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collaborative learning, web tools

Using wikis to enhance student collaboration

What is a wiki?

wiki image

A wiki is an online space where users can actively participate in the creation and editing of content. A famous example of a wiki is Wikipedia, where the audience can create new webpages, add to existing webpages or edit existing webpages if they think the content is incorrect. The following video explains what a wiki is.

How can I use wikis in my classroom?

There are a wide variety of ways that wikis can be used in the classroom that enhance students working together to produce a common product such as:

  • a class glossary where each student is to explain the definitions of particular technical words in a unit of work and each student needs to check and edit other students’ definitions
  • a story book where each page in the wiki is like a page in a picture book and students are assigned to write for different pages
  • a revision guide where student groups are assigned a topic to create a revision guide for the rest of the class

More ideas of how to use wikis in your classroom can be found in 50 ways to use wikis for a more collaborative and interactive classroom.

Regardless of how the wiki used or what it is used for, the purpose of the wiki is to allow opportunities for students to learn from each other and critiquing each other. A wiki is device to encourage discussion and arguments amongst students in relation to their learning.

Wikis also allow students to engage in higher order thinking. Using wikis for students to learn through creating a product is a high order thinking skill according to Bloom’s digital taxonomy. Using wikis allow students to engage in deep understanding.

Bloom's digital taxonomy

How can I make a wiki?

There are many websites that allow you to make free wikis. Wikispace is one such website. However, for your wiki to be allowed through the NSW DET internet filtering system, the wiki must be set to Private so that only you and your students can view and edit the wiki. The file below is a step-to-step guide to creating a wiki in Wikispaces including how to request a free upgrade to a private wiki and how request to unblock your wiki in the internet filter.

Creating a wiki in wikispaces

For more information on wikis, click on the links below:

Wikis – the what, the how and the why

Getting tricky with wikis

If you have a wiki to share, or any ideas on how to use wikis for student collaboration, please leave a comment.

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