The use of a wiki to support communication and learning in the music department at Chisnallwood Intermediate has transformed our ability to keep in touch with students, parents, caregivers and the wider community (both locally and internationally), and has greatly simplified organising the many events that we are involved in. It turned out to be a huge asset in the week of the Christchurch earthquake.

In 2005 we completed building a new Performing Arts Block, and this process benefited from learning from other schools. It involved a lot of research, and I wanted other music block designers to be able to get information about our facilities and their design in a much more accessible fashion. This was an early motivator for putting detailed information about our facilities on the web. At the time Chisnallwood had a website which was based on Flash, and this meant it couldn’t be indexed easily by search engines, and was difficult to update and post news items.

This meant that initially I had to set up a separate static site to make information available about the performing arts centre. After a while, our school website hosts (Zodal) offered me a Wordpress site. I found this was a very useful way to keep in touch with parents and community, but then in 2010 the Zodal site temporarily closed for a few months – just at the same time as our staff were all getting the opportunity to learn to use wikis and other technologies through the ICT contract. I realized that I should take advantage of this and I had a fabulous lesson with Nick Leith from eTime on using Wikispaces. He taught me how to set up a wiki, and I could see that because other teachers were using this system, students (and therefore parents) would be familiar with it through class wikis and could therefore easily navigate my new Chisnallwood Music Wikispace.

The applications of the wiki are outlined in the word document below: