It seems that many Classroom2.0 educators have had this experience:
Wikis=good. Blogs=bad. I'm interested in knowing the actual reasons that have been given by administrators, etc.. about this phenomenon. Let's collect the data about misconceptions here. I once had an administrator casually reference MySpace when she meant blog. I'm not sure she knew there was a difference.

Tags: attitudes, blogging, blogs, misconceptions, towards, wikis

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Hmmm, totally aside from the question of people talking about something they nothing about (a perpetual problem in all fields of endeavor!), my experience has been just the opposite - I have found blogs are a great motivating space for students to do their writing in, because they have a strong sense of personal attachment to their blog and pride in their blog (as in my Myth-Folklore and Indian Epics courses); with a wiki, the vague "anonymity" of the whole thing reduces the students' motivation to contribute. My students all do blogs and webpage projects, but I haven't quite figured out yet what good use, if any, I can make of wikis in my teaching, even though I keep a number of wikis for my own use (I especially like PBwiki right now). From an administrative point of view, I also really value the way RSS and blog technology and incredibly well integrated; this is less true of wikis, where the absence of a distinct item like a "post" means the RSS feed is usually kind of a hodge-podge mess of trivial editing as opposed to substantive contributes, making it hard to see at a glance what is going on.

That's my experience, anyway. As for the misconceptions under which my university colleagues labor, the less said the better. The course management system used at my school, Desire2Learn, recently introduced something they call a "blog tool" - but it has almost no resemblance to any real blogging tool on the open Internet. The fact they can get away with calling it a blogging tool just shows how little university faculty know or expect from this web publishing technology. :-)
I think the fact that you are at a University changes things dramatically. Which gave me food for thought...I teach middle school in a rural, suburban town. The Internet Use Policy is quite restrictive, though internet use for educational purposes is encouraged leading to some cognitive dissonance regarding its use with students.
exactly: I have definitely learned to count my blessings teaching in a university environment where there are no issues with Internet use policy except for the anti-piracy problems (but that's not class-related). we don't have to do parent permissions, sites aren't filtered and so on... but even in such an environment, where the learning possibilities are unlimited, most of my colleagues use the Internet very little, if at all, aside from email. :-)
I know you teach college, I teach elementary K-6 ---but we share opinions about wikis. We've done 5 class wikis (for different purposes) in the last year. Here is my very very very shallow opinion about wikis. They all look the same, there is way too much text on a page, they are not pretty, there is no design element, the page can be way too busy with information, ads, menus, etc. I do like the collaboration aspect but my students don't do their best work in that format. Hate to admit that I'm that shallow!! Signed: Anonymous in Kansas
I know what you man Nancy... they ARE ugly. And anonymous. So what I did was I took my one wiki and had each middle school student make a wiki of their own. Then we learned how to put in color and widgets to brighten it up and break up the text. We made them educational and so we were able to take off the ads (on wikispaces.com they have added color fonts too!), and we collaborate when the need arises.

I just started some in my Teen Leadership classes and we are doing research on the effects of drug abuse, so right now we are making Virtual Note Cards. We copy/paste our index card info from whatever resource, and then copy the URL. Then we don't lose all our stuff. But on a separate page we will use Scrapblog.com to make a slide presentation of our projects with our own writing and embed it on the wiki.
I also have a blog and we will be blogging soon as a class, but on a wiki it is so much easier to do the writing process... pre-write, rough draft, peer-edit, etc. Then a blog can be the finished product if it seems useful. Then we post a link to the blog on our own wikis.

I address the privacy issues this way:

Only first names, no personal information allowed. Serious infractions are written up and processed as such. I am an organizer on their spaces, or at least a member, so I can delete whatever I need to. Then I leave them a note explaining why I did that.

I address the Ugly issue with cool sites they can become members of and upload their cool graphics. I agree, Sylvia... assessment is much easier on a wiki and I can ofer a choice of products as well. All this helps tie in learner engagement. Our current project in Spanish class is to make an ad for school supplies. They are using Comic Life, Scrapblog, iMovie to write them and then will embed them in their wikis. They are working as a group, so they can actually embed their work into all the members' wikis when it's ready.
Thanks for the insight into giving wiki's some bling ;)
Hey, I'm sure many admins just knee jerk on blogs = MySpace = pedophiles, and wikis are associated with Wikipedia, which at least sounds educational.

But let me toss out a different theory! I think it reflects a larger issue of assessment. Most teachers and schools focus on student product rather than process.

