Whenever I need a quick, handy, and attractive place to post things, I just seem to naturally turn to wikis. And why not? They are easy to set up, easy to customize, and most of all, priced right. They have so many applications for educators, and I want the world to know! For instance, just the other day, I’ve been trying to get some materials organized for a couple of short workshops for students doing a multimedia project.
I am a firm believe that students’ work be made more public, easily found and accessible to other students in the class, and archived in some manner for the instructor’s records. Archived student work can serve as a record of progress for both students and teacher and can provide helpful examples for future classes. However, it seems to be the norm for student projects to become recent history as soon as class is over. That’s where my wiki idea comes in . . .
To showcase and archive projects, set up a wiki. Have your students create pages that link from that semester’s class, upload their project files and link to them, or insert their projects if they are viewable online, such as a compressed video, flash presentation, or podcast. By investing this small amount of time and planning, you will have the projects as long as the wiki service stays in business. (I like wikispaces.com and pbwiki.com). This wiki could serve a very useful purpose as an electronic portfolio for your tenure and examples of previous student work for next semester’s class. It’s a great investment of a very minimal amount of time and effort. Let me give you an example . . .
As I said, I’m working on putting together a couple of quick workshops for students–one is on Advanced PowerPoint techniques, the other on creating a website using Google Page Creator. Instead of printing out the handouts, I’ll use the wiki to provide instructional materials to download and print from there. Students could use this wiki to post their project work, with each student creating a page (their name, for instance), along with a photo and a brief biography. From each student’s home page, they could create a link to their project. This would be so simple and students would also learn more about wikis and how to use them.
You can view this wiki at: http://nursing241.pbwiki.com
As you can see, I’ve included a navigation sidebar and materials to download on the main page. This is still under construction, but I think it’s just another great way to use a wiki. Now, send me examples of how you are using wikis and tell us about them. And again, thanks for reading.