Margaret Simkin, the Head of Information Services and Head of History at The Hamilton and Alexandra College is happy to share the development of her wiki with Bright Ideas readers.
This wiki is the result of several years of deliberation about what to do and how to do it in the most sustainable way, while allowing for the fact that we have a small library staff with limited time available for management. Undertaking the SLAV Web 2.0 course provided the idea as it enabled us to work on things together and discuss their potential. Two of us successfully completed the course.
The catalyst came when I attended the SLAV conference where Will Richardson used his wiki as the vehicle for his professional learning delivery. Suddenly the whole picture became clear and the way in which to link it all became obvious.
The aim was to create a site where staff can go when they want to find out how to do something to enhance their teaching and learning. Working through the best way to set it up in terms of layout and linking pages took some time and is still open to alteration as suggestions arise. Affirmation during this process came from a teacher responding to an email link I had sent about how to create podcasts. She replied: “It would be good to have somewhere to put these links so we could find them when we need them”.
After several months of trial and error the site was ready to introduce to staff last term. We held a special afternoon tea and demonstrated how to find information. Since then visitors have had a look from all over the world, which is very exciting to see.
To anyone thinking about what to set up and how to do it, I would suggest that you just need to start. As with all things technological, change is continuous and there will be another new thing tomorrow! My preferred option was a wiki as I had used them more often in class than blogs or nings. It is a matter of personal preference and should not be a cause for concern or delay. Just develop your concept and see where it leads. There are many valuable spinoffs, most significantly the fact that cooperative planning and teaching is strengthened by the process.
Our next intention is to create something for students to access, most probably a blog!
Congratulations to Margaret and her staff on creating a visually appealing and useful wiki, with lots of Web 2.0 tools embedded such as Animoto and Slideshare. We look forward to featuring your blog!