What I Know Is (WIKI)

Native of Hawaii?

Well, no not really but I did find out that the Term Wiki comes from WikiWiki Shuttle Bus at Honolulu Airport. WikiWiki in Hawaiin means quick. Therefore Ward Cunningham who posted the first Wiki called it a QuickWeb.

Friend or Foe?

Many educators sing the praises of Wiki’s in education and it’s powerful contributions, while others are skeptical because of its ability to be easily vandalized. So is a Wiki a Friend or Foe? Let’s take a closer look.

Foe

  • Back when I was in High School kids called in Bomb Threats or did all their terrorizing of minorities out in the open. Now kids are turning to sites like Wikipedia to do their dirty work. According to the LA Times students at Wilson High School had been making threats of violence and racial slurs against Asian students for more than a year on the popular Wikipedia site. An arrest was made after Wikipedia staffers notified the schools of the activity online.
  • Vandalism – Take a look at the following picture.  What do you think is that Hulk Hogan?

No Way! It’s former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. This is taken from Wikipedia and you can clearly see that someone has vandalized it by adding a picture that is not accurate. While this may seem minor, I want you to remember that this is a VERY MINOR CASE of Vandalism.

Friend

  • According the New York Times Wiki’s are have shown the ability to reduce emails drastically with continued use.
  • Wiki’s are great tools for helping to coordinate an event amoung several users simualtaniously. It has also been shown to work great for two individuals are looking to collaborate with each other to co-author a project or a book. Large Corporations have been using wiki’s for the past few years to coordinate projects, meetings, and other work related tasks and information. Why even the CIA has unveiled it’s own Wiki. The Intellipedia has a similar setup to Wikipedia but is a secure platform of knowledge contained in Blogs, Wiki’s, Social Bookmarks, and other Web 2.0 Tools.
  • Wikipedia – Wikipedia is considered the world’s largest online dictionary where a wealth of knowledge is stored. The content is added by its users. Much of the content is monitored to a degree but as in the earlier cases in the Foe section is not always caught right away.
  • Educational Wiki’s – The Washington Post mentioned the blending of curriculum and wiki for the Curriki. The Curriki is a wiki that is a place for teachers to build curricula for grades K-12. Unfortunately this is not something that we see in the foreseeable future the Department of Education adopting.

You Decide

As with any new technology there are always going to be skeptics and those who sing its praises. It’s up to the individual to decide based on how they plan on using the device and how it best meets their needs.

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BLOG? What’s that?!?

Nowadays, we here the word Blog everywhere. Kids and adults alike are using it in everyday conversation. So just what is a BLOG? Let’s start by watching a quick video from CommonCraft that Describes Blogs In Plain English.

Blogs in Plain English Video

A Blog as defined by Wikipedia is a shortened form of the words Web Log. It is typically a website that is hosted by an user who posts regular entries that provide a type of commentary. The Blogs we see now have evolved from the first online diary. Justin Hall, Jerry Pournelle, Dave Winer are a few of the earliest bloggers. The word Blog itself is attributed by some to Peter Merholz who broke Web Log up as We Blog in his sidebars.

Some popular blogging sites are:

  • Live Journal – LiveJournal or LJ for Short is an online journaling community. The key focus is on the idea of community. Many members create and join communities that share similar interests and ideas. Explore more about LJ and take a quick tour. After speaking with an LJ user who will remain anonymous I learned more about why they enjoy it so much. They noted that LJ like all Blogging sites out there is just as easy to post on, however it has the capability to be fully and completely customizable. Many users network, access sites such as meetup.com, and arrange LJ Meetups. The LJ user stressed that you are truly part of a community not just out on your own like other Blogging Sites.
  • Blogger – Blogger was developed by Google and is advertised as a simple website that allows you to quickly post your thoughts in an easy to use format. Take a Quick Tour to learn more about Blogger. I have used Blogger to post information about my upcoming wedding for guests, but I spoke to a friend of mine who has a Blogger about her pregnancy. Carrie L. is a 1st grade teacher who had used Blogs throughout her Graduate School but hasn’t used one as a classroom teacher. When she got pregnant she decided to begin using the blogger so that she could share her pregnancy with family and friends. Carrie notes that it was simple and easy to do. She liked the features that allow her to add pictures, videos, and polls for viewers. Click here to view her Baby Smick Blog.
  • Edublogs Edublogs is a website designed for Teachers and Students to use. What I love about Edublogs is that all comments are moderated by the owner. I also like the ease of integrating and embedding video, pictures, and other digital media. I checked in with David Robb, a technology teacher from Bellows Spring Elementary. David’s TechnoCheetah blog uses Edublogs because it is the approved blogging site for his school district. He mentioned that it is very easy to use but even when he has trouble he is able to access help forums that provide him with answers such as The Edublogger. His favorite feature is ClusterMaps Widget. He says it is satisfying to see visitors from all over the world even through his target audience is his school community. David also loves to get comments!
  • WordPress – WordPress is a website that provides an easy way for people to publish on the web. Click here for more information on features that set them apart.

So how do you decide what blog is best for you? That seems like another daunting task. Are they really as simple as they seem? Before you begin your blog ask yourself:

  • Who is my intended audience?
  • What is the purpose of the blog?
  • What do I plan on Blogging about?

I found a few sites that provide more detailed Tips for the beginning blogger such as: About.com: Web Logs and How to Blog for Fun and Profit.

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