Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I posted about wikis awhile back. This caught the attention of one of the founders of pbwiki. He's interested in making pbwiki more useful for educators and was (and still is) seeking input from the educational community.

A wiki is a webpage that all members can edit in any way they want. The most famous (or infamous) is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that was created by the users of the internet.
The creators of pbwiki have made several changes to improve their interface to make it more accessible to all users, but particularly to educators.

They still haven't added What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editing yet, but they have added style buttons that will create the code for you. They are currently working on WYSIWYG as they understand how important this is to novice computer users.

The pbwiki team has also added educational templates to make webpage creation nearly painless. Templates include:
  1. Syllabus
  2. Group Project
  3. Classroom
Notable features in the free version include:
  1. 10MB of file storage space
  2. Password protection - You get a single password for the site. You need to password to edit the pages.
  3. The site can be private or public. If private, you need the password to view the page.
  4. Unlimited pages
  5. Zip backup
For more information on who pbwiki can be used in education simply go to http://pbwiki.com/edu/. I would add a couple of caveats to the information presented. Not all of the features listed there come with the free version of pbwiki.

Currently I have two pbwikis. Both are private at this point. One was created for a lab manual I'm writing collaboratively with a retired physics teacher in Colorado. The other is for an extracurricular club. The main reason this one is private is one of the projects we're working on is a grant application for an invention and my team does not want their idea "stolen".

I'll probably not create specific course webpages. We use Edline in our building and while it is not the cleanest or easiest to use interface it is what we have and our teachers are expected to use it.

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