Wikis and Blogs

Classroom Wiki and Blog Information



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Wikis and Blogs in the Classroom


What are Wikis?

A wiki is software used to create a website that can be accessed and edited by multiple individuals from any web browser. Teachers can use a classroom wiki page to allow students to collaborate on a group project. Students and teachers can login to a single locations and add or edit content on the page to their classroom wiki. Teachers or administrators can create an educational wiki that would allow multiple teachers to add and edit content dealing with a specific topic.

Educational Wiki sites:

What are Blogs?

A blog is a shortened version of a Web Log and in laymen's terms means an online interactive journal. Teachers can use classroom blogs to engage students in discussions during and after the usual school day. They can post topics for discussion, additional classroom notes or information, classroom assignments and much more. A classroom blog will allow students to interact with their peers and teachers on a continual basis beyond the usual 45-90 minute class period. Students today use social networking blog sites such as "my space" and "facebook" to talk to their peers about life in and outside of school. Teachers can capitalize on this by bringing blogging into the classroom. The point, is to have students using a medium that appeals to them to increase their understanding of a given topic or discuss a topic that may not have been adequately covered in class.

Educational Blog sites

When to use a blog or a wiki

Classroom wikis are wonderful tools for group projects where you want to allow multiple individuals access to the page to add or edit content. A classroom blog is a great tool for facilitating a discussion on a specific posted topic. As a teacher you do not have to choose one tool over the other. You may decide that using a combination of the two is best for your classroom.

Classroom blogs and classroom wikis are both facilitator led in that teachers can limit who can login and post content. With many classroom blogs, teachers can set it up so comments and posts have to be reviewed by you as the facilitator before they are posted on the blog. The same is not always true of a classroom wiki, but you as the facilitator need to review the information for content and accuracy.


IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are in a district using a proxy filtering software, many times you can request that the URL for your specific classroom blog or classroom wiki be unblocked even if the district will not unblock all blogs and wikis. Don't assume you cannot use these tools in your classroom because they are blocked by a content filter. Contact your local technology help desk or IT director for specific instructions on how to request that a site be unblocked. If you are using blogs and wikis with students, I recommend requiring them to sign an agreement stating that they will use these tools in an educational manner. Let your students know that using these tools is a privilege and not a right and that privilege can be taken away if used inappropriately. I also recommend giving your principal or administrator a written statement that you will be using these resources with your students, that your students have signed an agreement to act appropriately and provide him/her with a copy of the URL for your site(s).


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