Monday, July 7, 2008

Thing #16 - Wikis

Oh, yes! I do wikis!

Since I don't have a school library website, or the time to handcraft one, or district resources to do that for me, I will be using a wiki as a stand-in! I've gotten started at but haven't updated it yet for 2008-2009 - waiting for new bell schedule, etc. With luck, we can get this site as the start-up on all the Library Computer Lab computers by the time that students have enough AUPs in that we can allow access to the Lab (about 2nd week of school, I hope). This is a 'gold' pbwiki, so I have the right to lock all the pages, unlike a plain-vanilla wiki. It will be so easy for me to quickly add pathfinders to the wiki for incoming class projects, and so on! Also will be the one-stop database place (that other libraries have on their pretty, fancy websites... sigh) for GHS. If I can ever get remote OPAC services, that will be on this wiki, front and center!!

My humanities class pbwiki is password-protected for my students' safety, so I cannot share it directly. We use it for class calendar, all assignments posted there (they lose so many papers, never mind that they are seniors in HS), links to websites, etc. I even uploaded the Works Cited page from one of my SLMC grad papers so they could see proper MLA formatting (but I don't think they ever really got it right...) Last year, they didn't use it to post their own observations much, so I will encourage that more this year.

Right now, the incoming class is doing their summer reading of "Sophie's World," a novel about philosophy by Jostein Gaarder, so they are on the wiki already to have access to assignments (1 is due on first class day) and other pertinent info. So they are using this great tool for sharing links and asking questions to... post funny comments after their names on the group discussion page! Well, it is a start.

On PBwiki, it does take a little doing to get links to insert properly and sometimes the formatting just won't behave to suit me, no matter what I do, but the price is perfect! I like their support of educational institutions, and enjoyed a podcast/webinar in May on ways to use PBwiki with libraries. At least 1 PBWiki staffer is a degreed librarian, so they do understand 'where we're coming from.'

At start of school, I will again let our teachers know about this free service (and, yes, I know about wikispaces, too; I just have more hands-on with PBwiki) so that they can use it to post homework, explanations, links to sites, etc. for FREE!

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