My #fedwikihappening experience

I was lucky to have been a part of a very, very messy learning experience this holiday season.  This learning experience was not a MOOC but rather a connectivist learning experience called “a happening” per Mike Caulfield.

The happening was a semi-structured community learning experience using Federated Wiki as an authoring tool.  The goal of the happening, if I understand fully, was to get several people together that would write and “fork” each other’s writing.

For those who are not familiar with #fedwiki it is a new wiki tool that makes use of javascript. Watch the video below for a short demo.

I found the technology less than intuitive.  I spent much of my time accidentally writing over my own pages numerous times.  I attempted to create new pages that would disappear, I added a comment to Jenny Mackness’s page, and tried to fork pages to add comments to them in different ways. I even attempted to add a background to my page multiple times but continued to have the “orange halo” issue.  It was forking frustrating!

As I made mistakes, rewrote posts and overwrote my work again and again, I kept wondering how difficult it would be to use this technology for education until the UI/UX became more simplified.

I have to give some serious credit to Mike Caulfield and Ward Cunningham not only for holding regular hangouts (which I did not attend and I wish I had) but for also jumping on a google hangout when I was stuck.  In order to better understand forking of pages on #fedwiki, I turned to Alan Levine’s post: Federated Wiki in Motion (like a bent fork).

This was my messiest learning experience to date.  I needed to focus on the fundamentals of the tools before we got started but rather I started by creating content that I deleted many times.  I really wish I had created the content in word so that I wouldn’t have to recreate pages over and over.  This focus on recreating content that was lost kept me for connecting ideas and reading others posts and pages.  I understand from Maha Bali and Jenny Mackness’s blog posts that the collaborative idea generation was the best part of #fedwiki.  I feel like I may have been drowning in the shallow end of the pool during this experience and missed out on the best part.

Now that I’m getting a hang of the technology, I’d love to continue or join another “happening”.

4 comments for “My #fedwikihappening experience

  1. January 2, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Hi Whitney – I sympathise and empathise with your experience. It has just occurred to me that I had no idea you were having these difficulties. I simply thought you had decided not to participate. And having that thought has made me realise how much I relied on a small amount of backchanneling to be able to do anything in the wiki. Mike Caulfield and Paul Rodwell helped me out in a Hangout and Mike was very good at answering emails very promptly which was very helpful and I really appreciated – and I had some Skype calls with Frances Bell, who I work with anyhow, outside of this event. Without this backchanneling I think I would have thrown in the towel. I think this has implications for how the technology can be used.

    • wkilgore
      January 10, 2015 at 4:30 am

      Thanks for your comment Jenny. I think that I would have benefitted from reaching out to you or others for help. I’ll make a note that I should ask for help more in 2015.

  2. January 4, 2015 at 2:53 am

    I love this idea… a happening

    It can be as big or as small as need to create the groundswell that moves forward an idea… or a experience.

    I continue to grow my understanding of technology y immersing myself in something new that strikes me as important.

    This year I adopted the mantra ‘A Year of Possibilities’ & plan to celebrate my own learning by taking part in the photo a day challenge.

    When we choose the learning it is meaningful and important to who we are & what we do. It is the tipping point:)

    Glad you enjoyed… looking forward to connecting further on the journey!

  3. January 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    I love your statement “This was my messiest learning experience to date” because I understand this entirely – you started knowing nothing and had to learn it all along the way, in full visibility of the world. It is intriguing, I’d love to try it out too. But more than that I love that you’re willing to take risks and write about them – thanks!

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