Qwiki co-founder, Doug Imbruce, defines his Quick Wiki as resource which turns “static information into a beautiful interactive experience” (Youtube video Qwiki Demo with Doug Imbruce). His inspiration was to create a research tool which aggregated the key elements of all information searches – maps, pictures, texts, and links – into one multi-media presentation. At first glance, Imbruce certainly seems to be redefining the future of on-line research. Quick, slick and visually appealing, it is far more enjoyable to read, or should I say experience, than a Wikipedia search. However, in its public alpha stage, it is pretty clear it has much work to do before it can be deemed the online research tool of choice.
As Imbruce outlined in his presentations, Qwiki certainly attempts to be an information experience for its users. The audio narrative, the variety of images, timelines and scrolling text, are congruent with the type of multi-media presentations our Net generation of learners expect. However, as mentioned by others, there still are many limitations. Although I appreciate Qwiki is in its infancy stage, I experienced similar frustrations expressed by others – annoying and quick voice reading with numerous mispronunciations, superficial research details, and lack of verifiable contributors. My children (ages 7 and 10) served as my testers, and they quickly identified its flaws; furthermore, it is certainly not ready for more sophisticated researchers, high school and college students. However, I think once Qwiki catches up (similar to Wikipedia in its early stages when it proclaimed my small Saskatchewan hometown to be the gold mining capital of Canada – false!), it will surpass other Wikis as the source of choice due to its experiential style. In particular, I see great potential as a resource for struggling readers, EAL students, and as an adaptations tool to scaffold learning – perhaps simplifying facts for readers and serving as a preliminary foundation of knowledge on which the student can build.
To try Qwiki out for yourself, try clicking on the link to Qwiki Homepage and type in your topic of choice. Let me know your thoughts!
Finally, in my attempt to create a quick search for my students on the subject of William Shakespeare, I devised the following concept map which allows students to click on links to web sites, videos clips, timelines, and text information on related topics – Shakespeare’s life, Elizabethan times, the Globe Theatre, and his lasting impact on literature and drama. Check out the attached document below: