Why use a wiki?


I originally began using wikis with Grade 8 Humanities and realized how easy they were to use in both collaborative learning and instruction. I've found them useful for the following:
  • a facility for students to post and discuss their creations
  • a medium for collaboration - teachers, students, learners
  • exploration
  • creation
  • a place to bring all the links together (instructions, activities, visuals, blogs etc)
  • a text that cannot be lost (unless we get 'blocked'!)
  • saving paper!

and of course:
Connections

Wikis are basically a tool that lets students connect with each other, follow their interests and CREATE!



Student experiences?


Some students do find the wiki pages difficult to read.
They need to be guided through the use of the navigation bar, and directed on scrolling down carefully. Often they might miss important information. They tend not to use the navigation bar properly and some even have to be reminded that they can use the table of contents or that they can use the mouse/key pad/page down toggle to scroll down.

Research on this indicates that online reading is a different skill. We are only just beginning to address this. Below are sites with some interesting insights and suggestions for strategies:

http://iteslj.org/Articles/Tseng-TextOnTheWeb.html
http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/comptext.htm
http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/basic/readstrat/readingstrategies.viewlet/readingstrategies_viewlet_swf.html

Look also at Technology and literacy


Wiki Examples


A site focusing on taking action on global issues, with links to student created wikis
http://challenge-global.wikispaces.com/

Wikis used as interactive texts
http://global-citizen.wikispaces.com/
[[|http://psychmeout.wikispaces.com/]]
http://rightsforall.wikispaces.com/

Teacher collaboration
http://8chinalive.wikispaces.com/

Student activity collaboration
http://sasrootsandshoots.wikispaces.com/

Teacher wikis
http://pudongphysics.wikispaces.com/
http://ibhumanbiochemistry.wikispaces.com/
http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/


Building a wiki


How do I start?

I've used wikispaces for all my wikis because when I first began, wetpaint was blocked here in China. Wikispaces is easy to use, and they provide ad-free sites for educators at no cost. Have a go, and see what you think. Check out the links on their sites for teaching ideas.
external image teacher2.php
http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers

Student instructions

Building your wiki
http://challenge-global.wikispaces.com/Building+your+group+wiki

Including acknowledgments in your wiki
http://challenge-global.wikispaces.com/Creating+acknowledgments

Ideas for design

Clustrmaps, vokis, table of contents, wiki ideas
http://challenge-global.wikispaces.com/Improving+your+wiki+pages

Making headings for your wiki
Wikispaces has a heading facility in the editing toolbar but cooltext allows you to create interesting headings to 'spice' up a page and then insert the heading as a picture file. Just follow the instructions and play!
http://cooltext.com/

Copyright

Consider copyrighting your work. If you've created something, think about what you want to allow other to do with that work. Do you want to be credited for it? This is a great discussion to have with kids as well.
Have a look at the site below:
http://creativecommons.org/about/
Creative commons basically help you set the rights on your work and identify what freedoms you want established - legally. If you look at the bottom of this page, you'll see the copyright symbol you can create with the code they provide.
And thanks to Jeff Utecht for helping me sort this out and introducing me to Creative Commons!

Need help?

Click on http://help.wikispaces.com/ and it's likely that your question will be covered - just check out the index.
If not, write wikispaces an email at help@wikispaces.com
They are incredibly helpful and quick to reply!


Assessment criteria

The following are examples of criteria for assessment. They were created for Grade 8 Humanities.

Checklists
external image msword.png CRITERIA FOR YOUR GROUP's wiki.doc
external image msword.png YOUR individual contribution to the wiki.doc

Self assessment
external image msword.png cooperative learning rubric.doc

Writing/wiki rubrics
external image msword.png Essay Writing wiki rubric.doc


Further resources


Discussions of experiences in using wikis
http://www.shambles.net/pages/learning/ict/wikiedu/

'Using wiki in education'
http://www.wikiineducation.com/display/ikiw/Home

'Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education'
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1564136