Microsoft has released an open source extension for Word that allows documents to be saved in a Wiki-friendly format called MediaWiki.
OER Foundation Director, Dr Wayne Mackintosh, says, “By building MediaWiki support into Microsoft Office, teachers will be able to quickly and easily share their learning materials via online repositories such as Wikipedia and WikiEducator.”
Mackintosh added that for educational institutions that adopt OER approaches to providing resources and text books, this means they can significantly lower the barrier of cost when it comes to providing students with information.
MediaWiki also has the backing of the Ministry of Education Chief Information Officer, Leanne Gibson, “We are delighted to see the innovation of an open source add-on to the Microsoft Office toolset. This will enable NZ teachers and students to more easily engage in Wiki-style educational discussions and share educational resources.”
Microsoft says it funded development of the new functionality for Word to provide educators with a low cost way of producing and sharing educational content using Wiki-based tools.
Platform Strategy Manager, Andrew Gordon, explained, “Microsoft has a strong link to education through our ongoing Citizenship initiatives such as the Imagine Cup, the world’s largest student technology competition, so MediaWiki was a natural fit for us as was the decision to release the source code under an Open Source license and allow it to be shared by the community.
“Given that Microsoft Word is used so extensively throughout the world’s educational institutions, we at Microsoft are keen and very proud to be able do our bit to make high quality educational resources available to everyone, regardless of their situation.”
You can find further information on the WikiEducator project here.