Wikis in the Real World

In their book Wikinomics, Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams do a great job of showing how the wiki concept of mass collaboration is increasingly being used by mainstream business, government, and organizations.

Newsweek extends on the same theme with a story about how the United Nations is using wiki software to “help staff in 80 countries share information and reach consensus with less deliberation and more speed”.

The article also spotlights WikiCentral, a site that IBM uses to connect 100,000 employees, and governmental use of the software in Germany, Canada and other countries.

Ok, so it’s pretty well established that wikis are fast becoming a standard tool in the real world.

But what about teaching students to use these powerful tools for their collaborative projects?

Carolyn asks some other good questions along the same line.

As these tools move into the mainstream, how can schools still be blocking blog sites or wiki sites from student use? Will we really be preparing our students for the world they live in outside of school, the workplace, or future where information is “transparent” if we don’t allow them to utilize them as part of the learning process?

[Side note to the IT folks in our overly-large school district: that underpowered “wiki” tool you’ve bought for us, with no search capability, a lousy interface, and extremely limited access, doesn’t count.]

education, wiki, web 2.0

1 Comments Wikis in the Real World

  1. diane

    Tm, I’m hoping to blog with my Current Events class this school year. Administration has indicated that my students will “probably” be able to have school e-mail accounts; if so, they’ll be the only kids in the school to have them.

    I haven’t yet been able to use a district computer to access the PBwiki I’m constructing. Last year I was able to use del.ici.ous and Google Reader at school but not flickr. I believe YouTube was available (at least, the kids knew how to get into it!). Our district technologist can unblock sites, so these tools may be available – I just want to know what’s what before I get my students all pumped up about tech-enable projects.

    I bought an MP3 player to experiment with podcasts (I’m not risking my iPod!); audio might be easier to incorporate than video. I hope to impress on the kids that we will be exploring and learning together. If an “older than dirt” lady like me can begin blogging, imagine what they might create!


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