Five things Local Authorities should know about implementing Wikis

NottsWikis

by Craig Wilkie, Nottinghamshire Wiki Coordinator

Nottinghamshire County Council began an ambitious roll out of Wikis in October 2014.Whilst we’ve had some great successes – we know that there’s still some way to go to ensure every young person who would benefit from a Wiki has access to one.I’m often asked how we went about the roll out of Wikis in Nottinghamshire, so thought I would share five key tips within this blog post.
  1. Get parents and young people on-board and engaged from the start of your project. We began our rollout with a rapid pilot working with parents and young people.  Their input gave us the insight that we needed to realise our ambitions and roll out Wikis on a wider scale.
  2. Communicate at every opportunity about what is happening.  We used a Wiki as an information portal for the public to learn about our plans, to enable parents and professionals to find out how to access support and more importantly sign up to access a Wiki online. (www.nottswikis.org is a good reference)
  3. Engage with other services in education, health and care. We worked hard to share the good news about our Wiki rollout, reaching out to our Healthcare colleagues through links with the local Hospital school and Social care colleagues through other County Council service leaders. The impact is that more professionals feel confident when invited to view a Wiki website by a parent or individual with special educational needs and disabilities.
  4. Get local champions to offer support.  We engaged with amazing schools and organisations who offered to open their doors and share internet and computers with parents and young people. With access to the internet and some friendly advice – Wikis began to take shape.
  5. Take a long view – It takes time, strong leadership and commitment to develop the momentum to rollout Wikis. Some parents can be wary of new technology. Stick with it! We found that many parents and young people just needed time to think through the benefits of Wikis before they started one!
 Highlights from the past 9 monthsI’m particularly proud that Wikis are now embedded and being actively used with parents, schools and professionals in 7 Nottinghamshire district councils with some incredible stories being generated.We have also seen excellent engagement with the National Hospital Schools Network and I’m very happy that the information portal is very much a live hub from which support and resource can be drawn from.
My Advice?Plant the seeds and you’ll soon find that Wikis will be popping up all over your Borough or County. Wikis demonstrate that a magical blend of text, videos, images and audio really can bring the hopes, dreams and aspirations of young people to life