Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More on the wiki

Well, I've spent all my reading time and all the time I was supposed to be writing a post playing around with wikis, so I have no real post for you. I learned it's easy to set up a wiki, but I can't figure out how to insert hyperlinked notes. Well, I did learn how to insert notes, but each one takes you to a new page, which isn't what I was looking for. Or is it? I'm not sure if the technology won't let me do what I want (let people insert links to create notes, preferably ones sortable or searchable by author) or if I just don't know how to do it. Okay --- here's what I want. You know how in Microsoft Word if you're using footnotes you can put the cursor over the footnote number and the text will pop up in a bubble right there? Or if you've used the comment function on Microsoft Word, you know how you can insert comments that will appear in the margin or appear in a bubble right above the words you commented on? That's what I want on a wiki, but I don't know that that's possible.

Anyone want to help? I had some volunteers yesterday :) I set up a "litwiki" over here, and anyone can edit it, so if you're bored ... And there's a "reading wiki" over here; the password is "muttboy" if you want to sign in and play around. Anyone know of a better site?

I do want to use one of these for class at some point, once I learn a little more about it. I could have students write articles for it and they would work collaboratively. That raises some interesting issues about power in the classroom -- for example, how much should the teacher step in to correct and guide and edit? I'm a little uncertain about the whole idea of "collaborative" writing also; in a way, blogs can be collaborative, sort of, in that people write back and forth and toss ideas and topics around. But writing still seems personal and private to me. Actually, I've always hated collaboration and group work. But that's one of the big deals in education today. Anyway, part of what got me interested in wikis was this post over at The Long Eighteenth (which in itself is an interesting project).

I'm like this, I'm afraid -- confronted with a problem, particularly a technological problem, I'll devote hours to it until I feel I've learned what I want to. A bit obsessive, in other words.