​Wiki It!

Are you looking for a way to easily publish both teacher and student created content online? If so, a wiki might be for you.
A wiki is a type of website (and software) that lets authorized users create, edit, and link web pages and articles. The most famous and possibly most controversial example of a wiki is Wikipedia-an online encyclopedia with over a million articles which have been created by its visitors. The power of a wiki lies not only in the ease of access and use, but also in the users’ ability to write and modify the content while collaborating with others.

To learn more about wikis, watch Wikis in Plain English.

For more information and ideas, explore Wikis in the Classroomat TeachersFirst and the TeachersFirst wiki.

Integrating Wikis
Teachers are finding many ways to incorporate wikis in their classrooms:
  • To create simple class websites
  • To post class calendars
  • To share links to learning resources
  • To display lesson summaries
  • To create collaborative class notes
  • To post handouts
  • For group authoring/ peer editing
  • To share data
  • To showcase student projects such as presentations, book reviews, writing, videos, podcasts
  • To create an online text for curriculum
  • As a student response to research

Sample Wikis

Rosetta Stone A class wiki for 7th grade social studies
The Continuing Tennis Ball Story A choose your own adventure wiki created by 3-4th graders
Smith Class Wiki in Hannibal, MO A collection of projects and announcements
DaepScience Investigations and information for science classes grades 6-8
The Scarlet Letter Wiki Notes and discussion about the book
TechnoTigers A collection of wiki pages with student projects and resources
My Side of the Mountain Chapter summaries, research, related student-created games
Classroom BookTalksCollaborative Wiki Add your own review to books being read around the world by students
8th Grade U.S. History Wiki Assignments, student research and projects
Bergmann's ScienceA collection of video demos, assignments, student projects and science resources
Grade 6 Code Blue A wiki designed and written by 6th graders studying health and the human body
Many, Many Examples of Educational Wikis

What are the benefits of wikis?
  • provide easy to access 24/7 from any Internet connected computer
  • wiki software is relatively simple
  • teachers or students become knowledge/content creators for an authentic audience
  • teachers and/or students are able to collaborate across distances
  • students experience a real world model of writing and editing process
  • students develop a skill set with authentic workplace tools
  • students have editorial control and a sense of responsibility and ownership
  • encourages critical thinking, reading and writing
  • teaches ethical use of online tools
  • can be syndicated with an RSS feed to notify when changes are made

There are several considerations to be made when using wikis. It is important to establish wiki community guidelines and to have AUP agreements which emphasize responsible, ethical Internet use. Before using a wiki, students need to review privacy and copyright guidelines. Teachers need to decide whether to make the wiki public or private and how to set up user accounts.

There are many free online wiki communities. One that has advertising-free accounts for educators is Wikispaces.

The following resources from Wikispaces are helpful for getting started:

Directions for the Magellan workshop

How to Add Free Widgets to Your Webpage, Wiki, or Blog Word of the Day, translators, etc.