Blogs, Wikis, or Google Docs - Oh My!

I’m often asked by educators why I use wikis, blogs, AND Google docs. “Why not just pick one?”. The answer is because I use each in different ways. Each of these platforms can be used for numerous purposes. Here is how I use them.

Use: I use my blog to share original information that I feel will be useful for a wide audience. I can place links in other platforms as appropriate to my blog posts.
Ownership: I am the master of my blog along with contributing editors and readers can participate by leaving comments.
Service I Use: Blogger
Cost: FREE for Everyone!

Use: I use wikis for group projects where multiple people are collecting and growing information. Wikis provide a very easy way for all of those involved to contribute. Wikis serve as containers that hold information that would be useful to those working on shared projects. My wiki has links to blog posts and Google docs. Another nice feature of the wiki site I use is the “discussion tab.” This enables contributors to discuss items related to the wiki page they are contributing to.
Ownership: There are administrators and contributors. The administrator(s) establish settings for contributors. Generally everyone has access to add and contribute information.
Service I Use: Wikispaces
Cost: FREE for Educators!

Use: I use Google docs 1) just as others might use MS Word 2) to write collaboratively. I am writing my book using Google docs which enables my co-author and I to collaboratively provide input into the book chapters. I also use Google docs to collaborate with others who write guest posts for my blog. One of favorite uses of Google docs is to bring people together from around the world to contribute on a shared piece of work. Here are some examples of that: What is nice about Google docs is that you can see the cursor where other contributors are on the page and there is a chat feature so you can chat about your writing. There is also a revision history so you can see how the document has grown and who has contributed what.
Ownership: There is the document creator who can invite others to contribute.
Service I Use:
Cost: FREE for Everyone!

Over at the Free Technology for Teachers blog, Richard Byrne shares some more useful information for those wanting to know whether they should use a blog or wiki for a particular class or project. He shares Blogs, Wikis, or Docs: Which is right for your lesson? This is a great chart from Dr. Mark Wagner that outlines the features of each platform, each platform's drawbacks, and examples of each platform in use.
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