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One side of Wikis which I think may be more attractive to teachers than information anarchy (with all the issues about child protection etc.) is to use some wikisoftware for students to explore url architecture. I tried a maze on Twiki and Kwiki and have finally settled on using a stripped down version of MoinMoin at [Maze Wiki]. -- AndrewCates

Simple Implementation

A 4x4 maze contains 16 cells. When the user moves from cell to cell, the wiki page has to show his current position and offer links to move to neighbouring cells. This can be accomplished by defining 16 pages, one for each cell. They are best created from a template, that is reused.

There can be hints at each cell which help the user to choose the right direction.

Possible Goals

This can be used to learn about the wiki by creating the maze:

(1) how to create pages
(2) how to link pages (learn about URLs and named links)
(3) how to work with tables, maybe also about font size
(4) how to work with a template, that is used as a basis for all pages

This can be used to learn about some chosen topic by solving the maze:

(1) users go through the maze using hints (find correct answers to questions)


[3x3 Maze with hints]

[5x5 maze without hints]

I've locked it out (so my kids can play, sorry) but a really simple maze e.g. which could be knocked up quickly by a school child is at [3x3 Maze with hints]. I've also put in some simple maths questions as clues for the younger one.

Anything with colours could be awkward for a colour-blind child, but I was disappointed that your use of colours seems to be random (and not even consistent in the 3x3 maze) - I was hoping for some subtle significance, but found none. I was also baffled by the use of "WWW", which just confuses, and the absence of a proper 2,2 cell in the 5x5 maze. It's also disappointing that there are no islands and the shortest route also consists entirely of moves down or right. Has your older child twigged that drawing the maze (with walls indicated) would help? I think some educational Easter eggs would be a good idea. The first could explain what the word "maze" means! Goals and rewards are important motivational features.

Anyone else tried using Wikis for Maths students to build their own multi-D mazes?

Seems like a good idea to me (would do since I had it) and it is a good introduction to URLs and web architecture. I'll put up some more when I've got time and then talk to their schools. -- AndrewCates

Teachers and pupils will like that idea. Thank you for sharing it. How much time did it take you to create these two mazes? Would a single page maze definition help? -- HelmutLeitner

Well it took a while (say half an hour) but explaining what you are doing to a little kid (age 5) does slow you up and next time I'll use a more intelligent template. Not sure what you mean by a single page definition. Quickest route for a child mind [might?] be a complete maze as a starting point and they only overwrite with zero where you cannot do. Happy to give you edit access to show me (but I have set the HTML macro on "on" so at present general access isn't really on) -- ac

Yes, I'd be interested at looking at the definition text. I think for a 4x4 maze you use 16 pages (if only to give no clues) and state is in the page name: (2,3) in "Maze...23" means the current position. One could put all definitions in one page "Maze..." and and pass the state in the command line as "browse=Maz...&mazestate=2,3". This could make definitions easier by removing most redundancies. Of course this is only interesting, if one wants to use it over and over, to actually put it in the hand of lots of people, like teachers in all schools - then any simplification pays.

Suggesting a CDML-element for routine production of mazes

A simple CDML-maze element syntax might look like:



  [11=Clue: What is 4+7?; ->12=11; ->21=10 ]
  [12=Clue: What is 16-9?; ->11=5; ->23=7  ]
  [13=Clue: What is 4x3?; ->12=10; ->23=12 ]
  [23=Clue: What is 20-3?; ->13=13; ->33=17 ]

-- HelmutLeitner


Have emailed you a password but CDML is beyond me.

Andrew, thank you for the password. I just looked at the source text. It's what I expected, though I didn't know that MoinMoin has so specific syntax for tables, colors and font sizes. Typically a wiki text is parsed (searched) 20-30 times for the different markups and each extension adds another search. CDML is just a general syntax for extensions that uses just one search for all extensions [[element][par=val][...]body] which means that extensions are very easy to develop, they can be very specific and have zero cost for pages that don't use them. We'll do a lot of that for e-learning ([example]) at schools and universities (WikiSchool?). -- HelmutLeitner

thinking some more I am not sure you want to automate/reduce the page generation. Part of the attraction to me of using mazes is that you could set "make a maze" to an eight year old kid as a learning exercise on how to use a wiki. My little friend was very into all sorts of questions about what could connect to where. It ensures they get a lot greater insight into pages and how they work. Its also a nice exercise because you can set it to an ability range. I'd see "solve this maze" as an intro / Mouse skills kind of exercise and "make a maze" a year later. -- AndrewCates

[moved from HelmutLeitner]

Ref how long the mazes take to build I did this one [5x5] without a small assistant and it is about 30 minutes for a 25 node maze including design. I agree with you things for older kids which were bigger would need to be automated but "build your own 4x4 maze" still seems a good intro to Wikis and URLs to me. -- AndrewCates

Andrew, thank you for the information. That's really not much time and I think larger mazes than 5x5 are not needed to learn this. -- Helmut

[moved from ProblemSolving]

It's fun to play with [5x5] but I don't understand how it works in the [backside] ... maybe it's the next step of the game :-) -- SylvieBourguet


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