How does it stack up when compared with two of the current most popular wiki providers to educators?
I spent quite a bit of time on their forums, there were some helpful users but the prevalence of spam made it look like the support staff were not keeping on top of things. They have since migrated the forums to a more professional looking provider so let's hope that support has improved.
I am now really looking forward to PBwiki 2.0. I received notification of an impending invite to the beta so I'll let you know how it goes once I have signed up and played around. One of the most highly anticipated features is page level access which seems to have been implemented with teachers in mind. It will enable the admin to restrict a student's access to only their pages, their group's pages, or their course pages depending on what you want the wiki to do.
Wikispaces: I have been using Wikispaces more often than PBwiki of late because I like the clean lines, all of it's components seem better integrated and because they give so much more storage space. It also looks a little like Wikipedia so students have that instant recognition of what it is for.
The lack of variety in fonts and colours is a double-edged feature. On the negative side, pages can look downright boring, on the positive side, students spend less time mucking around with formatting and concentrate on the content. Embedding HTML elements has always gone smoothly for me, unlike once or twice when PBwiki did not like what I was trying to embed.
Google Sites: What can Google possibly have to this offer in this already mature field?
- Seamless integration of Google Apps
- A huge wealth of expertise in making things just work
- A nice interface
So far, in the limited time that I have been testing it out, the WYSIWYG editor has worked as advertised. Tables have behaved properly and uploading files has been a cinch. Embedding Youtube videos was, of course, effortless.
But then they have gone and done something weird. Google sites is only open to organisations signed up to Google apps. I can't just sign in with my Google ID. As an individual I can't make my own Google site, to organise a family reunion, say without buying a domain. You need a corporate or education domain so as a teacher I was able to set one up using my school email address and the domain of my school. Its odd but I guess they have their reasons. No doubt the news is out there and I just haven't read it yet.