The best part about collaboration on a wiki is that no one person has to be centrally responsible to update pages or comments. The difficulty arises when there are numerous collaborators. I've been trying to establish some best practices for myself when it comes to project management for all my students.
Winter Wonderland Project
I currently have three grade levels starting a three month project. It was put together by Amber Coggin, Nedra Isenberg, and Vicky Sedwick. I am really struck by the level of organization in this project. I am very hopeful that with so many participants, my students will give and receive feedback between several different classrooms.
Each of my grade levels will be doing a slightly different project based on their current skill set. My Kindergarten, first, and third grade students are participating. From what I can see, there are about 50 teachers who have signed up to participate with various grade levels.
Keeping Track of a Moving Target
The projects are not moving targets, but the ebb and flow of each web page is. I want to be able to point my students to the existing content so that they do not become frustrated clicking on empty pages.
A while back, I remember hearing Vicki Davis talking about subscribing to the edits and discussions on all of her wikis. In 2007, my students and I started dipping our toes in the waters of wikis. I was quite able to keep up with every change since I only worked with one grade level at a time. The students didn't seem interested in using their password outside of class.
In 2008, I expanded the reach of wiki users in my building to the second through eighth grades. It was still fairly manageable. It was the first time I worked on other teacher's wikis, too. In these instances, there were few participants. The Winter Wonderland project is a horse of a different color.
The method is so easy in Wikispaces. By selecting the Manage Wiki link at the top left side of the screen, you are presented with a variety of options. One of those is the Notifications icon under the Tools set.
There are three RSS feed options: monitor edits and discussions, just edits, or just discussions. Alternatively, you could sign up for email notifications, but I did that last year. The mailbox filled up and I felt overwhelmed.
I selected the RSS feed for monitoring edits and discussions. I copied and pasted the link into Google Reader. Now I have one stop shopping for everything that is going on in that wiki.
My Thoughts for My Students
This method will not help my youngest students. My current plan is to find schools as they begin participating and bookmark them to the school delicious account. Today I was able to bookmark a Kindergarten and third grade page. I will walk them through the entire wiki and they can explore on their own. I will want the students to look directly at these pages, so it will give me flexibility to quickly route the students to one point in the wiki.
What Else Can I Be Doing?
My question comes from my knowledge that there are far more experienced teachers using wikis out in the wider world. What are you doing with your youngest students to make working within a wiki as easy and streamlined as possible? What ways of working do you have as a teacher to balance directing your students at content efficiently?
Sierra, Piero. "Winter wonderland." Piero Sierra's photostream. 2 Dec 2008. 2 Dec 2006.