Wiki Tools Options


As you consider a wiki tool for use a your school library Web site or for collaborating with educators at your school site, here is some additional information that may help you decided which tool to use.

The Directory of E-Learning Tools: Wiki Tools provides a list of wiki tools. All of the wiki tools reviewed below are free, Web-based (rather than downloadable) tools. The reviews are based on my experience with each of these tools. You are welcome to add your comments to my reviews. As always on this wiki, please put your name in parentheses when you add content so we can easily know who to credit (without going into the page history.) Thank you.

If you are a fan of a particular wiki tool, please add the tool to this list with a brief annotation. Students are invited to discuss wikis and the merits of individual tools on the discussion tab for this wiki page.

Google Sites
This wiki tool has 50 eye-catching templates, but because it does not allow users to modify them beyond font color, users do not get practice applying Web design. The formatting capabilities are good, and the site includes a comment. Users can add attachments to pages, but there is no discussion feature. Thankfully, there are no advertisements on Google Sites. Well, except for the ubiquitous Google logo, of course. (Dr. M.)

pbworks.com
I first used pbworks when it was called pbwiki. This is still my most frequently used wiki tool. Advertisement-free, this tools provides excellent formatting capabilities: text and image alignment, easy and consistent font color selection, and more. It has multimedia plugins for video and audio. Users can tag pages, receive notifications through RSS feeds, and make full-page revisions. The history pages are easy to access for student accountability. The comment feature on each page has been useful to me as a higher education teacher. However, the lack of a discussion feature (and no free way to control access to specific pages makes it less useful in the K-12 learning environment. (Dr. M.)


wikispaces.com
Although pbworks is my most frequently used wiki tool, Wikispaces has some distinct advantages for K-12 educators. Wikispaces (free version) has access controls so that educators can make some pages available and not others to specific viewers/users. It also has a discussion feature on each wiki page. I found this to be an essential feature to help middle and high school students organizer their discussions. Wiki workers can change the look and feel of their wikis, which results in more opportunities for users to practice the principles of Web design. Wikispaces continues to improve, but to my way of working, it still lacks effective formatting. You must request an educational site to get an advertisement-free interface. If you choose wikispaces for your K-12 wiki, go to: http://www.wikispaces.com/education (Dr. M.)