Things Wikis Weren’t Designed For

The four MYLU classes have been coming to grips with the PBL wiki where we have been storing all of the learning "artifacts" of our unit on "What Does It Mean To Be Australian?" As they have gone about their task, I have been discovering quite a bit about what wikis can do and just as importantly, what they can't do. Bear in mind that this is about 120 users working and making page edits over a 3 day period each week. So it's not your usual wiki project - it's a bit of an experiment - but please note the following.

  • All images uploaded must have unbroken file names - no extra period or spaces, kids normally name files like Aussie Inventions.jpg and forget to use an underscore to link the words.
  • Each image uploaded must have a unique name - a child from Learning Area 21 who uploads an image named Aussie.jpg on Wednesday comes back a week later to find their image looks different because the kid from Learning Area 22 uploaded another image and chose that same exact file name on Friday.
  • Two people can't work on the same page at the same time on two different computers. It doesn't work! I originally thought it would.
  • Images linked to at home display as desired but can be blocked by the filter at school resulting in those ugly "This image cannot be displayed " boxes.
  • Kids are shocking with passwords and requesting an e-mail remainder doesn't always work.

Apart from those few things, we (students, teachers, me!) have learnt a lot about how wikis work and whether they are a good vehicle to unpack Australian Identity on. We certainly boost wikispaces traffic on certain days peaking at No.2 for page edits (currently  number four today - see graphic) last Thursday. A few weeks to go and it will be interesting to see if it all becomes on unreadable, unnavigable mess or a relevant document on our learning open to the world.

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