Wikispaces Classroom – A Flexible Tool for Teaching & Learning


Wikispaces Classroom is a flexible tool that has many useful features for designing and implementing technology powered learning experiences to support all learners. This online learning platform and virtual classroom is free, efficient, and built to support teaching and learning. 
Wikispaces is well-suited for engaging students in creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

About Wikispaces Classroom

Launched last spring, Wikispaces classroom was designed to streamline classroom management and engage students in learning through the use of private social networking tools that are limited to members of a wiki classroom. There is a newsfeed, a projects calendar and a newly designed discussion area to encourage communication and collaboration about learning. Discussions can be monitored for student engagement in real time through the Assessment tab. This immediate feedback for teachers can be useful for providing students with on the spot interventions and challenges.



Projects

Designed for classroom use, the Projects feature provides designated workspace for project-based teamwork. With the push a button, teachers have the ability to set up a project, assign students to teams, and monitor engagement within each team space as a means of formative assessment. Projects can be differentiated for teams, since the teacher has the ability to manage and monitor the project workspace at all levels.

Widgets

A simple widget lets wiki members embed Web 2.0 tools into any page to provide students with flexible means of engagement. Just pop the embed code from an online tool right into a wiki widget and bring the learning right to the student page. Students can create projects, explore projects created by their peers, and engage in discussions about the learning, 24/7.


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Templates

A wiki template is like a virtual copy machine that can be used to provide students with consistent formatting options, prompts, and directions for a project. Templates save time and they can be extremely useful for guiding the learning.



Student Accounts

Students do not need email accounts to join a classroom wiki. Teachers can upload a simple spreadsheet to add users instantly. Teachers can monitor student account activity and provide them with guidance to help them follow develop digital citizenship skills. 



Why I’m Wild About Wikispaces

I am wild about Wikispaces because it provides teachers with a flexible tool to help students become engaged in learning and it supports the development of collaborative skills necessary for them to succeed in school and beyond.

Take a video tour of the Wikispaces Campus


3 Ways to Embrace Change This Year


Teachers embracing technology to support the Common Core and new ways of teaching may want to get organized and prepared for some positive changes. Here are 3 ways to get  ready for change in the New Year.




Adopt an Online Learning Platform

Make the most of a blended learning environment by extending the walls of your classroom tp  help students come to class excited and prepared to learn. Use discussions to give quiet students a voice and encourage collaboration. There are plenty of teacher friendly learning platforms available.  Here are two choices I like.

Edmodo

Edmodo is a popular, free and secure social learning platform for teachers and students to collaborate and connect in the 24/7 classroom. The design and functionality of Edmodo is similar to Facebook, but the focus is on teaching and learning within a protected environment. Students don’t even need an email account to sign up.


Wikispaces

Wikispaces is a simple yet efficient online tool for the 24/7 classroom. This completely flexible tool  provides teachers with a platform to support project based learning and  develop super skills for the 21st century. The most appealing feature of using Wikispaces for me is the fact that you can easily embed anything into it. And, I love the discussions. Students don’t need an email to sign up.



    ReDesign Homework

    Once you have an online learning platform you can take a break from worksheets and consider designing engaging learning experiences that require students to think deeper. Try one of these digital tools for a change of pace. 

    ThingLink

    Start with an image. Add multimedia to bring a concept to life. Provide students with a task of challenge. Embed the interactive graphic into Edmodo with the click or a button or easily copy and paste the code into a wiki widget. There are many possibilities, including this simple activity which uses Google Docs to guide the learning and provide accountability.


    TeachEm

    TeachEm is a free and user friendly digital tool that allows users to capture YouTube content, organize it, and add time stamped flashcards to guide the learning. It’s simple, smart and efficient which makes it a good tool for busy teachers interested in implementing a Flipped Classroom instructional model. View this example. 

    MentorMob

    MentorMob is an efficient and effective tool for curating content and organizing it into learning playlists. MentorMob allows users to interact with live web content right on the page, keeping students on track without getting lost in a stream of open tabs and new pages. As students progress through a playlist at their own pace, MentorMob keeps track of completed steps. Flexibility to move within a playlist is provided by a preview that’s always accessible on the side of the screen, allowing users to jump to different steps as needed for  reteaching and challenge. You can copy and paste the embed code into Edmodo or a Wikispaces widget for easy student access, 24/7. Here is a simple example.



    http://www.mentormob.com//learn/widget/83432/580/99cc33/3-0

    Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

    Curate Your Content

    With loads of free and user friendly online tools available  it’s time to start taking advantage of push button content collection and abandon the idea of using browser bookmarks.

    Scoop.It  Collect information about a topic of interest and display it in the form of a visual magazine. The tool integrates instantly with Twitter and Facebook, allowing you to collect and share content with the click of a button.

    BagTheWeb Easily create a collection of web links which are conveniently stored and shared online. Use the bookmarklet to collect links with one click, then pop  them into organized bags of content that can be embedded.

    Pinterest Create and share boards on any topic, including education. Connected to everything else, collect and share tons of resources quickly. 

    Diigo Create bookmarks, highlight text, add sticky notes, share with groups. Install toolbar for full functionality or digolet for quick bookmarking. Slogan: Collect and highlight, then remember.

    Take a spin through this MentorMob playlist to try some efficient tools to curate your content.