I have heard about wikis for several years now, and seen some examples of several. I even tried one out for a tech group I was working with several years ago, and I have to say, I was never that impressed. I got that they were very open and versatile, but I never felt they made sense to me, at least, not enough to give up using websites and blogs.

For my wiki field trip, I chose to look at the list of Edublog award winners. Here are the 3 I chose, and my thoughts.

First, I went to the winner of the Best Use of Wikis in Education 2012, English Classroom. OMG. Talk about sensory overload. There is so much visual stimuli on that page, I couldn't decide what to look at first. It was confusing, overwhelming, and I still have no idea what the focus of the wiki is. It seems to be for a Russian class which studies English, and they do a lot of projects, and they are all on this wiki. I flashed back to the homework I did earlier this week for Communication Theory, about cost/benefit ratios. This page has too much cost for not enough benefit. I don't want to take the time to look at it. I would try to limit the amount of stuff on the first page, and figure out a system to organize the material better. I notice that they use several online 2.0 tools like Glogster, and my computer kept asking me to download something. I'm wondering how they managed to win this award?

With some trepidation, I visited site #2, geniushour. I have heard a bit about this program, and was curious. What a difference. the first page is not too cluttered, with minimal graphics (none of which are moving), but the links are easy to navigate. Within a very short time I had found the page for 4th grade classrooms, and was looking around. Organization was a major key here. The list of links to other pages was relatively short, which made it easier to navigate. I had to remind myself not to spend too much time exploring, so I could finish this assignment.

Off to site #3, which I decided would be Web 2.0 Cool Tools for School. Another site for sore eyes (get it?) Again, organization looks very simple, clear and thorough. In fact, I found a great link for my HS media class about Creative Commons. The Web 2.0 tools are grouped into categories, and when you click on a category, another page opens up with a table showing the tool, a link, and a short explanation of what it does. This must have taken a really long time to create, but it looks very useful, as in I'm bookmarking it, betting it will come in handy for this class.

I notice that the pages I am looking at I don't seem to notice the collaborative part of the wiki. I would have to assume that several people work on it together, but even the Web 2.0 site asks you to email them with new links to new tools. I can't just edit it myself. In this way, I don't see a lot of difference between the wiki and a website. There are some cool widgets you can add, but I'm not ready to rush out and redo my websites into wikis.