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Wiki in Education
|Authors: Rachel Bold and Clif Mims||Table of Contents|
What is a Wiki?
According to Wikipedia's definition, "a wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites".
Why use Wikis in education?
The Wikis in Education link provided by Wetpaint's Wikis in Education Initiative* answers this question with the following:
- Wikis encourage collaborative learning and information sharing
- Wikis increase student engagement and participation
- Wikis facilitate communication between teachers and parents and guardians
Examples of how a wiki could be used in the K-12 classroom:
- Group projects: Students work together in one place to research, outline, draft, and edit projects within the wiki
- Assignments: Post homework, course materials, study guides, and more
- Resource Collections: Organize articles, websites, videos, and other resources for students
- Peer Review: Post questions for student brainstorming, or have students post papers for peer feedback
- Group FAQ: Students and/or teachers post and respond to questions on a given topic
- Parent Involvement: Give parents a chance to be a part of the classroom and stay up to date on classroom news and events
- Online Class Newspaper: Create a student-published online newspaper
- History Happening - Wiki for 9th grade Asain History class
- Flat Classroom Project - Wiki focused on middle and high school students as a way to share a world wide classroom with students in different countries
- Exploring Geography - Class wiki for Geography class in Delhi
- Share More - Wiki for teachers who have a interest in integrating technology in their classrooms
Popular Wiki Services
There are several free Wiki services available on the web, these are the most popular:
Starting your WikiThe following list excerpted from WikiHow.com is a great step-by-step for creating your own Wiki.
- Decide which features you want your wiki to have. There are several software packages available that have slightly different features. If you have a general idea of which features you want, you can start researching the different options and make your selection.
- Research the various available software packages (see Links above) and take a look at a few sites that operate on these systems. For instance, Mediawiki is the software that Wikipedia currently uses. Wetpaint is the software this wiki uses.
- Choose how you want to host your wiki. In most cases, you will want your wiki to be accessible from the Internet, so you will have to find a hosting package that either offers a wiki or meets the requirements for building your own wiki.
- Carefully and thoroughly read through the instructions that accompany your wiki regarding the configuration. Sometimes you'll be required to change your Apache configuration or add MySQL databases and tables. Some wikis will have a configuration page that you can submit all of your relevant values and the page will set everything up for you.
- Develop community guidelines and a focus for your wiki. Clearly present this information to visitors so that they have a basis through which to view and contribute to the wiki.
- Spread the word about your wiki. Start by e-mailing coworkers, students, friends, and/or your PLC. Initially you can expect that your wiki will grow slowly, probably slower than you would like. Establishing a user base is a takes time and finding dedicated users who are inspired by your ideas may be difficult in the early phases.
- Most importantly, have fun with your wiki and enjoy the information that is being communicated between people! The Internet was built in order to facilitate communication and the wiki is currently one of the most effective environments for collecting and sharing information.
Links to how wikis can be used in other educational settings:
- *Wetpaint's Wikis in Education Initiative focuses on the niche market of teacher/educators. Not to plug any one service provider over another, and definitely do your own research, but Wetpaint offers some features for teacher/educators that were not readily apparent on other service provider sites. For a complete list those features, see the Wikis in Education link.
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, Aug 31 2009, 10:40 AM EDT
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