My experience (and I do have some actual experience with wikis at our school) has been that teachers like wikis simply because it allows them to easily make new pages and add content.
Like everything else, it would take a constant push to get people to actually use a wiki consistently. It would pretty much need to be someone’s job.
Wikis also take a lot of gardening. Constant pruning and reorganizing. That also needs to be someone’s job.
The collaborative aspect of wikis is conceptually difficult for teachers to grasp and dicey in the political structure of a school. At best you end up with inline comments, which ultimately have to be edited into the text of discarded by the gardener.
I’m glad someone has some actual experience to draw on. Now all we need is a job description for the “Blog Wiki RSS Pusher” position. (I’d apply…)
Somewhat ironically, Dan Gillmor released Chapter 7 of his book today and it deals with, what else, Wikis. In fact, it’s one of the clearer overviews of the technology that I’ve read, and it’s motivated me to think seriously about maybe doing some wiki-ing at wikitravel.org. (Hey, maybe I could enlist a whole bunch of people who live in Hunterdon County to add to and edit my beginning entry at some point.)
Anyway, here’s a pretty insightful passage from the book:
It defies first-glance assumptions. After all, one might imagine, if anyone can edit anything, surely cyber-vandals will wreck it. Surely flame wars over article content will stymie good intentions. And, of course, the articles will all be amateurish nonsense. Right? Well, not necessarily. The open nature of Wikipedia has been its greatest resource, and it has emerged as a credible resource…Similarly, Wikipedia draws strength from its volunteers who catch and fix every act of online vandalism. When the vandals learn that someone will repair their damage within minutes, and therefore prevent the damage from being visible to the world. In such an environment, the bad guys tend to give up and move along to more vulnerable places.
It’s a pretty appealing picture…but I still wonder if it would work with kids…but apparently Aaron Campbell has not doubts.
And did I know about this? Wikibooks…”free, open content textbooks and other classroom texts.”