A wiki is a means to collaboratively get to an end product, something a teacher can look at, assess, and grade. It's easier to adapt your current curriculum to use a wiki, since curriculum is also product focused. (Of course, a wiki offers all sorts of cool features that others have mentioned).

Blogs reflect the process of learning, of going through a learning experience that may not result in a final product. Where's the report, the culminating piece of evidence of mastery, the final draft? How do you grade a student who might be changing over time? How do you not be involved in the conversation? It almost seems like cheating, after all, you don't sit down with a student while they are taking a test and discuss their answers halfway through and then they can try again.

So is it possible that for some people, wikis represent a groovy new way to do traditional classroom assessment, while blogs don't. Traditional = more comfortable.

PS I'm not saying that teachers aren't using wikis in revolutionary ways too.
Great Point!
OK. I've been through this. Data eh? My school is so in the past the even wiki=bad. Why?

Reasons my tech administrator will have nothing to do with blogging and wikiing.

1. Wasn't her idea.
2. She's kind of old school (like Oregon trail). Since the technology is new, she doesn't know anything about it, and therefore assumes there are all types of things that could go wrong.
3. She wants to act as the filter for all things being published to the internet. Since teachers aren't even allowed to post to the server without first emailing it to her and having her do it, she does it all. Checks each thing out and then posts it. There just isn't enough time for her to do this if multiple students\classes are doing it.
4. Why does she want to be the only filter? Things like e-rate monies and regulations by state and local government enforce certain facets of schools publishing things to the internet. Messing up could mean the removal of funding.
5. In connection with #4, blogs and wikis provide way to much room(in her eyes) for error. i.e. linking to inappropriate sites, revealing too much info about a student, etc...
6. Concluding #4 and 5, she doesn't want to train faculty on what should be published or not. She has all the power and wants to keep it that way.

These things may be different for some schools, but that is just what I have run into.
In regards to wikis vs blogs one must keep in mind that they are both tools with different capabilities and features and the instructor, if given the option, must choose which one is more appropriate for the goal of the instructional activity and which one provides the features that one wants in a way that is the most effective for the particular task at hand.
As only one example of this take a look at the organizational characteristics of blogs vs those of wikis. Blogs are basically organized by "time posted" meaning that the first thing you see when you look at a blog is the most recent item posted and everything else is listed in reverse chronological order. To find anything else, you have to look for the items by date unless you've taken extra steps to categorize each posting and create a list of links. Older posts get grouped into months and are given a link to the month.

Wikis on the other hand, can be organized into "pages" according to whatever organization is deemed most appropriate by the wiki creator. If the class activity is a journal type reflection activity in which the student follows the development of a research project and writes about what they've learned as the research progresses, than a blog seems to be the appropriate tool from the aspect of organization. On the other hand, if the class activity is to report the results of the same research project, a wiki would be more suitable since the wiki pages can be organized into different topics labeled "team members," "background research," "equipment needed," "data collection," etc.

You might want to take a look at a recent discussion focused on blogs at http://classroom20.ning.com/forum/topic/show?id=649749%3ATopic%3A64...
It was titled "Has anyone in the states successfully convinced their admins to allow blogging?" and covers a lot of the issues that have been raised about negative opinions about blogs.
For me, I think it's participatory...to understand web 2.0, participation - either personal or professional is needed. For me, this is what it took.

Blogs to me at first were Seinfeld-ian as hip as I think I am (my students and wife may disagree). Yes, I could see the collaborative value and real-world reach of writing but I still was a bit dubious. It wasn't until I really got my head around web 2.0 and started really reading and writing blog entries did I begin to view them more positively.

As a side note, I also make sure I share this during inservices since I think it's important for teachers to know that even as a "tech person" I just didn't/don't automatically adopt technology. Overall, I think it's important for folks to know even the technology folks have a learning curve and need to go through an adoption process.

As mentioned, wikis give a more traditional look and are structured more like traditional web sites. Blogs usually aren't as structured; rather they are long scrolling pages with lots of text and some pictures. That coupled with the stigma that has been discussed I think puts them in a different light.

Classroom 2.0, Conrad's focus on blogging on his blog, experience, and a few other things here and there got me over the hump so to speak. The old writing adage, "show don't tell" comes to mind as a possible way to let their immense value to be seen.

Edwin
BTW, I think you are doing a great job as "welcomer". I'm sure it makes people feel like someone cares in this huge crowd. I wish for some new blog adopters that there was a "welcome to blog world". Many of us "why are we blogging people?" might enjoy a "hi-de-do". Thanks again. N.

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