I hope not!
At yesterday’s Edubloggercon10, the first circle I participated in was one titled “Are Wikis Dying?” It was suggested / moderated by Jeff Utecht (check out his thoughts on the session here) and was even attended by James and Adam from Wikispaces.
Jeff first started thinking about wikis and their future based on some conversations around the use of emerging Google web tools with teachers at his school in Bangkok. There can be no doubt that the emergence of web-based publishing tools of all sorts are/will have a tremendous impact as we shift to change the story of teaching and learning. The discussion was lively (and respectful), with many people sharing their experiences with both wikis and google apps.
In my experience, the real power of wikis is two-fold, the ability to embed other web tools with ease to create a dynamic story and it’s ease of use. While Google Docs (and I use them regularly for many purposes) are powerful for collaboration, I think there are some things they don’t do as well as a wiki. And thus the point that I think many of us arrived at / reinforced yesterday – the tool has to match the application. What wikis, google docs and all the other current and emerging tools give us is options.
Teachers often ask me about whether they should use a blog, a wiki or another tool. The answer is simply “YES!”. However, in order to suggest a specific tool(s) for them and their students, the real question is what do you want to accomplish? The tool will hinge on the learning activity.
Are wikis dying? For me the answer is a resounding NO! At least not anytime soon. As Adam and James so aptly pointed out, all tools evolve. Wikis will also evolve, but the idea of a collaborative, shared space where students (and teachers) can quickly publish to the web and share their learning using a variety of tools, wikis are alive, well and thriving, another powerful web-based tool for our learning.
I am a huge wiki fan. I promote them heavily and believe they are the most powerful web tool for our classroom. In fact, I do many workshops each year on wikis and their use entitled Ten (Not-so) Secrets About Wikis. It’s always a hit and teachers quickly see the power in the tool.
Image: Where to Find a Good Wiki, Uploaded to Flickr by CogDogBlog, Creative Commons license