Evaluating Emerging Technologies Project

Use Wikis in the Classroom
to Communicate,
Collaborate, and
ITEC 7445
NOVEMBER 11, 2013
What is a Wiki?
wiki is a web site that allows
anyone to add, delete, or
revise content using a web
How Does Wikispaces Support
Our Vision for Technology Use?
Our vision is a technology driven personalized learning environment
that results in increased student collaboration and academic
performance. Wikispaces supports this vision for technology use
because it
Is easy to use
Allows teachers and students to gather internet resources
Allows students to learn from their peers
Offers students deeper engagement with the course material
Allows for out-of-classroom / Asynchronous learning
Is flexible and scalable
What age and grade level ranges
are appropriate for using the
emerging technology?
K-12. The scalability and utility is the most desirable
features of a wiki. At lower grade levels wikis can
be a means to gather and share internet related
content and classroom resources. At upper grade
levels, beginning in middle school, the
collaborative aspects of wikis allow for unique
classroom implementation opportunities.
What Equipment and Software are
Wikispaces is entirely web based. All that is required is a device with
web browser and access to the internet. Our school is already very
near a 1:1 technology model through our BYOT program.
Our district technology department provides excellent technical
support for any hardware issues that arise.
Wikispaces provides tutorials on their home page. Here you can
learn how to how to create, edit, share pages as well as how to
embed rich content and other applications within pages.
What are the Limitations?
Internet access is required. There will be some who do not have
internet access at home. This number is shrinking every year.
At school, the students will need to have access to an internetaccessible device. There will be occasions when students will not
have access because they either don’t have their own device, or
the mobile lap top carts, computer labs, and classroom computers
are maxed out.
Since students have the ability to post their own content, there
could be some safety issues involved. Wikispaces allows creators to
tightly control permissions and lists all recent changes. Monitoring
who does what and when is very simple.
How Much Does it Cost?
Wikispaces Classroom is free for k-12 educators. During the
registration process teachers check a box to “certify” that their wiki
will be used for education.
Teachers can “bulk enroll” up to 100 students. Students then receive
each students own log in ID and Password.
There is an upgradeable version beyond the Basic subscription
service. The extra features are bells and whistles. The basic version
offers all the features users would need for a quality wiki experience.
Between our district BYOT and computers already in our schools,
cost is not a factor.
What are Some Potential Funding
The district is taking measures to address the lack of internet access
among some segments of the population. Though the majority of
the 40,500 students in the school district have Internet access at
home, there are about 7,000 who don’t.
The effort aims to address the broadband access gap between
school and home.
Through fundraising efforts and local business grants the district has
recently purchased portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices to be
strategically positioned in needed areas.
How Can Wikispaces Be Used in the
To meet content and technology standards.
To promote student learning
To differentiate instruction
To promote communication among students,
parents, and the community
Content and Technology
Students can…
Create electronic portfolios
Create study guides
Create dynamic journals
Create notebooks
Aggregate resources to be used for projects
Promote Student Learning
Students can generate their own knowledge by creating,
communicating, and collaborating.
Students can participate in authentic learning tasks with members
of the community and experts outside the school.
Through peer editing and teacher feedback students can receive
supportive writing instruction.
A wiki is ideally suited for project based learning where students use
critical thinking skills to work within teams to locate, analyze,
synthesize, information to find answers to problems and share their
Teachers can easily use Wikispaces to differentiate content through:
• Accelerated Coverage of Material
• Varied Supplementary Materials
• Varied Graphic Organizers
• Independent Study
• Tiered Assignments
• Interest Development Centers
• Compacting
This list is scratching the surface of how wikis can be used to differentiate.
There are probably ways to use Wikis to help special needs learners that
have not even been thought of yet.
Differentiation, cont’d
The utility of wikis makes differentiation easy. Teachers who have their
own class wiki can easily load content onto the page and assign the
work on an as needed basis, for enrichment or remediation. The
collaborative aspect of wikis offer teachers an effective way to
differentiate for special needs students. Teachers can pair these
students with their on-level, or advanced classmates and use peer
editing to help struggling writers.
Project based learning can be modified easily in both content and
process. Teachers can easily scaffold the content and allow students
to progress at their own pace.
What Does the Research Suggest
About Wikis?
Research suggests that wikis are being used quite frequently and in
different ways, but their effectiveness on student learning has not been
adequately studied. Overall, there is a shortage of empirical data
regarding their effectiveness on student learning. (O’Bannon, 2012)
How Should Wikis be Implemented
into the Classroom?
Teachers will need to be trained on the use of wikis as an effective
technology tool for use in the classroom.
Wikispaces offers a plethora of tutorials on everything from
registering for the site, adding pages, creating content, and setting
Teachers should be able to train themselves and quickly
implemented during daily planning time.
Novice teachers can join the wiki pages of teachers already adept
at using Wikispaces.
Teachers should be encouraged to use wikis in creative and intuitive
I’ve become an advocate of classroom wikis over the last few months.
I like Wikispaces in particular because of their free hosting for K-12
teachers; and the simplicity of their WYSIWYG editing makes the
technology easy to use, even for novice computer users.
In my classroom I’ve used wikis in two ways: as a classroom content
manager and as a platform for project based learning. My students
use their BYOT device every day to log onto the classroom wiki, on
which they will see their reading assignments, discussions, and projects.
My students also have their own wiki accounts. I have assigned wiki
projects, and my students have produced outstanding work. They are
motivated and engaged in the learning process. So, even though the
research about wiki effectiveness is inconclusive, I’m a big fan.
Heafner, T. L., & Friedman, A. M. (2008). Wikis and constructivism in
secondary social studies: Fostering a deeper understanding.
Computers in the Schools, 25(3–4), 288–302
O'Bannon, B. W., & Britt, V. G. (2012). Creating/developing/using a wiki
study guide: effects on student achievement.(Report) Journal Of
Research On Technology In Education, (4), 293