit content or they can allow only those who have passwords to edit content. All of these choices are left to the wiki manager thus giving them some control of the content on the wiki that they create.
Yes I do believe that they are the easiest to use because of their open edit ability. Whether or not they are the best is not something that I can really determine because of my limited experience on the other major systems. (facebook, twitter, etc.)