Last fall Wikispaces added a new feature to the free education version of their collaborative website platform called Projects. Designed specifically for classroom use, this new feature has streamlined the process of organizing and implementing collaborative projects by allowing wiki organizers to set aside designated space for project based team work. With the push a button, wiki organizers now have the ability to setup a project, assign students to teams, control editing and viewing privileges for each team space, and utilize templates created specifically for that project. Basically, the Projects feature allows organizers to create a wiki within a wiki!
How can educators use this new feature to streamline the process of managing and implementing collaborative projects?
- Wiki organizers can create new projects right within an existing class wiki, rather than creating a separate project wiki to keep things organized.
- A project template can be used as a starting point or home page. Each team space will have their own copy of the page which means they can interact with it, instead of just viewing it. Templates can include text, graphics, multimedia, links and any number of embeddable resources. Imagine an interactive, multi-media project rubric students can use to document work and self-evaluate as they go.
- Teams of students can easily create new pages within their team space that are automatically linked to their home page for easy navigation. These pages can be unique and designed by students, or they can be modified templates created by wiki organizers to guide the learning and provide consistency.
- Team members can hold discussions with each other that are independent of the other parts of the wiki and found in one location for easy access. Organizers have the ability to participate in each team’s discussion to provide students with immediate feedback and guide a project in this 24/7 classroom.
- Wiki organizers can save time by creating templates and resources that can be used the next time the project is implemented, or modifying those templates for similiar projects.
- Basically the Projects feature gives organizers the ability to turn a wiki into a tool that drives the classroom, providing one-stop shopping for communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity!
Things to Note:
If you are already a Wikispaces user and you are interested in trying this new feature, please note that you must have an educator account to view and access the Projects link in the sidebar. It’s also important to do some prep work and planning before attempting to setup a project, so taking the time to fill out a lesson plan will prove helpful in the long run. You’ll need to come up with team names and decide how many students will be included in each team. The most important thing to note is this: If you want to provide students with a project kickoff page, create that page first, then turn it into a template before setting up the project.
If you haven’t yet tried Wikispaces, you can setup a free educator account at wikispaces.com. If you need more information about why you should try a wiki, or if you would like to view some sample wikis, please read my earlier post: Wild About Wikispaces.