Wiki Tech Talk

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)





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













Possible personal uses for a wiki








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:

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.  (PBWiki has a helpful video about getting started with a PBWiki wiki here.)  (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 ( serve his needs best.  (His wiki is Welter's Wikinomics, and it's at


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 (


(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 (


Check out the iEARN site, a hub for web-enabled international educational collaboration:


See what folks in the Global Learning Collaborative are up to, over at their wiki:


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.