The Wonderful World of Wikis!


Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing.
-Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder (Wales, 2004) (excerpted from Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools by Will Richardson)



A video describing the basic concept of a wiki and how you can use it to collaborate with others. This particular video focuses on four friends trying to collaborate together about a camping trip they are going to take and how they use the wiki to successfully accomplish this.



How familiar are you with wikis?

Rank your wiki knowledge by selecting the answer that describes you best.



Exceptional Wikis:

The absolute best way to begin thinking about making or using a wiki for yourself is to look at examples of how they are being used by others. Explore some of the sites to get some ideas on starting your own or using some that are already available for you. A brief description of each wiki is listed after the link. Explore wikis that interest you! You can simply do a Google search and find a plethora of wikis on your topic.

Wikipedia - This is a great starting point to really see what a wiki is all about. Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that is created and updated by...everyone. Although it seems quite scary to imagine using an encyclopedia created by anyone who wants to contribute, it is actually quite accurate. On average, wikipedia is updated once every few seconds and wrong information is usually handled within a matter of minutes. Check out the wikipedia entry for "middle school". If you have something to add, go ahead and add it. All you have to do is click one of the blue "edit" links and type away.

Alabama Best Practice 21st Century Wiki - The collaborative wiki created to act as a resource and showcase of learning for the schools participating in the 21st Century initiative. Also acts as a great resource for anyone interested in 21st century technology tools.

High School Online Collaborative Writing Wiki - An excellent wiki created by a high school teacher for writing on different topics. Click your favorite topic at the top of this wiki to learn more about it. This wiki was featured in Will Richardson's book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.

April Chamberlain's Advanced Wiki - This wiki really gets down to some exciting things that you can add to your wiki. It tells you how to add video, podcasts, and other great tools to enhance your own wiki. She gives simple instructions and has many links to very cool tools. (password protected - username: teachers; password: wiki)

Westwood Schools Wiki - This is an award-winning wiki that is an online collaboration of students at Westwood Schools in Georgia. It is an excellent example of how wikis can be used in the classroom for student collaboration and learning.

My Learning Strategies Wiki - It's a work in progress but I hope that this will be a great learning tool for the students throughout the rest of the year.

Ms. Adams' and Mrs. Depew's Reading Wiki - This is a collaborative wiki from one of our classes at Challenger. The students researched a famous person and created their report on a wiki.

Cullman Collaborative Books Project Wiki - This wiki was a 21st Century project for a school in Cullman where students use the wiki to write a collaborative book. Any Cullman students interested in adding to the book were encouraged to contribute and they've really come up with some amazing stories and poetry. The plan is for their books to be published once they have been completed.



Getting Started with Your Own Wiki (It's really easier than you think!):

There are many different websites where you can create your own wikis. Explore them all and then choose the one that you think will be the most useful for you. Each site has their own adantages and disadvantages. I will try to list some of both beside each link but please visit them yourself and then make a decision.

Wikispaces - This is a very easy place to get started and is, in fact, the host for the wiki you are viewing right now. Just go to the site, fill in the information in the green box at the top and you've created a wiki. Simply click the "edit this page" button at the top and begin writing. This website is very simple and can do quite a bit but some is not as "feature rich" as some other wiki host sites. For instance, you can only choose from 4 different font sizes, can't change word color, etc.

PB Wiki - Named so because it is as easy to use as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Easy enough? All you need to start is a site name and your e-mail address. Once you click to create your wiki it will send you an e-mail with your wiki address and you can watch a short informational video about PB Wiki right there on the site. There is no limit to the amount of wikis you can create here and you can password protect them for only you and your students if you wish.

JotSpot - JotSpot is a great site for someone who wants to create a very feature-rich wiki and have individual logins for each person you would like to allow to edit your wiki. This feature is great because you will be able to tell which student has edited the blog and exactly what that particular student has written.

WetPaint - This is another easy to use site to create your wiki. It's best to explore the features of each website and choose the one that you think will work best for you and your classroom.



The possibilities are endless! Please add your own ideas!**