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January's HOT TOPIC is Wikis

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Wikis by Eleanor Thain, Wandsworth’s Wiki Co-Ordinator

As I’m not sure what you already know about Wikis, I’ll start with some background, which you can skip if you already know about it.  (Press “Control” and click on the links in this article to go to the Local Offer and RIX websites). 

What is a Wiki?

RIX Wikis are simple, accessible, secure, and easy to build personal websites.   A child or young person with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) or the parent or carer of someone with SEND, can use a Wiki for person centred planning.  A Wiki can include information about a child or young person’s education, health or social care, all three or just one or two of these elements, depending on their needs.  A Wiki can also speak for them if they can’t or find it difficult.  A Wiki can show their abilities, dreams and personalities in a way that paper or more formal records can’t.

Who created Wikis?

RIX Research and Media developed RIX Wikis, and almost two years ago, Wandsworth bought a package of Wikis, support and training from RIX and started using Wikis. We now have around 400 used in the borough.  They are a multi-media advocacy tool, developed with and for people with learning and other special educational needs and disabilities.  You can use them to create multi-media person-centred plans that use pictures, words, documents, videos and sound to capture your, or your child's or young person’s, voice, skills, aspirations and needs.  Link to RIX Media’s website.

Who can have a Wandsworth Wiki and how much does it cost?

Wandsworth’s Wikis are free if you are 0 to 24 years old, have a special educational need or disability and live in Wandsworth, go to a Wandsworth School or attend a Wandsworth provision, like a nursery or youth group.  If you have created a wiki, want to keep it after you are 25, leave Wandsworth or leave your Wandsworth provision, you can pay RIX to keep your wiki going; currently this subscription costs £60 per year.

Who can edit and change a Wiki?

The Wiki Owner and the Wiki Keeper can edit their Wiki.  They know their Wiki’s “Username” and password.  If they forget the password, they can have a link sent to the email used to set up the Wiki, to reset the password.

The Wiki Keeper is often a parent, particularly if the Wiki Owner is not yet in nursery or school but it could be a sibling or friend (18 or over) nursery worker, family support worker, teacher, youth worker, support worker, personal assistant, learning support assistant or other trusted adult.

Wiki Keepers can also be the Wiki Owner, but there must be a separate Keeper:

  • if the Wiki Owner is under 18 or
  • Is over 18 and needs support.

The Wiki Keeper must have completed a Rix Wiki registration form, whether by registering for a wiki on the Wandsworth Portal, or using the form given to them by the Portal Manager at their nursery, school, college or other setting, which sets out the terms of use, and other e-safety measures to observe.  Link to the Rix Wiki Registration Form.

Only the Wiki Owner and Wiki Keeper will have access to build, edit and update a Wiki, using materials like photos, videos, recordings or documents from their phones, tablets or computers, either created by them or sent from school, family, friends,  health services or other organisations working with the Wiki Owner. 

What can Wikis do?

Wikis enable children, young people and their families to contribute to planning about them. Wikis can be shared with family, friends, teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, foster carers, teaching assistants, youth leaders, short breaks providers or potential employers. 

A Wiki can be about:

  • Skills and achievements, like a CV,
  • preferred communication methods,
  • triggers for getting upset or angry,
  • longstanding or urgent medical needs,
  • what or who is important to you,
  • how you need to be lifted or moved,
  • what you want to do next,
  • what you want to do next year or further ahead,
  • what you can do
  • and much more, it's up to the Wiki Owner and Keeper to decide!

Wiki Owners (the child or young person) and Wiki Keepers can “invite” anyone, by email, to view all or part of their Wiki – and withdraw the invitation and access to view, when they want to.

So far we are having a lot of interest from the older age group, aged 16+ at Aurora (South Thames College’s non-residential, specialist centre for 16-25 year olds with an autistic spectrum disorder and/or complex needs) , and through youth groups like Unique, Baked Bean Company and Generate.  Bradstow, our Kent located Wandsworth school is using Wikis for all but one or two of their pupils.  Bradstow Wikis are being used to hold all their pupils’ information.   Linden Lodge and Greenmead schools are using them with some of their pupils. 

There are Wiki Portal Managers at the schools, colleges and settings mentioned above as well as the Schools and Community Psychology Service, Little Hillbrook, Hilary House, St John Bosco College, Paddock Schools (Little, Primary and Secondary), Generate Youth, Unique Youth, Baked Bean Youth, Smallwood School Language Unit, Ravenstone ASD Unit, Siward Road Nursery and Victoria Drive PRU.  Portal Managers can issue and accept Wiki Registration forms, issue Wikis, Wiki training courses and support the Wiki Owners and Keepers in their setting.

There is an area on the Local Offer website – Wandsworth’s Wikis .This is where we have links to the website of the creators of our wikis, Rix Research & Media, examples of how wikis are being used and support information.  

This is a link to a Wiki about using a Wiki - https://www.rixwiki.org/wandsworth/home/fresh-wiki/

For most people, the best way to understand Wikis is to use one, so please either ask your Wiki Portal Manager to set one up for you, or for you or your child or young person.  Or sign up using the Online Portal.

What can I do with a Wiki?

You can add pictures, videos, recordings, words, documents, links to websites.  And, you can change, edit or remove words, pictures, videos, recordings, documents and links.  You can change the title, the colour and any of the content to keep your Wiki up to date. 

Your Wiki is about you, and can be as colourful, plain, tidy or untidy as you like.

If you want to know more, please ask your Portal Manager or email wikis@wandsworth.gov.uk

Can’t find what you are looking for? Contact us:

fis@wandsworth.gov.uk 
020 8871 7899
Text us on 07797 805 456 - text FIS at the beginning of your message

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