First things first: what does “wiki” mean?
Wiki comes from “wiki wiki,” a Hawaiian term for “really fast.” Wikis are quick to set up, quick to learn, and quick to edit—hence the name.
That’s what I thought.
Sure you did. As we were saying, wikis are web sites that can be viewed and edited directly by the people who use them. Wikis are great for online collaboration and communication, and are super easy to use—no techie skills necessary!
So how are our friends using wikis? Let’s see:
Michael would prefer that we don’t tell you all this, but we’re going to anyway: Michael loves Hello Kitty. He collects Hello Kitty toys, eats off of Hello Kitty plates, and pays his rent with Hello Kitty checks. You could say he’s something of an expert on Hello Kitty. (You could probably say something else about him, too, but let’s be nice.) Because he has a lot to contribute to a conversation about Hello Kitty, he works diligently on Wikipedia’s Hello Kitty page to keep the information there accurate and up to date. He doesn’t get paid, but he takes pride in the fact that he is one of the Hello Kitty information army. A tip of the hat to you, Michael.
Erin was finding that a lot of her prospective customers were asking the same questions of her sales people, and her staff was wasting a lot of time and duplicating work just to get the same answers over and over. She decided to set up a wiki with all the answers to frequently asked questions. Not only did she save time and improve customer service, the sales staff really got into the idea. They started posting up their own pages to keep track of important dates, events, and information, and now their wiki has grown to be the critical go-to information source for the entire staff. Bob, the northeast regional sales manager, claims he “can’t remember how we got by without it.” Thanks, Bob.
Sean got so excited about all the architecture photos he took during his summer traveling that he chose to use them for a project in his Modern Art and Architecture class. A couple of his classmates liked what he did so much that they decided to work together on the subject as a senior capstone project. Because their schedules were so crazy, they decided to make a wiki to keep track of everyone’s different parts of the project. It worked like a charm; you’d never know they put their whole project together and were never in the same room at the same time.
Presentation on Wikis
What you’re about to click on is a link to a Prezi presentation. What’s a Prezi? It’s a presentation tool that allows you to follow the text as it moves, turns, and zooms. If you haven’t used it before, here’s what you do:
Click on the link below and wait for the Prezi to load.
Once the Prezi is loaded, click on the “Play” button.
After you’ve read the text on the screen, click the “Play” button again to go to the next part. Keep clicking to go all the way through the presentation.
When you get to the end, click on the blog link to go back to the class.
That’s it! No, really, that’s all there is to it. Enjoy.
- Click on the Play button (in the box below) to start it.
- Once the Prezi is loaded, click again on the “Play” button each time you want to move forward through the slides.
- When you get to the end and the Play button disappears, scroll down to the “Discovery Exercise” below the Prezi to get back to the class. That’s it! No, really that’s all there is to it. Enjoy.
Not working for you? Here are some Prezi alternatives:
- Are you using an iPhone, iPod or iPad? Download the free Prezi Viewer app and go to the Wiki Prezi online, then return to this blog when you’re finished.
- Is the Prezi too zoom-y? You can also view the Wikis Prezi as a PDF, which has no motion.
For this project, we’re going to become editors and contributors at Wikipedia. Don’t be scared—it won’t hurt a bit. Unless you drop the keyboard on your toe. Try not to do that.
Go to www.wikipedia.org. (Fascinating side note: many people try to go to wikipedia.com. Although you’ll get automatically redirected to the right site by typing this address, Wikipedia is actually a non-profit organization, so it has a .org ending.)
Now just hold on there, pardner. Before you go typing anything into the search box, take a minute to look over the page if you haven’t before. Scroll down and look around. Maybe you knew that there are Wikipedia pages in other major languages like German or Russian, but did you know that there are pages in dozens of other languages? (Don’t worry, even we’ve never heard of some of those.)
And at the very bottom of the page, there are links to other cool pages, such as Wikibooks, to search open-source textbooks, Wikiversity, a resource center for educators, or Wikispecies, a free species directory.
No, none of this has anything to do with the project yet. We just think it’s cool.
Moving on: go to the search bar and type in something you’d like to find. We’ll be using the Tucson page as an example if you want to follow along. If not, you’re on your own.
From the Tucson page, click on the Edit tab in the upper right.
Scroll down past all the funky code until you get to the first line of the third paragraph of text, where it says, “The Tucson skyline is dominated by mountains in every direction.” Change this to read: “The Tucson skyline is dominated by zombies in every direction.” Click on “Save page” underneath.
Voila! Check out your bad self. You’re now a Wikipedia contributor and editor.
But now good manners says we have to fix it: Click edit page again, change “zombies” back to “mountains,” and click “save page.” Check to be sure you’ve saved the change; otherwise, we’re just being rude to other people who are trying to use the site.
More information for the curious
Wikipedia is not the only wiki out there. Some other examples of popular wikis include:
- — an online “How To” wiki
- — an online dictionary
- — a worldwide travel guide
Wiki services are not all equal. Some are paid services with nifty advanced features, and that may also let you customize the wiki or add your own branding. Some services are free, allowing people to create free wikis, invite any number of people to help keep them up-to-date, and upload photos, embed videos, and create profiles. You don’t need a web server, an IT staff, or any money at all. Why would they do that? Easy: they allow ads. You might see them up at the top left, below the table of contents, or maybe in another place on the page. The ads pay for the service, so you don’t have to. Many free web 2.0 sites have ads on them.
Only three classes left! Coming up next is the lovely and talented Skype. Yup, that’s the one where you can talk long-distance for free. Meet you all right back here one week from today. Bye now!
Drop-in Sessions: get help or ask questions about these classes: Schedule.
Comments & suggestions welcome: Jenn and I welcome your comments about these classes! Comment in the “leave a Reply” form below or via the tech help comment form at: http://www.library.pima.gov/contact/tech.php