Whatever happened to …

… Wikispaces?

Well, actually nothing just yet, but soon.

Back when the web was young in education, I led many a workshop on webpage/site creation.  It was such a simple process:

  • the keeper of the keys had to create a directory on the server for you
  • you got a login / password for each school which had their own directory
  • in the beginning, you had to teach how to set up an FTP client with local and remote directories, and the login and password – now you had a place to put your webpage
  • then, we used an editor to create the webpage.  I remember the editor that was part of Netscape as one of them
  • later, the Ministry of Education licensed Macromedia Dreamweaver and we could do much of this in the application
  • Macromedia Dreamweaver became Adobe Dreamweaver and so we upgraded
  • whew!

Granted, if you mastered all of the above, you could do wonderful things and many schools did.  Somewhere along the line came the concept of a “wiki” essentially meaning quick and popularized by The Wikipedia, the resource that teacher-librarians loved to hate.  Basically, you could create your own wiki website in a browser and cut out all the geekiness love described above.

I recall being at ISTE in a session where the presenter was comparing Wikispaces and PBWiki.  It wasn’t very objective; she slammed one and really promoted the other.  Which is which really doesn’t matter.  I used them both.  I put my public PD Wiki on PBWiki which became PBWorks and had a number of private wikis on Wikispaces.

I came home and set up some environments in both of these and liked them both.  What was she talking about?  This lent to even more workshops on wiki creation and productivity went wild.  The wiki environment was so simple to edit and time was spent developing content rather than worrying about the ins and outs of hardcore creation like we previously did.  Perhaps they didn’t have the potential for bells and whistles but you quickly got the job done.

So, it was with sadness that I read that Wikispaces, as we know it, will be closing.

Screenshot 2018-02-24 at 13.34.20

There’s plenty of notice before the formal closing so that you can get in and take out any content that you want to keep.

I checked in to see wikis that I had been part of …

Screenshot 2018-02-24 at 13.32.07

Yep.  We planned an entire conference in a wiki.  As I look down the list of other wikis I was a member of, I see many a Minds on Media event.

The good news is that a replacement environment TES.com will fill the big wikispaces shoes with TES Teach with Blendspace.

What are your thoughts for a Sunday?

  • Do you have a wiki?  On which platform or is it somewhere else?
  • Do you have a formal website which requires management with external tools?
  • Do you use WordPress or Blogger or Google Sites or … for your online home?
  • Do you worry about free services going away after a while?
  • What is your contingency plans in case that happens?
  • Do you backup your online presence in case it goes away?

I, and others visiting this blog, will be interested in your thoughts!

Please share them in the comments below.

This is a regular Sunday series of posts.  Check them all out here.

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

4 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Thanks for this post, Doug! I’ve set up many class websites on Wikispaces. It was just so easy to use. I didn’t realize that they were shutting down. I learned from my Storify experiences that nothing free lasts forever. This is another good reminder. Curious to hear about other people’s Wiki experiences.



  2. Hi Doug! Here are the answers from me to your questions.

    Do you have a wiki? = several. I actually keep my “all about me” on a wiki instead of something like LinkedIn (that wiki is http://mzmollytlsharespace.pbworks.com). My Minecraft Club students still write on the Minecraft Club Hub wiki as part of the deal for playing in school (http://minecraftclubhub.pbworks.com). Some of the other wikis are less active / dormant now.

    On which platform or is it somewhere else? = I preferred PB Works but used Wikispaces too. Sorry to hear it’s going away.

    Do you have a formal website which requires management with external tools? = My school website used to be built with Dreamweaver. Now TDSB prefers a central, unified look, so they take care of the back end side of things.

    Do you use WordPress or Blogger or Google Sites or … for your online home? = I have WordPress and Blogger accounts (good to be ambidextrous) and I’ve also used Google Sites. Treasure Mountain Canada used/uses Google Sites. GamingEdus and AML uses WordPress. For me, I really like Blogger. My biggest concern right now is that, now that I’m “retiring” from my volunteer job as the Teaching Librarian editor, my tingleditor Gmail account is deceiving. I can’t change the name easily as it is a Google address, not a subsidiary. I did a Twitter poll to see if I should just keep it or make a new one and migrate it. The winner was migrate it, but I’m having angst about how many things I’ll have to change to my new email address – all the things I’ve signed up with, the blogs, etc. etc.

    Do you worry about free services going away after a while? = Sometimes. I’m still wounded about the closing of Bitstrips for Schools (which I liked waaaaaay better than Pixton – sorry, Pixton). It went so fast that I couldn’t collect all the old comics I wanted to archive (so Jacob, if you are reading this, please let us grab our files for a quick, one week period, please!)

    What is your contingency plans in case that happens? = Wish I had one!
    Do you backup your online presence in case it goes away? = I print my blogs as a birthday gift to myself once a year. I did a Twournal for the first part of my tweeting, but I’d love to back up all my Tweets in a print format. Now you’ve got me paranoid Doug!

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  3. I’ve moved onto the self-hosted WordPress blog through our Board’s Commons. I’m now just posting the content there. This way, I’m not relying on other free sites that may cease to exist at some point. Thankfully I have not used my Wiki materials in a while, and have moved most links over to a Commons blog. This was definitely less upsetting for me than Storify, but Diana’s comment shows just how much others have used and relied on Wikis.



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