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Teachers Guide on The Use of Wikis in Education
guides, social networking tools, wikis in education Med kharbach
Today's guide is about Wikis in education. This is the 14th guide we are publishing here and there are more coming on the way. We , in Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, are very much hoping that by the time we finish posting all the series of guides we have been working on, our readers ( most of whom are teachers and educators ) will have already acquainted themselves with some powerful web tools to integrate technology into their education. As I said in earlier guides, we will also publish a free ebook containing all the guides we have written plus several other surprises for teachers, so stay tuned.
What is a Wiki ?
According to Leuf and Cunningham, a wiki is " a free expandable collection of interlinked webpages, a hypertext system for storing and modifyinh information, a data base, where each page is easily edited by any user." A Wiki can be thought of as a combination of a web site and a Word document. At its simplest, it can be read just like any other web site, with no access privileges necessary, but its real power lies in the fact that groups can collaboratively work on the content of the site using nothing but a standard web browser.
The Wiki is gaining traction in education as an ideal tool for collaborative work but there are more than just collaboration that makes a Wiki a promising web tool for teachers and students. Let us go through some of these features to learn more about the potential of this tool in education.
Reasons why Wikis are important in education
Here is a list of some of the most important features that make out of Wikis powerful learning tools in the 21st century education :
Most of the Wiki hosting platforms are freeWikis are easy to create and do not require any tech wizardary to run and maintain themThey have very student-friendly interfacesThey can be accessed anywhere with an internet connectionAnyone can edit a wiki Wikis are instantaneous so there is no need to wait for a publisher to create a new edition or update informationGeographical borders are deleted and students from all around the world can collaborate and work on the same documentThe Wiki software keeps track of every edit made and it is a simple process to revert back to a previous version of an articleWikis widen access to the power of web publishing to non-technical usersWikis are flexible and do not have a predetermined structure meaning they can be used for a wide range of applications
Tips for teachers before using a Wiki
Here are some points teachers need to keep in mind while using Wikis in their classrooms :
Select a Wiki platform that you and your students are fanilair withLook for a video tutorial online on how to use that platform to share with your studentsYou can use Teachers Free tutorial making tools to create your own tutorial about how students can use the wiki you are about to set up and share it with studentsDedicate a whole session to just walking your students around the different features of a Wiki and get them to do some example posting before youTeach them about copyright issues and ethics ( chekc these resources tostart with )Give them the reasons why you are creating this Wiki and make it clear it is for learningTalk to them about the benefits they can get from using a Wiki in their learningCreate a classroom FAQ page that will help new students learn about your wikiCreate a poll or do a kind of voting on the name to pick for your wikiDon't forget to get parents permission and make sure to inform the school authorities about the presence of the wikiPeriodically brief parents about the proceedings of the classroom wiki and if possible get them to contribute too.
How students and teachers can use Wikis in the classroom
Here are some suggested ideas on how you can leverage the power of Wikis to your classroom teaching and learning :
You can share docs, media, and PDF files on your classroom wikiWikis can be used as a portal for all your lessonsUsing the discussion feature in Wikis, You can connect with your students and give them extra helpTeachers can expand their teaching beyond the classroom wallsYou can use your Wiki to share presentations with your studentsMake it a class project to collaboratively write a reference book that others can use.Post assignments and study guides on your Wiki for the class to work onGet your class to create summary pages on every unit they learnEncourage students to share links and other helpful pieces of information on your classroom wikiAllow students to make drafts on the wiki and ask others to comment on themAssign portfolio pages to each of your students and allow them to display and discuss their workUse your wiki for peer editing , for example students can edit each others work for spelling, grammar, or anything else you want them to learnWikis are a great way to get feedback from your students. Ask them to post comments on wiki pagesUse Wikis to track projects allowing thus students to see which tasks have been completed and which have notCreate a news outlet on your wikiCreate an achievement page where parents can log in to see what their kids have accomplishedFinally teachers can also use wikis for professional development and to connect with other educators from other places to discuss, share and learn from each other.
Two Great Wiki hosting platforms to start with:
Here are some platforms where you can start your wiki for free. They are among the best available for teachers :
1- Wikispaces :
This is a free wiki host providing community wiki spaces, visual page editing, and discussion areas. It is my favourite platform and it is the first one I would recommend you try for your class.
This is another great wiki hosting platform that lets anyone sign up and create a new wiki but the free version is ad-supported.
Examples of Educational Wikis
1- Classroom Wikis
Wiki video tutorials:
1- How to Build an Educational Wiki
2- Using Wikis in The Classroom
A Wiki Walk Through
Via JanetCD, Lynnette Van Dyke
There is already evidence that teachers are using social media as part of teaching strategies, with the aim of encouraging students to view social networks as less of a pleasurable distraction, and more as something that can be used in projects and for personal expression in a medium they prefer.
Via Susan Bainbridge
Comic strips and cartoons are great learning and teaching materials. Students love them and you can see the excitement in their eyes the moment they know they are included in their lesson. Well, think of yourself when you were a student, I bet you had the same feelings about these materials.
Many great resources here!
Via Gust MEES, Mary Perfitt-Nelson
Tony Vincent's Learning in Hand - Blog -
When you think of iPads in schools, you probably think of a cart that's wheeled into a classroom.
"personal 'ownership' of the device is seen as the single most important factor for successful use of this technology."
Via Mel Riddile
Do you think you’re creative?” Ask this question of a group of second-graders, and about 95 percent of them will answer “Yes.” Three years later, whe...
The comment about eye contact resonated with me. In teacher centered classrooms, eye contact is a sign of "engagement". But real engagement: thinking and learning, may look a bit differently.
Via Catherine, Mary Perfitt-Nelson
November 30, 2012 by Angela Maiers
Love this great post from the folks at Always Prepared entitled: ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology‘ and the infographic it inspired from Mark Bates. Both highlight “The Habitudes” of educators who are effectively using technology to enhance and impact teaching and learning. Hat tip to Shawn McCusker for this awesome Twitter find!
A MUST read:
Via Gust MEES
On this page, I will try and post a few videos that help to illustrate both good teaching as well as the principles and practices associated with the Cultures of Thinking initiative. When watching any video of teaching, one can always view it through the lens of the 8 Cultural Forces.pdf.
Via Mary Perfitt-Nelson
Ken's Key Takeaway:
I knew about the OCR in photos. I did not know about the OCR .pdf function. Awesome!
Are you a digital packrat? Are you in need of a searchable repository for everything you want to recall later? Does the idea of automatic OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for all your scanned PDFs get you excited in a way only seriously organised people could ever understand? If so, Evernote is the tool you need right now – and we’ve got the perfect manual to get you started using it like a professional.
Via Miloš Bajčetić, Ken Morrison, Howard Rheingold, ratzelster