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Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Students Compare and Contrast Wikis and Blogs



My students have produced such excellent work over the past three weeks that I'll be sharing some of their insights well into June. They are such excellent learners and teachers.

One of my more recent assignments was to have students compare and contrast wikis and blogs.

Synopsis of their posts
The most meaningful point that they have brought out for me is that they see wikis as a place to share information and they see blogs as a place to share opinions and discuss.

In their words
Here are some of the more insightful answers.

Wikis and blogs are an essential part of a classroom. They are important because you can communicate with teachers and other students. Wikis are more of a way to share notes and homework with other students, while blogs are more of another way of to express your opinion on topics that they want to talk about. On wikis you can also have different pages on your hobbies, and blogs you can share information by your profile and you can talk about hot topics.

Wikis are very easy to use. They help you prepare for tests and exams. People can put the information you need to study on the Wikispace and you can print it out and use it to help you study. The downfall is two people can't make changes at the same time without one person's information getting deleted. Blogs are great if you want to comment on things other people have written about. The downfall is blogs don't help you study for tests and there is no spell check. Overall I like wikis better than blogs.

Wikispaces and blogs are similar in that they are both ways of communicating to other people. Blogs are more opinionated than wikis, because wikis are a collaboration of facts by every individual student. Both a part of the new Web 2.0 technology, they facilitate using the Internet. Blogging is more popular and more people are aware of it. Wikispaces are a fairly new concept which leads to not many people knowing about them. A wikispace is more of a discussion than blogging, because blogging is one person's opinion with other's comments on it. Wikispaces are also aimed more toward the "classroom" setting rather than personal home setting

Both Wikis and Blogs are part of the Web 2.0 revolution and allow a user to edit pages and place his or her comments on the Internet. A blog is similar to a journal on the Web. A person can discuss their thoughts on many different topics like music, movies, politics, etc. A wiki, however, is a website that allows its users to edit the content on that page. It allows users to collaborate with each other to make Web pages.


There are many similarities between wikis and blogs, infact many people would say there is no difference at all. This is not true, wikis are more like individual webpages, and blogs are just part of a webpage. Both can contain hyperlinks and pictures. Many people would say that wikis are mashups and blogs are not, but blogs can become mashups with hyperlinks. Wikis are also more organized. They are not just paragraphs of information like blogs. They usually have several different headings with the information for that little section underneath. Blogs and wikis are equally effective.


Note: I find it interesting how my students have incorporated the word mashup into their everyday language. They use this word now to mean anything from a variety of sources. I find it fascinating!

Wikis are I think alot more efficient than blogs. You can post and edit your homework and use wikis to study for test. The blog are great thing to write in but I think I would rather use wikis. For example, if someone else makes a study guide for the rest of the class to use and they leave something out you can go back and change and or put something else on there. Blogs are nice thing to use when you want other people from around the world to see, use, and or read . Wiki's are more of a class thing that I would not thing other businesses use because I have not seen any other people but students use them. I like both but if I had to pick it would be wikis.

Wikis are used for sharing information and sharing views on things. Blogs are ways to talk about you and give opinions on certain things. My class uses blogs to share information about ourselves and talk about things that interest us and shows our views on things. We use wikis to help with group effort, teach our classes how to do certain computer lessons, and other things.


Both Wikis and Blogs are used to bring people together and to share ideas over the internet. Yet, I believe blogs to be more advanced, though they do link you to people that you don't know. Blogging allows people not directly linked to you to access what you have to say. Though Wikis are ideal for classes and students, I suggest blogs for the everyday person to get his point across the internet. Between the two, blogs are more like newspapers. I would suggest blogs.

A wiki is a website that allows users to add, remove, or edit all content quickly and easily without the need for registration. A blog is like a journal entry where you can post entries daily about anything. One strength of the blog is that the most recent entry is listed first. One weakness of the wiki is that the content can sometimes be misleading. People add incorrect information on wikis. They are not always written by experts. A wiki enables documents to written together in a simple markup language. Wikis can be created and updated easily. A wiki weakness is that you do not have to register so people can mess around with your stuff.

Wikis and blogs are both very useful tools. They can help you organize notes and studymaterial or just post useful information. Wikis are usually better for organizing notes because it divides things into sections, but they take longer to make. The blogs are good for posting information because it is open to anyone with the Internet. The problem is getting other people to find your blog.


How I view wikis and blogs

I see wikis and blogs as two complimentary tools in my classroom.

One gives them information (wikis) and one gives them a voice (blogs.)

Asking my classroom to choose between the two would be like me telling you that you had to choose between fork and a spoon for all of your dining needs. They both have a different purpose and are good for eating different things, likewise with wikis and blogs.


I think that educators are really hitting on the strength of blogs for writing and engaging students in conversation.

However, I think wikis are a great untapped resource for compiling information. Wikis are a vital part of my classroom now and absolutely essential to teaching. (They are also very easy compliments to classroom discussions and note compiling.)

As you learn new skills for your summer, wikis should be high on the list!
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