Having used wikis in education for a few years now and having been a huge advocate for their use in the classroom, I was both excited and intrigued when wikispaces announced an upgrade to their, already popular, online wiki creation tool for educators - “Wikispaces Classroom”
What is a wiki?
A wiki allows groups of people to collaboratively develop websites with no prior knowledge or experience of website design.
How can wikis be used in the classroom?
Wikis are great places for students to collaborate on projects and are particularly suited to Project Based Learning (PBL).
Examples of classroom use include:
What is the Educational value of Wikis?
Wikis encourage group social interaction and collaboration and support learning beyond the limits of the classroom and classroom activities.
How is Wikispaces Classroom different?
Wikispaces Classroom builds on the collaborative editing features of a wiki but includes some additional functionality to support classroom use, features such as social interaction and formative assessment.
One of the most welcome additions to wikispaces is the ability to set up projects and assign teams (great for PBL). Students can be assigned to teams by either dragging and dropping them to a pre-defined team or by uploading them via a .csv file. Students can also be assigned to a team using the built in random tool. Once assigned to a team, each student will have their own space to work in.
Wikispaces Classroom allows you to create projects, define teams, assign students and manage them all through successful completion of their projects.
Another noteworthy addition is the ability to monitor students’ contributions using the built in formative assessment tool. Teachers can use the tool to monitor how often a student has read, edited or saved a page. At present, statistics are only limited to the last 30 minutes (update pending) however, over the space of a lesson, the tool can provide the teacher with an instant overview of each student’s contribution.
Wikispaces Classroom allows you to monitor student engagement in real-time
The final significant addition is the news feed option. With news feeds, wikispaces classroom provides a safe social networking environment for your classroom.
News feeds are great for starting discussions and socratic debates or just for introducing a new topic.
How to get started
Creating a classroom wiki is really easy however, before you start, you will first need to create a free education account. Visit http://www.wikispaces.com to get started.
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