• Why would you even want to implement the use of a wiki in your learning environment?
  • What are the advantages?
  • What are the disadvantages?
  • What are some ways others are using wikis in education?
These are all valid and important questions to ask yourself when starting a wiki. Below are some ideas, tips, tricks, and best practices for using wikis in your learning environment.

Wikis in Your Classroom

There are a number of ways to use wikis in the classroom setting. Here are just a few:
  1. Post class materials
  2. Class website
  3. Student collaboration on projects
  4. Share student work (portfolios)
  5. Post topic videos
  6. Share class notes
  7. Teaching proper internet safety
  8. Collaborate with other classes, schools or "experts" outside of your school
  9. Create a paperless classroom
  10. Parental communication
  11. Writing prompts via discussions
  12. Student/teacher collaboration

Wikis as a Professional
Wikis can also be a powerful tool for your own professional growth and learning. Here are just a few ways that you can use them as a professional:
  1. PLCs within your school
  2. Collaborate with teachers of your same content area
  3. Extend your PLN beyond the walls of your school or your city limits
  4. Create an online, digital portfolio
  5. Staff development
  6. Share resources and documents pertaining to your school with your staff
  7. Staff book studies
  8. Parent communication
  9. Educational updates and current events

Smart Teaching has provided 50 Ways to use wikis for a more collaborative and interactive classroom.

Things to Keep in Mind

When planning a wiki in an educational setting, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
  1. If you are going to have your students interact with you wiki by adding contents, comments or posts you should send home a letter to parents informing them of such. A student contract isn't a bad idea either. That way everyone is on the same page and aware of the expectations.
  2. Teach and model internet safety. Just because our students are surrounded with technology and can take it apart and put it back together faster than most adults can figure out how to turn it on doesn't mean they intuitively know how to stay safe online. The VIDEOS page has an excellent video called "Everyone Knows Your Name" that you could share with your students about how quickly information can travel on the internet.
  3. Have an idea and start small. If you are creating a blog simply because it's a cool technology tool your students will see through that and quickly become bored with it. Start with a specific reason, such as online journaling or project collaboration, and grow from there.
  4. Monitor your wiki. Any and all content that is on your wiki is ultimately your responsibility and is open for all of the world to see (if you have a protected wiki.) It is your responsibility to not only teach your students appropriate ways to use the wiki, but also to monitor their activity.
  5. Check your links to make sure they're still good. There are very few things more annoying than clicking on a link that is going to be "really cool" and finding it to be a dead link. So, check you links every once in a while to make sure they're still good.
    • Note, when adding links it is a good idea to actually go to the site and copy the web address and paste it directly into your blog. There are a lot of sites out there that if you change the domain from a .gov or .edu to a .com, you will be sending blog visitors to undesirable sites.