Blogs and Wikis and things

Somebody asked me the difference between a blog and wiki.

The idea of the wiki is credited to Ward Cunningham, who in 1994 released the WikiWikiWeb (see and blogs evolved from online diaries. Not much of a digital history. But what is the difference?

A wiki is a piece of paper that is written in pencil, you pass it round and people write on it, they can rub out what you or others have written, or edit it or just add a comment, they can if they wish write their name so everyone can see what they did. I guess someone could rub out the entire contents of the piece of paper – play a trick, not really in the spirit of collaboration, and I wonder if they’d leave their name!

A blog is another piece of paper, you write your message in INK, it is permanent, not to be tampered with, and then you pass the paper around, people can then write messages one after the other on what they think about your message – some complementary others no so! But they can’t change your message. Bloggers have something to say, or at least a desire to say it!

Both are public by nature or at least not fully private.

A single word processed file stored in solitary confinement on your USB stick, which you edit occasionally (your long awaited novel) is a very private wiki, and if you write a diary and never show anyone, it is a very private blog but with no comments.

I am always fascinated by claims that certain things are going to revolutionise the way we learn!

To use a wiki you need a desire to collaborate and help each other and actually contribute in a public space – that can’t be bad.

A blog again promotes a desire to explore and communicate ideas, your ideas – you tell the world, is this a bad thing? Getting other peoples opinions and seeing what people think are a great way to engage your brain.

Both are public so you are asking for comment, one in a collaborative sense to make something better and the other to engage in conversation.

Education is about deeply personal conversations: the first is with yourself, then there are conversations with your teacher and others with your peers. A key part of a conversation is that it is reflective and you have to listen, acknowledge the other. Blogs and Wikis are part of this conversation, they are personal – no bad thing I reckon.

Must you engage in outward conversations in class, why does someone have to answer a question – plenty of kids sit in class hating it when teachers ask them a question, not because they don’t know the answer, but because for some reason they don’t wish to answer in a public place. So, be careful, if someone does not want to engage the old fashioned way possibly they won’t want to in the digital era either. It is possible of course that the opposite could happen. I reckon tread softly and encourage exploration of your voice, we want to hear you and really it does not matter how we hear you!

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