This post is from our series on Virtual students and how school has become more and more online. See our other posts from the Virtual Student series here.
A wiki is: A collaborative website which can be directly edited by anyone with access to it.
Wikis are fabulous tools to use in the classroom and can be very easy to set-up.
Wetpaint and mediawiki are really easy ways to set-up your own wikis without much fuss. If you re not techy at all use Wetpaint, it is extremely easy to use.
2) Get Everyone On
First create your own profile and what you want each participant to put in their profile. I would strongly encourage you do not allow students to put up pictures or any personal information. You might want to try something fun like “What is your favorite subject” or “Who is your favorite president” so students feel like that have some questions to answer.
3) Create Forums
You want to create forums or discussion chat rooms behind your wiki so that of kids want to talk to each other they can. You can have forums based on topics or forums where students can talk about and even turn in certain assignments.
4) Create Groups
Create groups for students who are doing projects together, for class officers or even for “best history youtube videos” if that is your subject. This allows the class to break themselves down into smaller groups.
5) Create Message Boards
Instead of (or in addition to) having announcements, and homework on the board or on handouts, post them on a message board. Students can also post ideas, feedback or comments on here.
6) Use it for Feedback
When I was in 4th grade we had a little shoebox in the corner of the classroom where we could submit comments or things we were working about. You can do this on a wiki too and allow students to post concerns to you or other students.
7) Go Paperless
The whole point of a wiki is to hve users work together and share information online. Have an experimental assignment where the entire class works on one paper together. Have them submit the answers to homework questions online instead of by turning them in.
8) Classroom Study Guides
Have the entire class make a review guide and answer key terms to a quiz or test together on a wiki study guide.
Wikis are a great place to play out ideas and different arguments. You can put up wiki pages on certain controversial topics or passages you discuss in class and have students join in with their opinions and respond to each others comments.
10) Homework to Correct Each Other
Of course, this would save grading time for teachers, but it is also a great exercise for students to correct each other. For a few assignments or papers, have students pair up and correct each others answers on the wiki together. Learn by teaching!
Wikis are one of the many wonderful tools that the Internet has brought to learning. If you are a teacher, a parent, a TA or a student, experiment with one at home. Make a wiki for your study group or your group of friends. You never know when you will need to be familiar with wiki tools!
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