Wikis in the Classroom

Presenters: Joanne Hood & Jennifer Edenfield, Claudia Baldowski & Dee Koscik, David Rogie
Target Audience: Everyone
Location: US Math & Science F172
Times (session is repeated): Session A 9:20-10:10 / Session B 10:20-11:10
(Audience limit: 20)

In this session, several WA teachers will share ways they have implemented wikis to support classroom learning.

Joanne Hood & Jennifer Edenfield, WN - Can you do the "Wiki Waddle?"
"Tacky was a very odd bird, but a nice bird to have around." Wikis may sound odd, but they're a good tool to have around! So waddle this way into the wonderful world of wikis. We will be showcasing our recent Penguin Project. If second graders can wiki, so can you! You will see how easy and fun projects can be when your students publish a wiki page. We will show you how to get started and share some management tips. We have ideas, examples, resources, and fun applications for all ability levels. You will be amazed at the ease and engagement that wikis provide. Wikis enable students to work individually or as a team. So join us for a wiki expedition - we'll see you in Anarctica!

Check out some more examples of wikis in action :

Claudia Baldowski & Dee Koscik, MS - Wikis in Middle School Reading & English
The wikis in middle school reading and English have taken the place of long time projects, replaced the poster board and written assignments. They have enabled students to work cooperatively in the lab at school or from home and fostered collaboration among students in different class periods. Posting assignments and projects on the wikis have allowed students to share beyond the classroom, giving them a greater target audience. The 8th grade honors reading wiki for Animal Farm and Man, the Mythmaker will be presented along with Romeo and Juliet from 8th grade prep English.

Each of the following wikis were used for a different purpose, which we plan to share with you, so that you can learn different ways to utilize this tool. Check them out below!

David Rogie, PS - Wiki as Parent Communication Portal
I created a science wiki as a way of communicating to parents what students were studying during each unit. The site was designed with pages for each grade level including a brief outline of the unit, key terms, things to do at home and websites to help parents with ideas and information. Using online slideshow tools (e.g. RockYou, Bubbleshare), I embedded digital photos of the students during labs and activities. A page was added to post homework and test dates, links for the 2nd and 3rd graders to use during research projects, and puzzles for students to do at home.

What is a Wiki?

Simply, a wiki is a website that anyone can edit easily using a regular web browser. The first wiki was developed in 1995 by Ward Cunningham, who named his project after the Hawaiian word "wiki-wiki," meaning "quick." If you can use a word processor, copy and paste, and send an email attachment, you can create a wiki. A wiki site may be as basic as a single page containing information and links by one author, or as complex as Wikipedia, the collaborative web-based encyclopedia, containing over 9 million articles in 250 languages, written, edited and constantly updated by thousands of users. (We won't debate the merits of Wikipedia at this particular moment, but most educators will concede that it has some value as a ready reference tool, and also that it can be used as a means for teaching students to critically evaluate online information sources).

Wikis in Plain English, from CommonCraft:

Why Wikis in Education?
Wikis encourage shared knowledge construction, as they are often built and edited by many users at once. Teachers and students can use wikis for publishing, organizing, and sharing virtually any kind of information – professional, creative or academic. Wikis are democratic tools that, implemented effectively, can enable students to take responsibility for learning outcomes, plan and make decisions, work together, publish to an audience beyond the classroom and, perhaps most importantly, teach others.

At is simplest, a wiki is a really easy way to make a website. At its most robust, a wiki is a collaborative, participatory, living, evolving content repository. (Of course, the quality of the content is what matters). Wikis can be used to support classroom learning, professional development, collaborative document writing, planning and resource-building. Essentially, a wiki is anything you want it to be.

Selected Examples of Classroom Wikis

  • Go West - Third graders share their learning about Westward Expansion along the Oregon Trail.
  • My Side of the Mountain - Fourth graders share what they have learned about surviving in the wilderness after reading this classic novel by Jean Craighhead George.
  • Native Americans - Online showcase for second graders' study of Native Americans.
  • Small Stones - AP Calculus students write their own textbook by "scribe posting" a review of each day's lesson.
  • Turn Homeward, Hannalee - Fifth graders created a comprehensive study guide for this Civil War era historical novel.

  • 1001 Flat World Tales - An ongoing global writing workshop emphasizing peer editing and revision. The challenge: "You are a modern Scheherazade. You must tell an 'amazing' story that keeps your King interested in order to stay alive. You will have an advantage over Scheherezade, though: you can draft and revise your story until the 'King' -- three or four of your classmates -- judge your story is good enough to allow you to survive."
  • Code Blue - Sixth grade students learning about the human body open their own online "medical clinic."
  • Discovery Utopias - Middle school students answer "all of the great questions" of society (What is the role of government, What is the responsibility of the individual, etc.) and come to a collaborative consensus about what a society truly needs in order to reach for perfection and sustainability. Click the Discovery Utopias link at the bottom of the navigation area (just above the visitor map) to view the student projects.
  • Flat Classroom Project - Third year of this ward-winning global collaboration between high school students in U.S. and many countries abroad. Students studied and reported on each of the ten "flatteners" presented in Friedman's The World is Flat, using a variety of Web 2.0 tools. This is true 21st Century collaboration. (Video: Flat Classroom Project Review)
  • Great Debate 2008 - Collaborative project that provides students in grades 8-12 with an opportunity to lead an exploration and discussion of issues and candidates surrounding the 2008 presidential election.
  • Holocaust Wiki Project - AP World History students create "branching stories" about families in the Holocaust. "They have to come up with realistic decision points, describe the pros and cons, address the consequences of each decision, and fill it in with a narrative that reflects their research on the Holocaust." (Click Period 1, 2, 3 or 4 at the bottom of the page to view student projects).
  • Kubler Reading - Fourth grade students organize their of study Natalie Babbit's Tuck Everlasting on a wiki.
  • Primary Math - Primary students share their math learning with students around the world.
  • Thousands Project - Each month, Mr. Monson's fifth grade class posts a new question, hoping to receive 1000 responses from students and visitors from around the world.
  • Welker's Wikinomics - Award-winning project supporting the teaching of AP Economics. Be sure to check out the Discussion Forum.