What is a Wiki? (A Brief Introduction)

(Skip this page if you already know, and go on to Why a Wiki? )

Wiki is a Hawaiian word meaning "quick," and that is what a wiki is - a quick web page. It can be constructed without knowledge of code or softward programming, using widgets to insert video and other media, and creating links to other web-based information. Another key feature of a wiki is that it allows many people to use and collaborate on a website. Some wikis are open to the public (such as Wikipedia), while others are restricted to invited users only.

For a quick, basic understanding of a wiki take a look at this short video:

video by http://www.commoncraft.com/ available at http://youtu.be/-dnL00TdmLY

Imagine that video, only instead of camping, the group is a group of teachers creating a unit around an essential question. Teachers upload artifacts, videos, links, lessons, collaborating along the way. The wiki technology is perfectly suited for the learning challenge at hand for a number of reasons. A wiki
  • is flexible
  • is accessible anywhere the Internet is accessible
  • creates a place for collaboration
  • allows for work to build on other work done before
  • allows for experts in various aspects of curriculum to emerge - scaffolds for those who don't have the same knowledge base
  • allows for reflection on professional work - group and individual
  • allows for multimedia
  • stores history - institutional memory
  • allows teachers to participate when they have time
  • stores "training" material

On subsequent pages you will find a more in-depth explanation of the TUHSD learning needs, and why and how the wiki is a solution to meet that need based on Adult learning theory. You will also find the challenges a wiki poses for this learning situation.