This session was presented by Adam Frey, cofounder of Wikispaces and Vicki Davis (aka coolcatteacher) teacher at Westwood Schools.
Adam Frey started the session by explaining about the back channel link for the session. For those of you who don't know, it is a chat room for the participants of a session to speak during the session and ask each other questions. There is a back channel moderator in the room answering questions and writing some down to guide the session as it goes on.
From Adam: What is a wiki? It is a standard webpage where you can go click a button and change the content. Anyone can change the content. The wiki keeps track of who makes the changes and when. If you are a teacher and your kids are making changes to a wiki you can look and see who made the change and when. You can have the wiki email you when any changes have been made or you can follow the changes through an RSS feed.
Benefits of having a wiki: Kids don't have to have email, it's easy and doesn't take a lot of time, you don't have to have special software. You can have a fully open wiki or you can have one private for your classroom. They are fully capable of embedding html code to post videos from You Tube, Teacher Tube or Voicethread. There is no limit to disk space for the number of pages you want or amount of content.
The biggest advantage to using a wiki for a group project is that it is "trackable to the comma". You can look at the history tab and see the contribution of each person. Vicki keeps all of her class wikis private for the students and students aren't introduced to public wikis until 9th grade, such as Wikipedia.
What does she put on the wiki?
Course outline, student files for them to download, project list and due dates, embedded videos, student artifacts, spreadsheets, blog posts, websites used for projects on student portfolios.
Creating efolios for the students to complete in high school and use as resume or job interviews. Business now want your application and information submitted to them digitally.
The biggest change in her practice is using tags with the kids for their assignments. She teaches the kids how to use tags and has them tag their work in the wiki by naming it assignment or turnitin.
Subscribe to the edits and discussions separately that your students are having.
Problems: Watch your RSS feed closely for edits and let the students know that you take online spaces seriously like you take the behavior in your classroom seriously. You have to be tough and watch everything just like you are when you set up rituals and routines in a classroom. Don't use computers to babysit. They need to have a TASK when they get on the computer.
Vicki Davis was asked why use a blog or a wiki? Do they need both? She says: Blogs are for opinion and first person writing. Wikis are for facts, the assignment.
Check out this video for more about wikis:
Live blogged - so please excuse awkward writing. :)