I’ve been looking at two different Wiki sites lately for use at our school and thought I would review them here for you.
I’ve been using Wikispaces.com for just about a year now for tech support of our staff. They have a special upgrade for teachers in the K-12 field which is very enticing. The pricing before the educational special is as follows:
The upgrade for teachers is to the Plus account which adds some good features in being ad-free, full privacy, SSL security and custom themes. The increase in storage space for uploaded files to 20 MB is a nice upgrade also. The actual “Total File Storage” stays at 2 GB for the Plus plan, but that is quite a lot of space.
The second wiki site I’ve been looking at is PBwiki.com. I’ve just started using PBwiki, having setup a school wiki for our AP to use as a site for parents to come to for lesson plans and ideas from their child’s teacher on how to study for those lessons. The PBwiki site does not offer a special free upgrade for educators to a normally paid plan unfortunately. Their plan structure is as follows:
As you can see, the PBwiki site is more expensive $9.95/month versus $5.00 per month for Wikispaces. Everything on the PBwiki site is more expensive than on Wikispaces for that matter.
They also have different approaches to creating your wiki. The first difference you will notice is that PBwiki makes it easier to create and edit your wiki. They are using a new “point and click” interface that is very easy to use and includes some great plugins. Some of those include a Calendar, Google gadgets, Chats, Math Equations and YouTube videos.
On the other side, Wikispaces is more like a real wiki in which you do have a visual editor, but you have to know some wiki language to get some of the same effects that you can get in PBwiki. In Wikispaces, I do like that you can use the text editor to code things like anchors to places on the same page in the wiki without using a Table of Contents.
I haven’t tried coding an anchor in PBwiki yet, but if I didn’t know how to do it I would have to look around to find help on the subject. The “classic mode” on PBwiki is the basic text editor which from the little I looked at it, didn’t impress me. It doesn’t use line breaks to separate your text or code into readable form, whereas the Wikispaces text editor looks like your actual wiki page in spacing things out so that you can read them and find what you are looking for.
Speaking of help, I believe the help files (wiki pages) on Wikispaces is richer than the FAQ that is used with PBwiki. I did a search for “Anchor” on PBwiki and it could not find anything for me (see picture). On the other hand I found a complete tutorial on the Wikispaces wiki about anchors. This to me means that the authors of PBwiki would rather you do all your work in their new “Point and Click” mode. While that is all well and good, it does limit you when you want to do something like anchors and can’t find it.
In my opinion, both of these wiki platforms are well worth a try. I believe they both have advantages and disadvantages. If you are a more seasoned user, you will probably like Wikispaces better. If you want the ease of use with the point and click environment then you will like PBwiki better. My overall choice is Wikispaces for it’s free upgrade for educators, its better integration of help files and its easier to use text editor for more advanced editing.
The rankings are based on 1 being the best and 5 being the worst.