Today we will be discussing how wikis can be incorporated into classroom research projects. We will start by going over what wikis are and where you can get one. Then we will discuss how wikis can benefit students, the roles wikis can play in the research process, and finally I will share some wiki features that teachers love.
Wiki’s are editable websites that give you a blank slate to create whatever content you want.You do not have to know html. The editing features work very much like any word document.Because of the ease of editing, these pages are very fluid: changing as often as you need them to, very easily.There are a number of free wiki hosting sites that allow you to set up an account and create a wiki page for free.
If you’re looking for a free wiki hosting site, these are a couple examples of sites that are very easy to use.
Now we will move on to discuss the benefits of wikis.
When students participate in a project involving wiki’s, they engage in active learning. Using web 2.0 tools is very motivating to students, and this motivation helps to ensure their active participation. Further, the simple nature of a wiki requires a students active participation. In order to create pages and add content, students will have to have something to say. In other words, they will have to have really put work into their assignment so they they know the content enough to synthesize it into their wiki.
Using wikis will easily address all of the different modes of learning. Wikis offer the opportunity to read content posted by others, post your own writing, listen to audio clips, view video clips and much more. All of these different ways of communicating are easily embedded, or posted to your wiki page.
When students create their own wiki they have the choice to make it private, so only the people they select may view it, or public so that the entire web can view the page they have created. Creating a public wiki gives students a sense of completing an authentic task. Their work will be shared with the world. They will be contributing to a greater knowledge base. This fact is very motivating to many students. Many strive for a higher standard of work when put in this position as compared to students who are simply writing a paper that will be turned in to their teacher.
Teachers who use wikis for class projects have the added benefit of reaching multiple curricular and technology goals at the same time. By teaching a social studies or science unit and having students use wikis to record their learning, one assignment is meeting both the science or social studies standards while exposing students to web 2.0 technology simultaneously.
During this next section of the presentation, we will focus on the different roles wikis can play in the research process.
Wikis are a great tool for teachers or librarians to use to create pathfinders. Content is easily organized with different topics each having their own pages.Students can post questions or problems they are having on the discussion board and easily get feedback from the teacher and their peers.The ease of editing makes it very simple to delete broken links or add newly discovered resources.Students can access the pathfinders even if they are working from home because the pathfinder is contained within the open web and not the school’s server.
In the middle of a research project, wikis are a great tool for collecting data, especially if more than one student is working on a project together. A page can be created for the topic under discussion and as students find information they can edit the page to add what they have found.When the end of the project arrives, all the students’ work is neatly collected in one location.
As mentioned previously, wikis are a great tool for student collaboration and discussion.Students working on group projects do not have to physically meet in the same location to work on the project: individual students can all access the same information and add to it from any location.Students can easily communicate without meeting physically by posting and replying to messages.
Rather than creating posters or essays, students can create wiki portfolios of everything they have learned throughout a research project.Many teachers prefer this method because all of a student’s work: the research process, notes, problems, solutions, final learning outcomes, and reflections can easily be presented in one neat package. (Students simply create a different page in their wiki for each step of the project.)
Many teachers love wikis because they can still oversee student conduct while online.If you have created a class wiki, you can set privacy settings to decide who can view the site and who has editing rights. If each student is creating their own wikis, teachers can set the guidelines for how students will program these same privacy settings.Teachers can see editing histories. If a student changes something, the teacher can see what change was made, and who did it.If students are having discussions online, teachers have access to read any and all comments that are made.Because teachers have access to all of these things, they can see which students are contributing work and which ones are not. In this way, teachers can easily hold students accountable for participation. They can also hold students accountable for inappropriate behavior.
Using wikis as a research component
Using Wikis as a Research Component in the Classroom<br />Lindsey Lewis<br />
Works Cited<br />“50 Ways to Use Wikis for a More Collaborative and Interactive Classroom.” Smart Teaching. 4 Aug. 2008. Web. 9 July 2011.<br />Cm_sholtz. Using Wikis with Research Projects and Portfolios.Slideshare. 2008. Web. 10 July 20011.<br />Davis, Vicki A. Wikis in the Classroom. Slideshare. 2007. Web. 10 July 2011.<br />Watson, Kate, and Chelsea Harper. Supporting Knowledge Creation: Using Wikis for Group Collaboration. Educause Center for Applied Research. 5 Feb. 2008. Web. 9 July 2011.<br />“Wikis.” Teaching History with Technology. Ed Tech Teacher. 2011. Web. 9 July 2011.<br />All photos from Microsoft PowerPoint.<br />