I am about to start a project with the 7th grade science teacher at my school and I think a wiki would be a good tool for us. The students are working in groups and researching different genetic disorders. I thought that we could have a separate page for each disorder and the kids in the group could edit their page, adding information, links, and images that show what they have learned about that disorder (ok - it probably isn't going to be pretty). We can call it "dis-wiki" or "gen-dis-wiki" or ...

This will be my first experience using a wiki with kids. I would love to hear your suggestions and advice about how to manage this. Which wiki tool do you think is best? Has anyone used Wetpaint? I also have a Wikispacees account that I could use. Or, maybe you think a wiki isn't the best tool. I welcome your suggestions!

Tags: genetics, research, wiki

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Hi Elizabeth,
We have been running two 10th grade projects on wilispaces this year and have been extremely satisfied with the features, the ease of use (WYSIWYG editing) excellent support and free adfree interface for educational usage.. As a matter of fact I wrote to the wikispaces team this week:

"Wikispaces has been a fantastic environment to allow us to collaborate and share learning. The ease of posting and editing, adding images and videos has allowed us to do many things without having to spend hours upon hours on tech issues. And now the use of the discussion areas for discussiing and evaluating each others work has added a new dimension to sudent creativity."

You can see our projects here:
See a blog entry from Jlearn2.0 about one of these collaborative projects:

The wiki environment sounds well suited for your project. Do it!
All the best,
Hi, Elizabeth. Personally, I've used Wikispaces and I like it. I've not used WetPaint, but have heard good things about it. So, it really depends on what you / your students need.

You might want to try using WikiMatrix to do a comparison. E.g. WetPaint vs Wikispaces.
Hi Elizabeth,

I just started my first wiki with students this week. I am using wikispaces and I am extremely satisfied at the ease of use. The students are really running with it and I have never seen them work so hard! You can check out our wiki at http://openclass.wikispaces.com. You can also check out our full project page at our project homepage. I'm finding that it is really easy to discuss formatting and other content issues with my classes and I am also using the discussion function on each page to point out specific areas for work or improvement. Lastly, you'll find a link on our project homepage to a creative commons search engine which will really help in addressing the whole copyright issue with students. Good luck!
Thanks so much to everyone who has given me suggestions for this project. I really appreciate all of your advice and I'm sure I will be back with more questions once I get started.

It sounds like a lot of people have used wikispaces and have had some good experiences. I have one question - how do mutliple students work on the same page at the same time?
I don't suggest allowing students to work on the same page at the same time, you will have major save issues.
When the students do edits, I have them include a note explaining what the edit is for. This is viewable in the History section. I'm thinking that the pages will start out as very rough drafts and will be progressively edited to a more "finished" version. My compatriot, Beth Fox, put together a great wiki agreement for the students. You can see my version of it here.
Hi Elizabeth,
Our district is currently launching a tablet laptop program to some of our teachers. As part of that program some of our teachers, myself included, have created wikis. Most of us used wikispaces because it's toolbar makes adding texts, pics, etc. very easy. Others used PBwiki which requires some knowledge of HTML. Feel free to browse our wikis and let me know if you have any questions!

After reading this post and all the replies, I decided to check wikispaces out and see if there was a future project I could use it on. So, I go to type it in and our filter blocks it. *sigh*
If any of the higher ups had a sense of humor, I was thinking about submitting a request that we ban Internet usage in school. Think of all the problems with equiptment cost, spam, filtering and plagarism costs we could avoid. The problem: the higher ups would take this proposal seriously.
Editor's Note: the last paragraph was sarcasm, please don't flame me. ;)
Hi Christopher, I recently came accross a post on O'Reilly Network about using Google Translator to get around filters, here's the link http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2006/12/21/using-google-to-..., I'd be interested to know if it actually works :-)
Have you tried stikipad.com -- for some strange reason it is not blocked by our Education Dept filters -- pbwiki is ... you still have access control problems though... I prefer pbwiki, notwithstanding the same problems there.
Regards, Michael O'Neill
Hi again. Just found that access control and statistics in PBWiki require a paid account while the same features in Wikispaces are free. The stats in the latter is not as detailed in as the former though.

If you want concurrent editing, you would do better with tools like Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Still, make sure that the students begin by using Insert > Comment instead of direct editing. Concurrent editing on the same words is not allowed.



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