Posted by: Paula Lenox | June 30, 2010

Wikispaces for Educators

A Wiki is a website that anyone can create if you can use a word processor!  It is as easy as 1, 2, 3.  If you want to post information to your school district website, there are probably many channels you must go through first, and chances are you have to get that information to the webmaster well ahead of time.  If you have a Wiki, you can post information to it anytime.  One of the biggest advantages of a Wiki, is that more than one person can contribute to the webpage.  As a matter of fact you can have your students contribute to the Wiki.  My favorite Wiki website is WIKISPACES for educators.

So what can you do with a Wiki in your classroom that goes beyond the productive dissemination of information such as using it to provide students with all their classroom materials, post classroom documents, homework assignments and calendars?  You can have:

  • discussions and or debates with your students
  • students write about a book or current event they read about
  • students can peer edit and comment on the writings of classmates
  • collaborate with students around the world
  • brainstorm ideas
  • students create a collaborative page about an assigned content
  • students create a page all about themselves, their hopes and dreams etc.

These are simply generic ideas, think about your content area and about your topics, concerns and standards you want your students to meet.  You will benefit from the increased communication with students and parents, and will find your students are contributing outside of class, thus extending their learning beyond the classroom walls.

What are the risks?  You as the administrator of the Wiki have control over the entire wiki.  Every change to a wiki page is tracked by username, so if a student posts something inappropriate, you have documentation of when it occurred and you can delete the information.

SO WHAT… if you are asking yourself, so what, this is just another tool.  How will it benefit my students, why should I use it?

If you are looking to reach many levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, Wikis will help.  I believe you can not only address any of Bloom’s levels depending on how you use the tool.  You can help students remember and understand information by posting the critical information.  You can reach the levels of applying and analyzing by asking students to contribute to a discussion board or asking an essential question they must answer.  Finally, you can reach the evaluating and creating levels by having students evaluate information others post or create their own pages of knowledge.

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