Task 1- Establish a wiki using Wikispaces with a page or each course activity. This will be your eportfolio for this class and your final assessment will be based on the contents. Task 2- Record and embed an introductory video on the home page of your wiki.
Task 3- Continue a regular dialog in the discussion pages of your wiki.

What better place to find the definition of wiki than from the granddaddy of all wikis, Wikipedia . There have been many discussions of the value of Wikipedia for the purpose of research and it has proven to be a very robust encyclopedia, comparable to Encyclopedia Britannica. One of the main differences is that Wikipedia can be corrected if there is an error. Print-based encyclopedias are just as vulnerable to errors but there is no way to correct it once it is printed and in your library. Just like any other encyclopedia it is considered a secondary source and academic writing requires that you read and cite the original. Still, Wikipedia is an excellent place to start on a topic and they also include links to the primary sources.

A common concern about Wikipedia relates to its reliability and you may hear that "anybody can write anything in Wikipedia." The contributors to Wikipedia are carefully screened and the entries must follow a strict protocol to be accepted. It is always interesting to try to make a contribution to Wikipedia to see exactly what is involved and I would encourage everyone reading this to try it. If you have a piece of unique information that isn't included in Wikipedia you maybe doing the world a service by sharing it. Creating and curating a Wikipedia entry that persists may qualify as a alternative to the final paper requirement for this course.

The wiki is one of the earliest forms of web based tools that allow and promote "social" activity on the web; collaborative development, editing and sharing of web-based documents. It is very similar to the blog in many respects but you have more control over how the pages are organized. Here is a link to a Commoncraft video Wikis in Plain English .

The early forms of the wiki were pretty technical affairs and required a fair bit of coding skill using hyper-text markup language, html. This was soon replaced by the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) text editor which allowed a person to enter regular text. The latest developments have full featured text editors very similar to those you would see in Google Docs or MS Word.

Wikis are often pretty utilitarian affairs and are usually more dedicated to content than appearance, although there are many different types of wikis used for a very broad spectrum of purposes. Wikis have gained wide acceptance in the commercial world and many links to online resources for products and services are now wiki pages.

Wikis are very common in education at all levels and they have proved to be very useful. For example Curriki is an interesting wiki dedicated to K-12 curriculum. A great discussion group dedicated to wikis in education is at WikiEducator .

There are a large number of wiki engines and wiki hosting services from which to choose. I will recommend that you check out at least three different wiki hosts to allow you to see the various forms that are available. The wikis that I have selected have an emphasis on education. Keep in mind that all web based tools are being continually improved and upgraded with new features being added on a regular basis.

The first wiki to check out is the one that I have used for this course. It is from a service known as Wikispaces that has features specifically for educators. Wikispaces for Teachers . Most wikis have a free version that includes advertising. A paid subscription removes the ads and provides for more storage space. The free version of Wikispaces for Teachers is ad free for K-12 teachers and has ample storage capacity for most classroom wiki projects.

If you go to the help tab on this page it leads you through all the steps of setting up a Wikispaces wiki. Also there is a brief video introduction to using Wikispaces .

The second wiki-host that is very popular with educators is the PB(PeanutButter)Works . Using PBWorks is as "easy as making a peanut butter sandwich" says the promo. It really is simple but powerful with an effective text editor. Wet Paint is another wiki provider popular among educators.

One wiki-hosting service that I discovered a while ago is the PikiWiki. Most web-based tools are partly developed by their users and go through a few stages (alpha and beta) in their development. PikiWiki is still in the alpha stage but seems to work very well. PikiWiki is actually a scrapbooking wiki which makes it perfect for earlier years education. The drag and drop format, very simple editing and the ability to record video and audio clips make it a wonderful tool for learners who are just developing reading skills. Here is a Jing presentation of PikiWiki with a link to a PikiWiki page that I created for this demonstration. I've left it open for collaboration so please leave me a comment.

Please pick one of these ( or another of your choice) set up a wiki page with a link to it on your blog.

Now the trick is to go back to each of these tools and add content.