Create & Edit a Wiki-Style Website as a Class
To some, a classroom webpage is simply one that students or parents can log into and view basic details about your class. At least at my school this has been the case. They usually go up, have a couple of minor changes, then for the most part collect dust. WikiSpaces can change that.
Most of you are familiar with Wikipedia. Check it out here if you haven’t. It’s an online encyclopedia with a twist. This twist being that anyone can edit them. Though I’m not to sure I would trust it for my Rank I term paper, it’s great for getting a bit of leisure studying on just about any topic in the known universe. Example.
So where do teachers come in? A couple ways. The first is that you could create one for your class. Sign-up, create a basic wiki about your class and allow people to access it for things like your course outline and syllabus. But that would be way too boring and honestly not worth my time writing this article about. The second way would be creating one and sending invitations to your class to join. You are now all co-authors and co-editors of a page that will live, breath, and grow.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty about how to do it and what features are available let us take a look at where you could go with this. In a typical classroom a research project is ok, and even better if you get a good powerpoint out of them. But what if it was collaborative and viewable by the world. What if the world couldn’t just see it but could be a part of it based on your invitations.
Imagine that you have a music class. You sign up and invite the class. They begin a project outlining their musical heritage and influences. They research, edit and build the site. Then you take it to the next level. You get a contact outside of the state, or even better outside of the country to collaborate on this same topic, except now you have multicultural page that defines, contrasts, and compares the two culture’s music. You now have something that builds relationships and deeper understanding of your classroom topics. Beyond that, you are allowing students to take ownership, address a wider audience, and step beyond the boarders of their school.
Don’t dismiss this idea because of the fact that you don’t have webpage skills. You don’t need them. The page is already created for you. It’s not the fanciest, but the importance isn’t in the design. The importance is in the communication and teamwork. Here is a Word document outlining the basics of creating your first Wiki. Teachers Guide To WikiSpaces
Navigation is simple. You have complete control over who is allowed to join. You can easily view who has written what and when… even if they have deleted it. Take a look at what others have had to say about their experience. A Glorified Whiteboard
Been there, done that? Let us know in the comments.