Wanna take a guess what this week's blog is supposed to be about? Go ahead, give it a second, I'll wait.
Yep, you got it. It's WIKI's. So what is a wiki you may ask? Or you may not, but since it's an assignment, I'll explain anyway.
wi·ki (/ˈwikē/) Noun
A Web site developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.
There is the quick definition of what a wiki is. Are you impressed yet? No? Well let me see if I can't change that for you.
Obviously we all know the most popular wiki in the world is wikipedia. By a show of hands, how many of you out there turn to wikipedia first when you want to know what something is? Come on, don't be shy. We know we all do it. Why? Because it's easy. Years ago, if we wanted to know something we'd trudge to the basement or wherever our Encyclopedia Britannica's were stashed, and look it up that way. Now we have wikipedia. Sure there are lots of other sources on the Internet, but wikipedia seems to be the most concise source available. That begs the questions, especially as educators (or parents, or students), is it accurate? Who knows. It's as accurate as the community who is writing it. Was everything we ever read in the Encyclopedia Britannica accurate? Again, who knows. Most people assumed (just like they do with wikipedia) that it wouldn't be in print if it weren't accurate but just because something has taken written form does not always mean it's so. If that were the case then, according to the Enquirer, half of the world's population would either be, or would have been abducted by, aliens.
Does that mean that wikis like wikipedia are BAD and we should never use them as sources of information; that they are all automatically wrong? No, but as educators, parents and/or students we need to be vigilant and remember not to take everything we read at face value. Today, especially, there are so many sources of information available and we should take advantage of all of them.
So, if you and a bunch of your friends have something you want to contribute and have information you want to share, get out there and create yourself a wiki. They are much easier to work with that creating a full blown-out web site, plus there are enough free wiki sites available that it takes nothing to get one started. Just remember, the information you provide is only as good as the knowledge you know, but don't feel badly if someone comes along and disputes it. As fast as the world changes, the knowledge you have today may only be as good as yesterday's news.
One final thought. Do you know where the term wiki comes from? It was coined by its creator, Ward Cunningham. Cunningham developed the first wiki software in 1995 and named it the WikiWikiWeb because of a shuttle he took at the Honolulu International Airport. The shuttle was called the Wiki shuttle. Wiki was a reduplication of the word Wiki Wiki which, in Hawaiian, means fast. Because the idea behind the WikiWikiWeb was to make pages quickly editable by its users, Ward initially thought about calling it the QuickWeb, but changed his mind and the WikiWikiWeb was born. Thanks Wikipedia for starting me on my journey to find this information, and thanks Ward Cunningham and your Wiki Page for confirming (and for giving us such a great tool).
So in honor of Ward Cunningham and Hawaii, I'm going to go grab me a wiki wiki pina colada and spend the rest of my weekend working on my Wiki. Anyone want to join me?