As an administrator, one of the big things that I have to work very hard at is sharing information among the different staff. Because so many different things come across my path during the day, it’s sometimes hard to get the information dispersed to different staff members. One method of doing this is via a wiki that where information can be added and accessed at the convenience of the staff.
There are many different wiki sites out there that are used by educators – pbworks, wikispaces, wetpaint – to name just a few. My preference is pbworks because I like the interface and the ease of use.
Calendar – this is the one thing that I really like about using a wiki. In a school, with so many different things going on and so many different people involved, the calendar function is great. It allows you to add whatever you would like to the day. With many of the calendar plugins, there is an option for the information to be synced with other online calendars that can then be linked to mobile devices or a homepage. For me, being able to have access to what is happening at the school allows me to be able to use that information in various settings, like meetings or when making plans with my family. I know what is coming up at the school and if I will be attending a meeting or if there is something that I will need to plan for in the future. Because the school calendar syncs with my own calendar, I have the option to view it or not which means that, if I want to, I can turn it off so the school items don’t show up.
Another great thing about the calendar is that it allows teachers and other staff to see what is happening at the school and add their own items without there being a lot of added work for them. It also is great when teachers begin to use the calendar to post upcoming exams or trips. It really does help everyone, from the teachers and their planning to Student Support being aware of the many things that are happening and when they may need to provide extra help.
Because you can limit who can view the wiki and see what is on the wiki to only those people you invite, information is not for the public. This doesn’t mean that confidential information should be shared and people must be aware that, like all things online, they must be professional in what they are saying. It does, however, provide a safe environment in which staff and share information about what is happening at the school, meeting dates and times, agendas, club information, upcoming sporting events and other information that helps people be aware of what is happening around the school. And, because you can set to receive notification emails to be sent to you when information is added or changes, you will know about changes without having to visit the wiki, something that I find very useful in a busy day. The notifications allow me see what has been added and, if needed, I can then respond to the information or know that there is something that needs my attention. Very handy indeed.
I also like the fact that it is accessible from any computer. So, if I need information about something that would be on the wiki, I can log in and have access to that information or I can access the information on my mobile.
So, if you are looking for a safe, easy way to share information with the people at the school, give a wiki a try. They are easy to use and provide a number of options for use in a variety of ways. Because you can upload files and share them, meeting agendas, sports/tournament draws or meeting information can be shared so that people will always know where to find a copy of the information in the event they ever misplace their paper copy!