"If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow." --John Dewey

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wild About Wikis!

Have you discovered the wonderful world of wikis?  A classroom wiki can be likened to one of those infommercial gadgets that has a million and one uses, except that you can get this amazing tool without even shelling out one red cent.

Whether your goal is to improve communication with parents, incorporate more cooperative learning projects for your class, more easily collaborate with colleagues, or simply integrate more technology into your curriculum, wikis are your answer.  Start by creating an account at any one of a number of free sites:  www.wikispaces.com, www.pbworks.com, www.wetpaint.com, www.pikiwiki.com, education.weebly.com, www.wix.com, just to name a few.  All are free, hosted sites that you can use online from any computer (no downloads).

Wikis can be used to easily share textual information, since the text editor in most wikis looks very much like your favorite word procesing program--no learning curve here.  Uploading images, including animated images, is usually a pretty simple task as well, making wikis easy for you and your students to use.  But, wikis allow for so much more than just text and images.  Using the html or javascript code provided by many websites, you can embed an almost limitless number of interactive elements into your wiki.

Myspace Generators & Toys

If you maintain a Google calendar, for example, you can embed your calendar into a wiki page so that important dates and events are readily available for students and parents to view.  Embed videos that your students can watch at home, or interactive maps (scribblemaps.com) that already contain images and/or videos.  Embed interactive games (classtools.net) for a fun way to get your students to practice vocabulary or math skills, or embed entire ebooks for your students who need practice reading.  You can even use a site like www.recordmp3.org/ to record the narration to the story to differentiate for those students who would benefit from hearing pronunciations while they read along.  Give your students some fun alternatives to traditional book reports by having them create projects at blabberize.com, or xtranormal.com and embed the finished product in your wiki for all to see.  Use tools like wallwisher.com, or answergarden.ch or dabbleboard.com to encourage collaboration between your students or between your colleagues.

Your classroom wiki is very much like a ball of clay, waiting to take on whatever shape or purpose that you design.  There are so many wonderful ways to use a classroom wiki, and so many wonderful elements that you can include.  Still not convinced?  Check out this blog post for a host of ideas for using a classroom wiki, and give it a try.  Before you know it you'll wonder how you ever got along without one, and you, too, will be wild about wikis!

Orkut Scrap Toys


  1. We love wikis in our district! Most elementary and middle school teachers now use them, some primarily as a teacher tool, many others as a place for students to work. Below are a link to a bunch of example wikis of different types we used when working with our teachers and a link to a self-paced workshop teachers interested in wikis could do by themselves or in a small group.



    1. What great resources! I know that I can immediately use the Student Made Math Movies wiki, and will pass it along to colleagues. Thanks so much for sharing the links.