Along side the blog migration for Glow I’ve been working on the wiki procurement. Wikis were part of the services added to Glow in 2010 (AFAIR) along with blogs and forums. When it came to think about the new services and migration wiki migration was not in the plans and wikis were not on the map of new services.
The previous wiki solution was not particularly well used, around 4000 wikis were created over the projects lifetime (compare to >130,000 blogs). The software behind the wikis was mindtouch. This is now discontinued and I believe missed a few features that make wikis useful in the classroom. These included nice themes and a simple workflow for uploading and embedding images.
It was decided to look at the possibilities for continuing to have wikis as part of the glow offering. This might seem counter intuitive as O365 sharepoint sites can be though of as Wikis and certainly have wiki pages as part of sites. I think a separate wiki offers a simpler way of building on the internet and it is also important to have the facility to make a wiki public in some instances.
Personally I’ve had enough success with children publishing publicly on the internet that that would be my default position. Other teachers and educators may prefer closed environments and glow can provide for both.
As part of the process of provisioning wikis we evaluated many different solutions, wikispaces stood out as the best fit for our needs1. Wikispaces was also mentioned frequently by the folk who responded to our wiki survey. No other product was mentioned favourably.
As part of procurement three different vendors were invited to tender and their tenders evaluated against a set of requirements. Wikispaces were the best fit and their tender has been accepted.
It has been a while since I used wikispaces in the classroom but it looks like they have added a lot of classroom specific features to the service without over complicating the process. I am not exactly sure of how the wikis will connect up to glow but look forward to working on that development in the coming weeks.
I had a brief look through my bookmarks for interesting wikis which might give you an idea of how to use one:
- Midsummer Dreaming
- A Broken World
- Best Educational Wikis of 2010
As always I’d be interested to see how learners and teachers in Scotland are or would use wikispaces.
1. Personally I like wikitext and enjoyed using wikis that are not WYSIWYG but I think I am in a minority on that one.