A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content. Wikipedia, the online open-community encyclopedia, is the largest and perhaps the most well known of these knowledge sharing tools, but with benefits that wikis provide the use and popularity of these tools is exploding.

Some of the benefits that make the use of wikis so attractive are:

  • Anyone (registered or unregistered, if unrestricted) can add, edit or delete content.
  • Tracking tools within wikis allow you to easily keep up on what been changed and by whom.
  • Earlier versions of a page can be rolled back and viewed when needed.
  • Users do not need to know HTML in order to apply styles to text or add and edit content. In most cases simple syntax structure is used.
As the use of wikis has grown over the last few years, libraries all over the country have begun to use them to collaborate and share knowledge. Among their applications are pathfinder or subject guide wikis, book review wikis, ALA conference wikis and even library best practices wikis.

Sample School Wiki
http://westwood.wikispaces.com/
Additional School Wiki Samples
http://educationalwikis.wikispaces.com/Examples%20of%20educational%20wikis


How do you use a wiki?
http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2006/08/how-i-use-wikis-what-do-you-do.html

Curriculum Connections:
Wikis can be made for any classroom!
  • Idea #1: Collaborative note-taking. Everyone pitches in and adds a fact or two about a topic. Teachers can encourage students to include opinions, challenges, and appropriate criticism. Students would then write essays using only these notes. Make sure that each addition includes a citation to website, book, or database, including page numbers so that it can be checked.
  • Idea #2: History. Students can compile a wiki of famous artists, architects, writers, and other key historical figures from a city, state, or country.
  • Idea #3: Create a "top 10" lists and supporting material. This could include scientists and their discoveries, top writers and their books, ... you get the idea.
  • Idea #4: Mission trading cards (see Week 3), once completed, could be added to a class wiki.