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Using Wikis for Digital Writing
What is a wiki? A wiki is a type of website that is designed for a community of users to be able to quickly and easily edit content. Because wikis are designed to be edited collaboratively, they make excellent places for students to do digital writing.
Watch this video for a great explanation of wikis:
Handout (for teachers) about what makes a good wiki:
IDEAS for using wikis in the classroom
: Have your students create readers’ guides to share their favorite and most important parts of works you’ve read in class.
Write a Wikibook
Make it a class project to collaboratively write a reference book that others can use.
: Ask students to create study guides for a specific part of the unit you’re studying.
: Get your class to create a glossary of terms they use and learn about in new units, adding definitions and images.
: Assign portfolio pages to each of your students, and allow them to display and discuss their work.
: By asking groups to use central documents in a wiki, you can ensure that everyone’s documentation will be uniform.
: Ask your class to create an "encyclopedia" on a topic, adding useful information that can be built upon through the years.
Create exploratory projects
: If you’re teaching a new subject, ask your students to collect and share information in the wiki so that you can learn together.
: Start a creative writing unit, and get your students to write a short story together, each writing a small amount of the story.
Choose your own adventure story
: A twist on the multi-author story could be a choose your own adventure story, where each student branches out into a different path.
: Host a book club on your wiki where students are required to read the same book, then discuss it on the wiki.
EXAMPLES of student writing on wikis can be found here:
: This wiki was created by a middle grades language arts class in North Carolina. It was designed to give students opportunities to practice problem-solution essay writing while studying issues related to alternative energy and the use of fossil fuels. Be sure to explore
the “For Teachers” page
which gives an extensive overview of the rationale behind this project.
Horizon Project 2007
: This wiki—recognized as a finalist in the 2007 Edublogs award competition—was a collaborative project between high school students in five different countries who were developing a vision of what classrooms of the future might look like after studying the 2007 Horizon Report released by the New Media Consortium and Educase. Be sure to explore the
“Project Review” link
which provides extensive details about how this wiki was organized and developed.
: This high school English wiki was created as a part of a study of British Romanticism. It includes 500-700 word articles detailing the art, music and poetry of the British Romantic area. Be sure to explore the “Discussion” tab of each page in this wiki, which provide an interesting look into how students can use the discussion boards on wikis to plan their collective efforts—and to build a sense of community with their peers.
: This fun wiki project is being created by a collection of second and third grade computer students from five different states. Participating students designed a monster using digital tools and wrote a set of directions for redrawing their monsters. Then, students from another state attempted to recreate the same monsters by following the written directions provided. Final images of rendered drawings were uploaded to the Monster Project wiki for comparison. Some of the best examples of final products can be found on
Ms. Graham’s 2nd Grade” page
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