Wiki’s in the Classroom

A Wiki is a great technology tool to use in a classroom. Whether it is in a technology class, an elementary class, a middle or a high school class, Wiki’s are great across all ages and curriculum areas. They can be modified and customized to meet your needs. You can make them public or private. The possibilities are endless!

Many teachers are quick to get a Wikispace and then ponder how to make it work for them. Like anything new, we want it to be a quick seamless transition of something we already use, making it far less likely to be abandoned later on. To help you with ways to use your Wiki check out the links below.

Wiki Ideas

  • Teachers First puts out an online publication that outlines the benefits of a Wiki and then helps teachers explore ways it can be used in a wide variety of subject areas.
  • Vicki Davis who hosts Cool Cat Teacher Blog shares how she uses Wikispaces in her classrooms. Make sure you read the comments at the bottom from other teachers on how they use their Wiki’s.
  • I have two Wikispaces that I use. My staff wikispace is for staff members at my school to request technology repairs and troubleshooting. My student wikispace will be used for the first time this year for some collaborative projects. As of right now it is still under construction.
  • See other examples of teachers using wikispaces in education on the HCPSS Wikispace.

Click here to listen to an MP3 of this post

What I Know Is (WIKI)

Native of Hawaii?

Well, no not really but I did find out that the Term Wiki comes from WikiWiki Shuttle Bus at Honolulu Airport. WikiWiki in Hawaiin means quick. Therefore Ward Cunningham who posted the first Wiki called it a QuickWeb.

Friend or Foe?

Many educators sing the praises of Wiki’s in education and it’s powerful contributions, while others are skeptical because of its ability to be easily vandalized. So is a Wiki a Friend or Foe? Let’s take a closer look.

Foe

  • Back when I was in High School kids called in Bomb Threats or did all their terrorizing of minorities out in the open. Now kids are turning to sites like Wikipedia to do their dirty work. According to the LA Times students at Wilson High School had been making threats of violence and racial slurs against Asian students for more than a year on the popular Wikipedia site. An arrest was made after Wikipedia staffers notified the schools of the activity online.
  • Vandalism – Take a look at the following picture.  What do you think is that Hulk Hogan?

No Way! It’s former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. This is taken from Wikipedia and you can clearly see that someone has vandalized it by adding a picture that is not accurate. While this may seem minor, I want you to remember that this is a VERY MINOR CASE of Vandalism.

Friend

  • According the New York Times Wiki’s are have shown the ability to reduce emails drastically with continued use.
  • Wiki’s are great tools for helping to coordinate an event amoung several users simualtaniously. It has also been shown to work great for two individuals are looking to collaborate with each other to co-author a project or a book. Large Corporations have been using wiki’s for the past few years to coordinate projects, meetings, and other work related tasks and information. Why even the CIA has unveiled it’s own Wiki. The Intellipedia has a similar setup to Wikipedia but is a secure platform of knowledge contained in Blogs, Wiki’s, Social Bookmarks, and other Web 2.0 Tools.
  • Wikipedia – Wikipedia is considered the world’s largest online dictionary where a wealth of knowledge is stored. The content is added by its users. Much of the content is monitored to a degree but as in the earlier cases in the Foe section is not always caught right away.
  • Educational Wiki’s – The Washington Post mentioned the blending of curriculum and wiki for the Curriki. The Curriki is a wiki that is a place for teachers to build curricula for grades K-12. Unfortunately this is not something that we see in the foreseeable future the Department of Education adopting.

You Decide

As with any new technology there are always going to be skeptics and those who sing its praises. It’s up to the individual to decide based on how they plan on using the device and how it best meets their needs.

Click here to listen to an MP3 of this post