Creating and using wikis in education

wikispacesI have created a couple of wikis to share information with colleagues and used a few others to allow student collaboration on projects. I have found wikis a very easy way to share information that I used in presentations I made at a few SLAV meetings and conferences. I have also a member of wikis created by others. Next I am beginning a new project with some students where we will share our thoughts and ideas on reading and books using a wiki.

A wiki, in simple terms, is a web page/database of sites that can be edited easily by one person or by many. It can be built on visitors’ comments and offers many additional features.  It can be used as for a collection of resources, but its most powerful use is for collaborative purposes, where all members can work in real or virtual teams to create a site full of rich material. They may include all of the text, images, links, video, podcasts and other multimedia options amongst the material they choose to share.

There are basically 3 different types of wikis: “Public” where you can build a freely editable and public wiki (eg wikipedia). If you need, as schools do, more privacy and security, you can choose a moderated wiki format with the possibility of having user agreements and locking some pages from public view. These can be classed as “protected” where anyone can read them but only members can edit or “private” where only members can read or edit them. 

In the “Moderated Wiki” format the owners are able to review comments before they’re added to the main body of a topic. It is a very simple way of sharing ideas and information on projects and maintaining a safe environment for our students. You can search all the page contents and also view when all the updates occurred to track the development of the wiki.

Wikis are very easy to create and use. There are many places you can go to for advice if you need it. This one is a GoogleDocs presentation by Richard Byrne and offers a brief introduction to wikis: Basics of Creating and Editing a Wikispaces Wiki.

There is also this very detailed explanation on slideshare:

 And of course Wikis in Plain English is a great starting point for understanding the wiki concept.

There are so many wikis available to us. They are on all sorts of topics and the scope is amazing. If you are looking for wikis, you could try using this wiki search engine. If you are you looking for live editable information or want to find and comment on other people’s wikis then is a search engine that might be of use for you.


It offers a search engine which allows you to search by

  • keyword
  • all Wikis
  • Wikipedia Only
  • indie wikis only and
  • encyclopedias only.

This search engine gives you easy access to wiki material including all Wikipedia information.

 Some wikis, for education (besides the ones listed in my sidebar), that you might like to visit could include:

For an example of a  student created wiki have a look at this  example . (This was a wiki page developed for the netgened project. Link thanks to Anne Mirtschin

While you are lat it have a look at this post by Ann about how she and her students have been involved in some fantastic global projects utilising the wiki idea.



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