I continue to consider how wikis can be used with students and have been second guessing my decision to install Mediawiki, the software that runs the Wikipedia. Not that Mediawiki isn't powerful software, it's just that it may be a... [The Savvy Technologist]

Tim Wilson, who I had the opportunity to meet in New Orleans at NECC, talked yesterday about installing Mediawiki and then coming across a canonical list of wiki engines. Will points to him this morning wondering about "the collaborative construction of content..." using Wikis.

Tim also noted that Moodle has a Wiki module. He makes a good point that this might be a nice middle ground for us in K-12 who want to take advantage of the Wiki interface and methodology, but worry a bit about having open access and also getting it approved by IT departments and such.

When I got back from NECC, I installed Mediawiki, the backend of Wikipedia. The installation was pretty easy. I'm now messing around trying to understand how it handles styles and such. Whichever Wiki engine we end up using at Lewis, I'm thinking our first use of it will be with our 4th and 5th grade Publishing Club. The Publishing Club students work with our 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Gould and a parent, Mrs. Meskel, who also happens to work for our local paper, The Oregonian. They produce a monthly newspaper about school events and such.

This past year they utilized a shared directory and had students save stories into the directory. This did not work very well, with a number of stories being lost or saved in the wrong place. It took a lot of work by Mrs. Gould and Mrs. Meskel and I had been thinking of setting up something for them with Moveable Type to handle the work flow. After playing around with the Wiki interface, I am pretty sure I'll just set up a Wiki for them and they can use it to have students submit stories, and then use it to edit the stories. It will be great for them to have access to the Page History to keep track of the edits. The Diff feature, which can highlight the changes between two revisions will allow students and their teachers to see the edits between two differnet revisions. The discussion feature will allow writers to talk about the edits and make suggestions. Once the stories are finished, we will do a simple copy and paste into the newspaper template.

The more I think about the Wiki interface and all of its features, the more I am excited about using it with my students and teachers.