A wiki is a collaborative website whose contents can be edited by anyone who has access to it (Dictionary.com). Will Richardson explains in Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, that the term “wiki” actually comes from the Hawaiian wiki-wiki, which means “quick.” First created by Ward Cunningham in 1995, a wiki was intended to serve as an easy authoring tool to encourage people to publish. A wiki is a website where anyone can edit anything anytime they want.
Wikis have all sorts of uses, but they are websites intended to allow for changes. Thus, they are perfect for situations or tasks which require collaboration from a group of people. They allow people to compile and edit each other’s ideas.
Although older technologies, such as email, exist to aid those who wish to work collaboratively, wikis are considered the “new way.” In the video, Wikis in Plain English, Lee LeFever explains, “email is not good at coordinating and organizing a group’s input. Important information gets scattered over everyone’s inbox. This is the old way! Boo! A wiki allows for better coordination. They make it easy for everyone to change what appears on a web page with the click of button.” LeFever also explains in the Wetpaint Wikis in Plain English video, “…a wiki is a type of website where everyone can easily pitch in… a useful and organized site created by a group… its like a potluck dinner on the web.”