Using Wiki Technology to Engage Students

Teachers and students work collaboratively in a student-centered technological learning environment, as Wikis bridge the digital gap between technological tools.

Educational Technology Strategies for Creativity and Collaboration

Wikis are websites that can be edited by anyone the owner allows. In this case, teachers allow their students to edit class Wikis. Wikis are more versatile than a class blog because blogs are typically one-way communication and Wikis are updated by teachers and students. Wikis are free teaching and learning technology tools for teachers to use in education settings.

Wikis have become very popular in education since 2016. There are currently over 100,000 registered education Wikis. Education Wikis come with an upgraded membership, worth $50 annually, for teachers. The upgraded membership also eliminates advertisements and allows the ability to restrict public viewing.

To support the demand for Wikis in education, Wikispaces (the developer) is now offering 250,000 education Wikis with the upgraded membership to teachers. Registration is free and all services are free. Services include the ability to upload documents, pictures, videos, and more by teachers and students.

One teacher's concern is controlling the sometimes non-collaborative input of some students. However, teachers have total control regarding input and access, which provides the ability to see who makes changes and the ability to edit student work. Also lock designated pages, folders, and features.

Strategies for Transforming Teaching with Wikis

The collaborative nature of a class Wiki allows teachers to move their teaching to a new level. This new level involves students in the teaching and learning process. Science newsletter projects is an example of this type of collaborative use of Wikis by students. Wikis are a powerful tool that bridges the gap of many technology tools available in the classroom, allowing teachers to:

  • Upload interactive lessons, which take advantage of in class and online resources.
  • Embed links to online resources to support the lesson such as videos and pictures.

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Access documents that have been uploaded for students to view such as PowerPoint presentations, project guidelines, assessment rubrics, and more.

Upload homework assignments that can be viewed by students and parents; such as worksheets (for students who lose their copy), reading assignments, project guidelines, and more.

Using LCD projectors to take advantage of all the interactivity discussed above.

Teach their entire lesson with an interactive whiteboard, which allows the saving of teacher and student work in some models.
Examples of how one teacher uses a Wiki in her classes can be viewed at Wiki Woman.

Strategies for Transforming Learning with Wikis

Students’ learning of subject content is raised to a new level because of their ability to easily collaborate in the learning process. Examples of ways the students can make the most of learning with wikis and how the process is transformed include:

Students can save their classwork in personal Wiki folders and complete assignments from home and then submit assignments to teachers online, via the class Wiki.

Student groups can collaborate on work during and after school. This is accomplished by posting classwork in group Wiki folders for later editing by group members on a future date or from home.

Student groups can edit each other’s work as they complete a class project, resulting in a more collaborative effort.
Students are held accountable for group work because Wiki records who participated or did not participate in group projects.
Additional information on the uses of Wikis can be viewed by visiting Using Wikis in Math Classes and Using Wikis in Science

Classes to read about example strategies and techniques for integration of Wikis.

Wikis transform teaching and learning, because of the collaborative nature of this technological tool which actively engages students in the learning process.

Useful Resources:

Edward Attwell

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