If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it. -Margaret Fuller
Wikis are tools for taking student and teacher collaboration to the next level. The most famous wiki is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia created by users from around the globe. Wikis are also increasingly being used by the corporate world. eBay recently added wikis to its auction site so members can coauthor articles about buying and selling. Not surprisingly, K-12 schools are also taking advantage of the opportunities for “collaborative construction” that wikis provide.
I have used Wikispaces to create a free class wiki for my students. Wikispaces is free for K-12 educators and is free of advertising. It is also user friendly and a good place to start if you haven’t used wikis before. I simply upload PDF documents to the wiki for my students. They have a shortcut to the wiki on their iPads. One touch takes them to the wiki and they are able to download the document into our DocAS app. Any PDF annotating app can be used. My students can complete an assignment, math practice page, or a written assessment on the DocAS app and then I can either upload it to PaperPort for printing or emailing. I can also save it to the camera roll and use the Simple Transfer app to retrieve their work.
Another benefit to using a wiki is I can upload PDF readers for my students. I downloaded several word family books and sight word books at Hubbard’s Cupboard website. The children downloaded them from the wiki into their iBooks app. Now, along with the books I have written for them in iBooks Author, they also have PDF books on their bookshelf. This gives them several books right at their fingertips they can read any time.
Using the wiki also reduces the amount of copies made in my classroom. I can keep a copy of the student work from the iPad if I choose to. Wikis are a convenient, efficient, and cost-effective way to provide learning materials to my students. I have also created wikis for various committees on our staff. This is an easy way for us to share meeting agendas, materials and other ideas.
I encourage you to try using wikis in your classroom. Wikispaces makes all education pages private and can only be accessed by invitation only. This is a secure means of encouraging collaboration and sharing knowledge.
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