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Mashing up data on wikispaces

This has been advertised elswewhere on this VLN. The NZ Mix and Mash competition has just started. You have till September 19th to submit your entry.

The thing is that you don't need  complex technology or advanced technical skills to make great projects. It's more about having a nice idea that is within the skills of your team. 

With wikispaces, you can provide pretty much any custom html content. This includes html and script. This makes it a good environment to try and teach how to write for the web.

What is good about wikispaces is that it already includes jQuery. jQuery is a library that makes it very easy to manipulate page content, programmatically. I know, I just used the much dreaded "p" word. Most of us, adults, have grown up in a world were we have learned to stay away from programs because they are very complex things. Less and less so.

jQuery, in particular, let you do quite cool stuff with minimum time, money, or infrastructure  investment. There are huge number of plugins contributed by the community. Most of them require very little adaptation (less than an hour of work) to be made to work in wikispaces.It is really worth considering using it to give mini-IT projects to teens. 

On wikispaces, no install is required (you only need aware that you need to use jQuery instead of the $ shortcut). It is also possible to put community websites like jsfiddle or jsdo.it to good uses. It provides you with an online authoring environment and plenty of cool mini-projects and experiments contributed by the community, that you can just fork at the click of a button. You can easily set up a base project that works that students are invited to adapt and modify. 

Some examples of mash ups projects that could easily be done with jQuery :

 And for how to link it to NCEA units:

For instance the Unit "Analyse perspectives of people in an historical setting" could be investigating by using the photos on the National Library NZ flickr stream or to map content from digitalNZ on a timeline..