Why Wiki?

Wiki pages can be a great tool for English teachers. Whether it is used as an online publishing tool, a discussion board, a way to collaborate groupwork or for other projects, wikis are a fantastic way for a class to communicate, especially outside of the classroom. They can also provide students with a genuine publishing opportunity.

Wikis can be used for:

  • Discussion boards---post a video, a picture, a question, a reading assignment, a web link, etc. then have students participate in a discussion thread. You can easily monitor who participates and how often. Since many schools do not allow blog access, this is a great alternative!

  • Publication opportunities--students can create their own pages and publish work for private or public viewing. You can set the space up so just you, just the students, or the whole world can view their work! Students can also customize their pages with pictures and graphics. Wikis have been referred to as a "safe" myspace, so students eat it up!

  • Group collaboration--A wiki can give students the opportunity to work on a group document from home and in class. You can easily monitor who contributes and watch the project take shape.

  • Online literary circles--as with discussion boards and group collaboration, this is a great way to facilitate a discussion about a novel from home.

  • Peer revision--Students can post drafts of written work, comment, edit, revise and respond via discussion board.

  • Electronic portfolios--Create a class homepage and a page for every student in the class to upload their written assignments. Combine this with all of these activities and students can create, collect and maintain quite a portfolio to show learning and progress throughout the school year.

  • Projects--have students create a wiki for a class project at the end of a unit. For example, students could create a wiki page of a famous author or character in a book (similar to a "myspace" format).

  • Research--what a refreshing twist to the traditional research "paper"! Students can now create their own website on virtually any topic imaginable!!

Using a wiki in your English Classroom? Share the wealth!