Offline Wiki

I came up with this activity when there were no computers available, and having tested it a few times I really like it.

Section of Offline Wiki

The idea is to create a Wiki using paper, string and blu-tack, whilst retaining as much of the functionality of a Wiki as possible. The main features of a Wiki are:

  • they contain pages with titles
  • the pages can contain text and images
  • pages contain keywords which link to other pages
  • pages can be edited by anyone

I’ve used this activity at the end of a topic. It seems to work best with the class divided into medium sized groups of about 5 or 6. Each group is given a section of the topic to work on.

Their task is to create Wiki pages about things in their section of the topic. Each Wiki page (I gave them recycled A5 paper to work on) must have a clear title, and the keywords highlighted somehow (either by underlining or using a different colour etc). This fulfils the first two features of a Wiki.

After creating a page they then look for other pages in their Wiki that they can link it to with string and blu-tack. Keywords link to the top of the page about that keyword – they do not link to other instances of keywords on other pages. So each keyword should only link to one page, but pages can be linked to by many keywords. This satisfies the third Wiki feature.

After the groups have had enough time to create a few pages and link them together I rotate them, so they are looking at a Wiki made by another group. They can then do the last thing that is key to Wikis – editing.

Students check the pages for accuracy and change them if necessary. They can add any links that have been missed, and even ‘delete’ pages that they consider off-topic. Groups then have time to add a few more pages before being rotated again – if there’s time they can be rotated through all the Wikis and then end up back at their original Wiki to see how it turned out.

The resulting Wikis have a certain aesthetic appeal, and achieve lots of the core functionality of their online counterparts without the need for a computer. The thing I like about Wikis (online and offline) is the fact that students have some sense of ownership over the pages they have created, so if somebody disagrees with them and starts to modify their page it can result in great discussions (or even arguments) about that aspect of the topic.

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