This is a picture of Machu Picchu, in Peru, a place I have long wanted to visit. Today I was very close, in a virtual way! A request went out on Twitter this morning for science teachers looking to collaborate on international projects. A little while later I was speaking to Mr Lazaro, a teacher from Lima, Peru who teaches grades 5, 6 and Middle 1 (Year 7) at St. Georges College. He has asked us to participate on his wiki, Learning Science. His students may like to start by answering the question “What do you enjoy most about learning Science?” in the comment box below.
I’ve past another couple of checkpoints on my web 2.0 journey this week – using an ipod recorder, creating a “Wordle”, uploading a podcast to “podOmatic” and creating my own “Ning”. “What’s a Ning?” you sing…
First I have to get my head around what blogs, wikis and nings all have in common:
1. They are all user-created websites with unique URL addresses
2. Hosts (such as Blogger, Edublogs, Wikispaces and Ning) provide the space and customizable themes that you can choose – options include colours, logos, fonts etc.
3. You use your email address and/or a username and password to access the sites, which can notify you of comments via email
4. You can select privacy options – public (accessible to everyone); by-invitation-only; or sign up as a member.
5. All allow feedback or collaboration to a certain extent (although blogs can be blocked from comments?)
6. All can have one or many authors (although one user of a wiki or ning will defeat the purpose)
How are they different?
1. Blogs and Nings (not wikis?) – you can usually add ‘widgets’ – boxes in the sidebars that accommodate gadgets such as calenders, maps, photos, time and date clocks etc.
2. Comments from visitors are invisible in Blogs until selected – in wikis and nings they are part of the discussion and collaboration.
3. Wikis can be kind of ‘messy’ – the idea of everyone collaborating on a project, anytime, means that it is constantly evolving, perhaps with different people having slightly different goals?
4. Nings are a forum for discussion and it is easier to share word documents and other files, not supported by edublogs?
5. Wikis and Nings – Any member can create groups, send messages publicly or privately and start discussions.