First Wiki Notes Part 2

I am lost as to how to do block quotes and such on the wiki, so I apologize for the inappropriate quoting within.

Wide Open Spaces Article

The article Wide Open Spaces gave me lots, probably way too much, to think about. The following are the parts I found most interesting:

1.) "In the case of Wikipedia, establishing community policies is complicated by its relatively high profile and the diversity of perspectives and motives. Most contributors sit somewhere on a range of "extreme inclusionists" (who value every article that isn't obviously awful, in the interests of creating an evolving representation of online culture) and "extreme deletionists" (who value "proper" articles, in the interests of building an authoritative reference work)."

Wikipedia- a most intriguing site for me. I have always wondered who puts ALL the information on there!?! When I found out that it can be edited by anyone (years ago) that fascinated me even more. I never thought I would have my own site that is essentially the same as Wikipedia, but here I am, making my own wiki. I highly doubt it will become a large enough project to have contributors that would be classified as either "extreme inclusionists" or "extreme deletionists", but one never knows... I want to use it for my middle school students, so...

2.) "Expecting to be told where to go, they feel lost, "as if falling through a wide expanse of concepts and thoughts represented in nodes of text," as one page describing the principles of wiki navigation puts it.14"

I am this person! I struggle so much with this open network that allows me to go here, there, and everywhere! I feel I am on Old McDonald's farm! (SERIOUSLY!? McDonald is a WikiName? Of course it is! LOL How do I fix/stop that?)

3.) "'It's very very cool to be able to do ridiculously easy, collaborative document editing,' writes Elizabeth Lane Lawley. 'But . . . let's face it. They're ugly.'"

I agree with this wholeheartedly. The wiki is not an easy medium to aesthetically adjust. It will take some practice to be able to format pages to make them look pleasing, if not at least structured and organized.

Here's the stuff that really interested me; the teaching stuff...
4,) "Perhaps the most common pedagogical application of wikis in education is to support writing instruction. At Teaching Wiki (, Joe Moxley, a professor of English at the University of South Florida, lists a number of the medium's strengths for the teaching of writing skills: wikis invigorate writing ("fun" and "wiki" are often associated); wikis provide a low-cost but effective communication and collaboration tool (emphasizing text, not software); wikis promote the close reading, revision, and tracking of drafts; wikis discourage "product oriented writing" while facilitating "writing as a process"; and wikis ease students into writing for public consumption.24"

This is what I hope to use my wiki for; a tool for writing! I am very excited to encourage students to write for the process, not for the final product.

5.) "In addition to fostering the development of writing skills as they are already understood, wikis may prove to be invaluable for teaching the rhetoric of emergent technologies. Jill Walker, a hypertext theorist and prominent weblogger, suggests that whereas online technologies are fine for teaching things that can also be done with a paper notebook, a more important ability "to teach our students is network literacy: writing in a distributed, collaborative environment." Walker recognizes that bringing network literacy to the classroom is no simple task, that it "means jolting students out of the conventional individualistic, closed writing of essays only ever seen by [their] professor."25 As wikis enter the academy, students may not be the only ones jolted out of conventional practices."

Jill Walker? OUR Jill Walker that we have been reading so much of? :-) She makes a very importnat point... getting students to write for an audience more than just the teacher, is nearly impossible. And she is referring to college students! Now try getting a middle school student to write something, ANYTHING, that someone other than their trusted teacher will read. Ha! Good luck! This is a difficult mountain I will have to climb.

6.) "Tracking work created in wiki spaces can become a logistical nightmare, and course management can spin out of control quickly if pages are allowed to spawn without some set of protocols to regulate or index them. Attribution of individual work can be difficult, and an environment in which students (or even nonstudents) are invited to rework content further complicates matters."

And this is where my bubble gets burst... The logistics of it all... How does a writing teacher track work of individuals to know that it is solely their own work? Something I will need to think about and research further into before I set off on this wiki writing journey.

The Original Source... Wikipedia

So, moving on to more wiki info on none other than Wikipedia. The amount of info here makes my head spin. I am not a 'techy' person so all of this honestly baffles me mind. Thank you to all of the intelligent minds out there that can make this technology (somewhat) simple for people like me to use. It seems as though the issue of vandalism and trolling are just things that a person with a wiki has to be able to deal with. The sense of community monitoring the wikis allow for the ease of correcting to be a much better option than making it secure and difficult to edit.

Above and Below...

The explanations of ThreadMode and DocumentMode made a lot of sense in Above and Below the Double Line: Refactoring and That Old-Time Revision by MCMorgan himself. However, the information given about refactoring was once again overwhelming. My understanding is that refactoring is all about making a wiki page more organized and reader-friendly through the use of double lines or page patterns.

The Meatballs and potatoes of it all...

I checked out MeatballWiki and but was not pleased with what I saw. Both are very "ugly" examples of wikis and exactly what Elizabeth Lane Lawley was talking about. Although much info is given about the use of a wiki and how to operate a wiki, the basic-ness of the sites really are detracting.

So, with all of this new information swarming around in my brain, it is going to take a week or so more for it to find a practical place in my new world of wikis. I look forward to class discussion tomorrow to see what others have to contribute about our new endeavor.

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