Even though Web 2.0 tool have been around for a while, many still have difficulty with the capabilities of each. After all, there is considerable overlap in these capabilities. A recent post on Free Technology for Teachers pointed readers to an excellent chart which compares and contrasts blogs, wikis, and Google Docs.
My personal feeling is that between the ease and increased flexibility afforded to blog users and the improvements to Google Docs, those two tools used in conjunction provide the benefits that a wiki would offer. I would be welcome to hear other sides of that argument.
With a blog, I don’t have to have a “big picture” plan for how the site will eventually look. I just start, and through consistent use of tagging posts with subjects, I can easily see all posts related to a certain subject at any later time.
In addition, I am more concerned with maintaining a collection of my finished work than a collection of all of the various drafts. This point makes my blog the choice over a wiki.
Finally, Google Docs fills the voids I see with a blog. The first of those being there is no place to post separate documents you have created and want others to access. Simply post them on Google Docs and provide links from your blog. Blogs allow collaboration through narrative comments, but do not allow readers to actually go in and make changes to a work in progress. Google Docs specializes in that sort of thing.
Technology has brought us countless new tools. From the standpoint of someone who likes to keep things simple, pick the few that give the most bang for the buck and really get to know those inside out. For me, that meant getting really good with my blogs. Before retiring from public education, I was actively contributing to three blogs. I did not venture out to learn all of the available hosts for my blogs. I have simply stuck with Blogger from the beginning, watched its capabilities grow, and tried to stay abreast of those capabilities.
For those still a little hazy on what a blogs, wikis, or Google Docs will do, hopefully the chart presented here will help.