Much of software development is open, meaning that anybody is allowed to take code that someone else has written and modify it for their own purposes. This is similar to the idea of open content in education: open textbooks, open educational resources, open pedagogy. When someone performs a modification of this type we celebrate it as a success, and call it a “fork” (based not on the utensil, but on the idea of a fork in the road).
Open education is different from software development, however, in that the most commonly used tools in software make it trivial to fork and revise content content from others. In open education we have generally focused on the rights that individuals have to remix content, while not providing or using publishing tools that make it easy to fork content in ways that make sense to non-programming communities.
Wikity attempts to apply the tools and logic of forking to WordPress, the world’s most popular web content platform. Content published in Wikity is easily forked to new sites while maintaining an attribution trail and keeping track of past versions. So sign up for an account. Then:
- Write up a list of the best indie albums of the 1990s. Watch as someone forks that content and turns it into their best of list. Watch as readers now can browse a connected set of divergent lists.
- Write an explainer of how the refugee application process works. Watch as others fork your material and improve it with additional references, or pull it into their own site.
- Post an interesting video you found, along with a summary. Watch as others fork it into their course spaces.
Want to get started? Sign up up for a site by plugging your desired name in front of “wikity.cc”.
For instance, going to http://myname.wikity.cc will prompt you to enter your email and claim that site.
Once you get your site, login and read the document on Wikity Syntax, and make sure you understand the Free to All document. And you’re good to go!