St. Francois Xavier Community School is using PBwiki as the school’s website for students, parents, and faculty. It’s been a smooth integration for them with a lot of things learned through the way. John Evans, the administrator of sfxschool.pbworks.com spent sometime with us to go over his experience with PBwiki.
PBwiki: What’s sfxschool.pbworks.com about?
John Evans: sfxschool.pbworks.com is our school web page. I’ve taken the information that I had for several years on a free hosting site and moved it over to PBwiki because I liked the ease of editing and contributing it allowed myself as the admin, as well as the freedom it gave the teachers and students who would be able to make contributions to the wiki.
PBwiki: How do you use your PBwiki?
John Evans: Similar to the response above, we are using the wiki as our website primarily for its ease of use, and the levels of access available to a multitude of users. Currently only the professional staff in our school has authorization to post on the wiki. With further training, my expectation is that staff will begin to use the wiki with their students at least in grades 4 – 6.
PBwiki: Why’d you choose PBwiki?
John Evans: PBWiki was the wiki of choice for several colleagues of mine teaching ICT to staff and students. I looked at others and felt PBWiki was the easiest to use. I originally thought wikis would be hard to use but taught myself the basics in about an hour by looking at the code of other wikis, saw the potential and took off from there.
PBwiki: How many people are active on your wiki?
John Evans: See Above for our school wiki users. I have several other free wikis that I have had students in grade 4 work on. The first group last year at http://rockhound.pbworks.com did some great stuff for their first time working with a wiki. They were really pumped with the content they produced and proudly showed it off to their parents.
PBwiki: What has been the biggest surprise for you in using PBwiki?
John Evans: While not really a surprise, the best part was when teachers say to me “You mean I don’t have to wait for a week or more to have the IT guy approve my website before they add it to the school site? I can do it myself!”
In our latest series of training with K-8 teachers on wikis we had planned a half day, but teacher were so into it we allowed them to have the whole day. When I asked one of the originally reluctant teachers what they liked most about the day, she excitedly said “Wikis! I LOVE Wikis!!”
PBwiki: Would you tell others about PBwiki?
John Evans: I use PBWiki in all the workshop training we do in our school division. It’s easy, straight forward and now with the new editor should be even easier to use. I rave about PBWiki all the time to other teachers.
PBwiki: Have you used our new Point-and-Click editor? What are you thoughts on it?
John Evans: â€¦I like the new plug-ins you’ve included. I will be looking at it this week as I prepare for our divisional SY Technology training session on Friday.
PBwiki: With so many people contributing to your wiki is it difficult to manage?
John Evans: When I had the free version of the wiki, I had one student who maliciously changed the pages of other students in his class. He was in grade 4 and followed my instructions to login so he was easily tracked and discovered. This is why I went to the upgraded version of PBWiki purchasing a Silver package for the school. The various login levels make it safer for everyone, including teachers who are more leery of the technology.
PBwiki: How long did it take to implement PBwiki at St. FranÃ§ois Xavier?
John Evans: It took me about 2 weeks time – a bit here and there to transfer all my materials over to the wiki. Now things are so easy to maintain. I subscribe to the various pages in my RSS aggregator and I can see whose made changes and if necessary make corrections or edits. I really like the lockable pages that came with the Gold upgrade which I received in the presenterâ€™s package. We’re still technically in the implementation stage as our staff is still learning how to do things with the wiki. Our next session is going to be on uploading images and files. Though it is easy, if staff don’t do it on a regular basis they soon forget.