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Wiki Tech Talk

Page history last edited by Shelley 15 years, 5 months ago

Welcome!  These are my Wiki Tech Talk presentation notes, broken into three sequential sections on this page...

1) What in the world is a wiki?  2)  Why would you want to use one?  And  3)  How would you go about doing that?


Questions?  Email me at shelleyq (at) yahoo (dot) com











WHAT the heck is a wiki?


Wiki is a Hawai'ian word meaning "quick" or "fast."


Wikis are simple, editable websites that have the capability of letting more than one person contribute and/or edit content. 

They're great for encouraging collaboration, multi-participant cooperation, negotiation, and synthesis.


Here's a great 4-minute YouTube video that explains wikis (just click on the arrow):


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WHY would you want to use a wiki in conjunction with your teaching?



Possible classroom uses for a wiki (more teacher-centered)


  • Keep your class assignments up-to-date by putting the "official" copy on a wiki.  Consider allowing students to annotate the wiki with their questions, thus enabling you to edit the info to achieve the desired level of clarity.  Or use a wiki to post the details of a complicated assessment rubric.  (To see the wiki of a teacher who's doing something along these lines, click here.)


  • Let your students schedule their extra help times with you via a wiki.  (To see the wiki of a teacher who's doing this, click here.)


  • Wikis can be a terrific resource to a community of people who are connected by a common interest, rather than by a shared space in the physical world.  Here's a wiki that's meant to serve as a resource to AP Environmental Science teachers everywhere:  GoApes.wikispaces.com


More possible classroom uses for a wiki (more inclusive of student participation)


  • If you've got students working in small groups on projects, set up a wiki with one page per group, listing some expectations and due dates.  (To see the wiki of a teacher who's doing this, click here.)


  • If you've got students doing supplemental reading over the summer, your wiki could be a place for them to annotate their progress and/or share book reviews.  (To see the wiki of a teacher who's doing this, click here.)


  • Put up a notes outline and then assign (or let students select) sections for individual students (or teams of two?) to contribute their notes.  In this way, your class can build a study-guide, week-by-week.


  • Assign sections of the curriculum to pairs of students to teach.  Use a wiki to keep track of who's responsible for what, and require that the presenters post some of their pre-presentation notes to the wiki as well.


  • Have students "re-write" the textbook in their own words.


  • Have students contribute definitions to a class glossary/dictionary.


  • Ask your students to serve as peer reviewers during the development stage of a larger project, and use a wiki as a place to organize and record that work.


  • Partner with a school somewhere else in the world and use a wiki as the hub for your collaboration.  (To see a pair of schools -- one in Lambertville, Michigan and one in Bucaramanga, Columbia -- who are doing this, click here.  To hear the kids' voices (ages 9-11), listen to their podcasts over here.)  There's also the impressive 6-school Flat Classroom Project wiki, which is over here.


  • Give students a common space in which to share information they think might be interesting to others in the class.


  • Give students in different sections of the same class a space in which to connect.


  • Is there some way in which you'd like for parents to be more connected to your work?  Maybe create a class wiki page for parents and other interested non-attenders?


Possible personal uses for a wiki


  • Group planning (family reunion, vacation trip, etc.) which requires coordination


  • Book group coordination


  • Knitting group coordination


  • ____ group coordination (fill in the blank!)


  • Collaboration project with your kid(s)/ siblings/ friends?



HOW would you go about starting a wiki of your very own?


First, figure out what you think you want to use a wiki for.  Make some decisions about who you would want to be able to view the wiki, and who you would want to be able to edit or contribute to the wiki.  Maybe your needs can be met by the wiki function in Moodle, which is an "add an activity" option when you're in "edit" mode:



If you are Moodle-averse, or think that you might want to include non-RPS collaborators in your wiki work...


Peter may also be able to help you fulfill your wiki dreams:  http://wiki.rutgersprep.org

Or you may want to consider one of the free non-Moodle wiki platforms. 


The two most popular free wiki platforms for educators are PBWiki (the "PB" stands for peanut butter; they claim to make wiki-creation as easy as making a PB&J sandwich) and WikiSpaces.


http://www.pbwiki.com  (PBWiki has a helpful video about getting started with a PBWiki wiki here.)


http://www.wikispaces.com  (Wikispaces has a helpful "screencast" -- a video that shows you, screenshot by screenshot, how something is done on a computer -- about getting started with a Wikispaces wiki here.)


There's a teacher in Shanghai who has found that the free wikis at WetPaint (http://wetpaint.com) serve his needs best.  (His wiki is Welter's Wikinomics, and it's at http://welkerswikinomics.wetpaint.com/)


Are you a little inspired?  Want to try integrating a wiki into your teaching somehow?  You'll need two things... 1) an idea of what you want to do (the more excited about it you are, the better) and 2) a plan for getting from where you are now to where you want to be.  Think about how you learn best.  Would it be helpful to find someone else at RPS who was similarly interested in trying out a wiki?  Would you like to see examples of other people's work?  Would it help to log onto a help forum for "newbies?"


There are already several RPS community-members who are wiki-savvy:


Kevin Merges -- "I have a wiki in Moodle for the calc and precalc books (students rewrite the book in their own words) and I am going to start one that has the calc kids use the AP curriculum as the main page and they explain each item in their own words."


Valerie Pierce -- "I had students write an article in a wiki to publish on Wikipedia. They then published on Wikipedia; almost all the articles have been substantially revised since they publshed."


And of course your host Shelley Krause, who helps to coordinate a professional wiki (CollegeLists.pbwiki.com).


(Apologies to anyone I have missed...  if you've used a wiki in your classroom and are willing to be identified here, let me know and I'll add you.)


Extra credit: 


Listen to what Suzie Boss has to say about project-based learning in the digital age over at her blog, Reinventing Project-Based Learning (http://reinventingpbl.blogspot.com/)


Check out the iEARN site, a hub for web-enabled international educational collaboration:  http://www.iearn.org/


See what folks in the Global Learning Collaborative are up to, over at their wiki:  http://globaleducationcollaborative.wikispaces.com/


Or, if you're a mostly visual learner, check out some glimpses into other folks' classroom projects over at the Classroom Displays Flickr Group.


PBWiki also has its own collection of examples.






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