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Background and Basics

Page history last edited by Siri Anderson 11 years, 7 months ago

Wiki Way in the World


  • The wiki affords you the easiest possible way to do a online collaborative sharing, learning and organizing. You can wiki by yourself, with an invited guest list, or with the whole wide world. 



What is a wiki? 

A wiki is a web page, or set of pages, that can be viewed and edited by anyone to whom editing access is given. Many wikis are set up so that anyone who has access to the Internet can edit or add to the wiki. Most classroom projects would create wikis that were only editable by classroom participants.


A wiki can have on it anything a regular web page can have on it:

o       Words (in various colors and fonts and sizes)

o       Graphics

o       Images/Charts/Spreadsheets

o       Links

o       Videos

o       Calendars

o       Chat rooms

o       Slide shows

o       Podcasts 


A wiki can add a new wiki page (a new web page) in as few as three clicks, so a wiki can expand very quickly. Since a wiki is free, this expandable nature is pretty profound in its value. Imagine any other classroom resource that has no cost. Well you have to have a computer and an Internet connection, but you already have those, right?


Why do collaborative wiki's work well?

  1. Students today, as digital natives, prefer to work online.
  2. The Internet/WWW is so coooooooool!
  3. The emphasis is on production and editing, so the quality of prodcuts can be very high.
  4. In a password protected shared wiki the teacher/administrator has total knowledge about who did what, when. Using the history feature you can see exactly who logged in, and what changes they made to the previous work. If you show the students this BEFORE they are assigned the group collaboration project the 15% of the group that might have tried hard or might have just skated by is reminded to choose to work hard.
  5. They are free, accessible anywhere, anytime, and reduce the amount of grading you need to do! Really! Would you rather grade one group project done well by six people or six separate projects by those individuals?


 Which editing functions are the most important to teach?

1. You can't edit unless you click the edit button.

2. When you create a new page you should think about how you will most easily remember that page name in the future.

  • In pbwiki to create a new page you click on the Link button in the editing toolbar.
  • Then choose which kind of page you are going to create or link -- an existing page or a wiki page or email.
  • Paste in address if it is an existing page outside your wiki. (If it is a wiki page, but housed in another wiki, treat it like a url). Tell it what you want it to be called on the page.
  • If it is an existing wiki page in your own wiki use the pull down menu to find it and connect to it.
  • If it is a new wiki page just create a memorable, logical, non-duplicating name and save.
  • Save the page on which you are creating this new link.
  • Click on the link in the saved page to make your new page appear.
3. Use plug ins for lots of photos rather than importing them into the wiki. This will take up less space and allow for faster editing of the wiki.



What are the weaknesses in the wiki way of working?

  1.  Student anxiety for their first wiki experience can be hard, and, as with any new medium, there is a learning curve. The second wiki is easy.
  2. If students don't follow directions in terms of how to create new wiki pages, it could get chaotic in terms.
    • It is very critical that students create new pages that are specifically tied to their group project's name. For instance, if groups are doing research on different countries in a region, each and every new page they create must start with the name of their country. For example China History, China Economy, China Geography, China Culture. Otherwise pages are likely to overlap.
    • Teach them to embed a return to main page of their project link within every page of their project, this also makes it easier to navigate (and grade!)
  3. Its addictive! You may get carpal tunnel!

Example Wikis 


http://5-ardolinediscovery2.pbwiki.com/  5th Grade Social Studies Colonial Project 


Hopkins West Junior High on Moodle


Bemidji State University Undergraduate Human Relations Course or Social Studies Course


Student completed unit done on PB Wiki


Elementary School Wiki example


Penn State Wiki example


PB Wiki FAQ on Education Wikis



arrrpirates.wikispaces.com Examples of student work grades 4-6

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