Last week I heard an NPR segment with David Weinberger about Wikis, and to be honest, until then, I hadn’t been able to wrap my brain around the concept in an educational sense. When I presented last week with Sarah on Weblogs as Journalism, we took a look at Wikipedia, and we started thinking about the possibilites of this “social software” as many are calling it in terms of reporting. When you think about it, it’s a potentially great tool for community journalism, and really speaks to Dan Gillmor’s “my readers know more than I do” philosophy.
Yesterday, Pat pointed me to Ken Tompkins’ Wiki site Weblog Kitchen. I hadn’t really spent any time there, but it’s a pretty cool undertaking. He poses the same question I’ve been asking about Wikis: “A visitor (or, perhaps, a vandal) asks, “why can I edit this?” The answer is simple: this is an open space where many researchers work together.” Nice…and some interesting applications for teaching, I think. I’m thinking that this fall when I get my journalism kids back I’m going to have them produce a wiki story or two, collaborative efforts on topics of interest that will eventually be published in the school paper under all of their bylines. Also, I’m thinking about trying a far-flung collaboration with this. Imagine if two classes from both coasts and divergent backgrounds worked on a wiki story about the inequities of school funding (or something like that.)
It could be done in a Web log, I know, and the “vandal” may be more inclined to strike on the high school level, but the concept of working together to create a piece of work for a common good in a totally open forum does have it’s appeal. Any potential collaborators out there?