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Page history last edited by Brian Grenier 15 years, 2 months ago

Table of Contents  


Blogging in the Classroom

Wiki Wiki


Become a Campus Role Model

RSS - Bringing the Web to You

Digital Storytelling

Technology and Your PLC

Growing Up Online


Wiki Wiki


"Our students have changed radically. Today's students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach."  

  – Marc Prensky

What is a Wiki?


From a Hawaiian-language word for fast, "wiki" is a shortened form of "wiki wiki".  A wiki is a website that allows the visitors themselves to easily add, remove, and otherwise edit and change available content, typically without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for mass collaborative authoring.  The page you are looking at right now is a wiki page that has been set to restrict who can, and can not, edit it's contents.  Perhaps the best known example of a wiki is Wikipedia.


Wikis in Plain English

from CommonCraft



Sometimes, in order to get a better understanding of how something works, it is necessary to play around with it on your own.  You can click on the following

links and play around in the wiki sandboxes of three popular wiki providers.

PBwiki Sandbox - (Use the password "sandbox" to make changes to the page)

Wikispaces Sandbox - (No password necessary to make changes)

WetPaint Sandbox - (No password necessary), click the "Easy Edit" button to begin editing.

Standard Wiki Principles and Features 


  • Collaborative in nature
  • Different levels of accessibility to suit the needs of the user(s).
  • Ability for anyone to contribute, edit, and delete.
  • History of changes allows users to revert to previously saved versions.
  • Discussion and comment capabilities allow for member discussion and collaboration.
  • Ability to embed information and media from a variety of sources (audio, video, RSS, etc.)


Why Should Students Know How To Wiki?


Let’s face it…times have changed, and along with it so to has the types of skills our students need to possess when they enter the workforce.  The kinds of skills needed are much different than those needed by workers a generation or two ago.  Wikis are one way in which students can begin to develop, practice, and master these “21st Century Skills”. The research firm Gartner has already predicted that by 2009 half of all companies worldwide will be utilizing wikis in one fashion or another; as educators we have a responsibility to teach our students the skills necessary to succeed in an ever-changing environment.  Some of these skills include :





10 Ways Wikis Can be Used in Your Classroom


  1.  Lesson Summaries

  2.  Collaboration of Notes

  3.  Concept Introduction and Exploratory Projects

  4.  Dissemination of important classroom information beyond the classroom

  5.  Individual assessment projects

  6.  Creation of a simple website

  7.  Sharing of initial thoughts about, and knowledge of a new topic

  8.  Student portfolios

  9.  Location to aggregate web resources

10.  Collaboration among teachers


Issues and Strategies to Using Wikis in the Classroom


Using wikis in your classroom does not come without a few of issues that must be addressed.


Student Privacy – due to the open nature of Web 2.0 tools, such as wikis, it is important that we remember to keep our students’ identity as anonymous as possible.   When setting up user profiles, students have a number of options available to them to limit the amount of information about themselves that is made public:


  1. Create a pseudonym
  2. Use initials only
  3. Use first name followed by last initial


In the end it is going to have to be the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that our students navigating the social web safely and responsibly.


Simultaneous Editing – one issue that you are bound to discover, early on in you wikiing experience, is the results of students logging into and editing pages

simultaneously.  When more than one user attempts to modify the page at the same time, inevitably users’ comments and changes

will be lost as one user saves over the work of another.  While this issue may seem like an insurmountable obstacle to using wikis,

there are some strategies that you and your students can employ to address this issue:


        1. Make small edits

        2. Communicate with your partner(s)

        3. Know how to use the history function

        4. Know how to discuss

        5. Before you edit, click refresh


Vandalism - you may experience vandalism of you wiki space.  Depending on the permission level set on your wiki page, vandalism can occur by known group members or anonymous visitors to your wiki page.  Knowing how to use the history feature of the wiki should alleviate any fears you have of losing your own, or student data.


Presentation and Handouts

Brian's Wiki Bookmarks


Two-Hour Workshop Outline

  • Wikipedia and it's place in our schools - open discussion (10 minutes)
  • What is Web 2.0 and the Changing Nature of Information (10 minutes)
  • Why should students wiki? (5 minutes)
  • Explore educational wiki sites. (10 minutes)
  • Key features of wikis (5 minutes)
  • Drawbacks and workarounds of wikiing. (5 minutes)
  • How wikis can be used in your classroom. (10 minutes)
  • Overview of some available wiki engines (5 minutes)
  • Set up PB Wiki accounts (10 minutes)
  • Walk-through of PB Wiki engine (50 minutes)


Link to Presentation



Wiki Workshop Participants



Additional Resources and Articles


 Tools and Resources

 Additional Reading and Listening

 Brian Recommends these Books

  • PB Wiki – free and ad free wikis for personal or professional use.  PB Wiki provides  an easy-to-use editor, as well as the capability to modify page layout and content using HTML.
    • PB Wiki FAQ - answers to practically any question you have about using PB wiki
    • Easy-to-read Q&A about PBwiki - "What's a wiki?" "Can I see some samples?" "What about privacy?" and more are covered in 2 pages. Take a look at this because there's new info you may not know about (e.g., educational wikis are now ad-free).
  •  Wikispaces for Educators - free and ad-free wiki sites for educators brought to you by Wikispaces.
    • Wikispaces UserGuide - If you are having trouble with your Wikispaces site, this page offers a lot of information and answers to many questions.
  •  WetPaint – another service offering educators free wiki space. With lots of templates to choose from and an easy to use editor this is a very easy to use wiki engine.  Free WetPaint pages are supported by, and include, Google Ads.
  • Random Name Generator - The random name generator uses data from the US Census to randomly generate male and female names. Students can use this site to generate Web 2.0 usernames and protect their identity.
  • Internet Anagram Server - Simple tool that will generate anagrams of entered text.  Another tool students can use to help them protect ther identity.




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