I found this site http://pbwiki.com/edu.wiki while looking through one of Clarence’s blogs at Remote Access. I think this would be a useful classroom tool. A wiki is a website where many people – a group of students or teachers, for example – may add, remove, edit and change content and usually without registration. Participants can add hypertext, photos, sound bytes and other information such as research documents. As more pages are added to the website (wiki), the document becomes a database of the topic of study.
The most useful feature of wikis seems to be collaborative projects. For example, as a teacher of Spanish, I could arrange an activity with students in Mexico to discuss the typical day or week in the life of a teenage boy or girl and my students in turn could discuss their lives.
Some other ideas that I came across for other subjects included: math – geometry wiki for students to share and rewrite proofs; science – observations from field sites, such as water-testing in local streams, weather observations from across your state, or bird counts during migratory season – this could be done in collaboration with other schools; social studies – a local history wiki, documenting historical buildings, events, and people within the community. Adult community members could add their input by signing up for “membership” in the wiki. This project could continue on for years and actually be a service to the community.
Wikis would be especially beneficial to language arts classes. It could become an online writer’s workshop or poetry workshop with suggested revisions from classmates. Students could start with drafts and collaborate.
I found many sources for lesson ideas and uses while researching wikis. Some are free and some cost. The wiki site mentioned in the opening of this blog has three upgrade versions beginning at $9.95/ month. Premium PBwikis get advanced access controls, which let you grant certain people editing privileges, while others are limited to reading. The free plan allows one password.