- Student Journaling
- Personal Portfolios
- Collaborative Knowledge Base
- Research Coordination and Collaboration
- Curricular and Cross-Disciplinary Coordination
- Conference and Colloquia Web Site/Coordination
Of Higdon’s six uses, I am most familiar with using wikis to house a collaborative knowledge base and to coordinate research and collaboration. I am using a wiki in the online course that I teach for these purposes. Later this semester, my students will be using the course wiki to create a guide to free, web-based instructional technologies for K-12 educators. I have also an example of a wiki used for curricular and cross-disciplinary coordination and several examples of wikis used to coordinate conferences. I am skeptical of the value of wikis for student journaling; blogs seem better suited for journaling. I also am uncertain about wiki use for personal portfolios. This is primarily because I take issue with Higdon’s definition of a wiki. There are several browser-based web page editing tools that in my opinion are NOT wikis. Doodle Kit is one example. In my opinion, wikis must allow for multiple authors. An individual can use a wiki tool to create a personal portfolio, but for personal portfolios, I don’t see the wiki platform as providing any advantage over a personal website.
Barbara Schroeder at Boise State University described wiki use in three university courses in an article (pdf) entitled “Within the Wiki: Best Practices for Educators”. An interesting fact quoted in the article is that only 16% of the U.S. online population knows what a wiki is. Schroeder suggests that the main educational uses of wikis involve group collaboration. Unlike Higdon, Schroeder places emphasis on wiki’s ability to “empower learners through a more democratic, open philosophy of learning and sharing”. The wiki best practices suggested by Schroeder include:
- Creating a culture of trust
- Educating students about and holding them accountable to wiki conventions
- Creating a common goal for participation
- Using the wiki for authentic activities
- Providing guides for using the wiki and sandbox for wiki exploration
- Communicating clear deadlines
- Defining roles for collaboration
- Clearly stating course expectations
- Modeling collaborative activities
- Remaining patient with students when they struggle with the technology
Few of these best practices seem unique to working in a wiki environment, but nevertheless, they appear to be sound advice.
Examples of educational wikis
k12 Teachers’ projects
- Geoff Sheehy – An example of wiki used to teach high school English
- Clarence Fisher – An example of a wiki used to teach middle school social studies. The students’ research creates their textbook.
k12 School level Projects
- iaspace – This project is an interdisciplinary project. History, English, and Foreign Language classes (as well as some others) contribute to this project. Students use an educator provided wiki template to create “Facebook-style” profile pages for historical figures and literary characters.
k12 National or international wiki projects
- A Room with a View – Throughout the year, classrooms around the world provide pictures and descriptions of the view from their classroom windows.
- Great Book Stories – Individuals or classrooms can contribute digital stories about the “great books” that they have read.
- The Lunch Box Project– Elementary students around the world practice language skills as they discuss what they eat for lunch.
Wikis for online courses in higher education
- Facilitating online communities – A hub for course information for an online course.
- Connectivism course outline – Another online syllabus for an online course.
- IP&T 286 – The wiki for the class I teach. Again, it is an online syllabus for an online course, but there is also a part of the wiki that will be used for a collaborative project later in the course.
Educator Resource Wikis
- Wikieducator – an online community for educational collaboration.
- Wikis in Education – provided by the people at Wetpaint.
- Educators Wiki – provided by the people at PBwiki.
- WebTools4u2use – a great resource that appears to be the cooperative effort of a number of library specialists.
- Educational Wikis – articles about and tutorials for using wikis for education.