I am just learning wikispaces this year in my computer lab. I successfully created wikispaces for each grade-level team, for each grade level student spaces, one for book reviews, and a few others for special area plans. Wikispaces was great about questions and entering twelve classes of username/passwords for me. With so many students, Excel came in handy for name + automatic number combination. I then copy/pasted the lists to send.

Project logistics-
With six classes in each grade level (I'll begin with 4th-5th) I will group students by their number in class to partner/group wikispaces. Also - I'm hoping it's great for distance collaborations too. Kind of like in here - there is something new each time I check in this site... well at least in my mind that is how they will see it. I have read accounts that students get upset over ownership - but that is part of teamwork in "regular" class too. More life lessons.

With daily contact with teachers at my school and online, we have many topics/standards-based projects in mind - it will all depend on what they are doing when we actually begin. I am planning for 4th graders to be ready for On the Trail of the First PeopleURL: http://eev.liu.edu/KK/na/index.htm with Karen.


Safety-
Wikispaces is safe because school account options can be set to members/invitaion only and I have requested that students share their username/password with parents only - this way parents who have reservations feel safer too.
I'm talking/emailing/blogging/newsletter(ing) home about it before we begin so I can field questions/concerns. I have had good discussions with parents which helps me add to my information I send.
Reading AUP's in CR20 has also been very helpful.

The blocking problem-
The past two months I have made numerous requests of our tech department to unblock sites I need/want such as wikispaces, blogger, podomatic..... Each request listed multiple ways I plan to use the site such as integrating technology and other curriculum, staff development, team collaboration/communicaton, and/or teacher/parent communication. So far, so good.

I've been teaching 20++ years, and in this is my 4th year in this position. I still want to ask:
What other organizational - or other - advice is there out there?

Tags: aup, collaborative, elementary, inter-classroom, socialstudies, wikis

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I originally decided to go with wikispaces because it was not blocked and the others were at the time. In two years and about 15 classes of 4-5th graders we have had minimal problems with email and discussion. Since it ALL input comes to me and I had show-and-tell with everyone the two times it happened - they know I check. I show them it is stamped with username, date, time, and the IP address. They are convinced that if we come upon mass mis-use, then we will not use it at all.
For adults who are hesitant, I let them know that same mis-use (inappropriate behaviors) can and does happen with paper and pencil, passing notes, etc. We teachers have this opportunity to have authentic discussions and examples about online uses/abuses. Our advantage with wikispaces is learning in a closed safe environment...AND it is FREE.
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Our next step: Students who show that they can handle it get to "advance" to use wikis with other classes. Those who don't will continue to use the class wiki, or use MS Word or paper and pencil.
Wetpaint wiki
Hi Lisa, just wondered if yo've tried Wetpaint wiki which seems to be specialising in education? I couldn';t use it for my students as it requires a higher level of Web 2.0 understanding (or maybe it's my inexperience in this).
I'll have another go at embedding Google calendar. Last time it didn't work for me. I really need a very simple tutorial to experiment with!
Hi Kristian,
I went to the wiki url and it says wiki not found. Can you check this out, please? Thanks!
Hi JoNelle-
I am also working on setting things up for our class wiki. I played around with http://21classes.com and also wetpaint. I didn't like wetpaint because of the ads; I thought I was going to really like 21 classes, but when it came to entering my students it became problematic and I gave up. I like wikispaces the best, and I hope you stop in on our teacherwiki and introduce yourself soon! The fourth grade class that will be working on this from my school is Adam Dugger's. He is on classroom 2.0 also.
I found that organizing the student wiki for the native american project was a bit daunting, For the time being, I have set it up so that each tribe has a page that will host the group's final product and each student has their own page. This might change, depending on how we group the kids once we begin.
I am going to begin by having my 4th/5th grade classes learn how to blog - the blog will be a place to reflect about and ask/answer questions about what they are learning in my class, in terms of research and information and technology literacies (as well as comment on each other's blogs).
All of this is a work in progress as this is my first year incorporating blogs and wikis into my teaching - I'm sure there will be many changes along the way.
So far, wikispaces and classroom blogmeister are not blocked at my school. I think one of the biggest problems for elementary teachers regarding various web 2.0 tools is that most of them require email addresses to set them up - and that is not viable for most of us, due to school restrictions, online safety, etc. That is one of the reasons I love classroom blogmeister and wikispaces - both allow you to set up your students without email.
Keep up the great work JoNelle and I look forward to working together!
Karen
Karen, I've been using http://think.com for 5 years. The company, owned by Oracle, provides a closed environment for elementary kids, In some regards, it's too closed but the kids like the "rinky dink" webpages and the interaction with other think.com kids around the world. It provides me with an email address and I feel safe having the kids use it. You might check it out. I, of course, get parent permission before doing anything online!
Our staff uses pbwiki.com. I began using wikispaces but did not like the interface and had some trouble with the whole saving of pages. I moved over to pbwiki about a year ago and have been extremely happy. I have several wikis that I use with different groups. They are all "protected" and I am the administrator so I can watch what is going on at all times. There is no option for email accounts so I don't worry about that problem. I have had groups use the wiki to record ideas and information and then edit it into a final draft by using the ability to see previous editions of each page. I use one to plan my classes as it allows me to embed links and videos that I can then access from the lab to show or send to students to use. I use a more traditional webpage format for my class assignments but like the wiki for collaborative purposes especially since the students can leave a comment for their classmates on what they are doing in the comments section. Our staff also uses a wiki for a variety of information items. They like the calendar function on the pbwiki and have adapted and added as they have become more familiar with the tool.
I'm a big proponent of wiki use as it is simple to use. I like pbwiki because of the control I have over the contents.
I must try pb wiki again, then Kelly as I found the password situation was too daunting for my ESL students (who have quite low level computer and literacy skills). I've avoided pb wiki for a while now as it seemed expensive for me to maintain and to set up. Is it more intuitive now?
I am curious about wikispaces. I have created one but not used one in my class we use Google docs in the Google applications. Do you know the advantages to one over another? I am looking for something that allows/provides editing marks.
The new Google sites is a wiki. If you are already using Docs, I would recommend it.

http://www.google.com/sites/overview.html
Hi Colette.
This looks so cool! I wonder what the advantages are over say, using wikispaces? If it wasn't for the fact that my college blocks GoogleDocs, YouTube and a number of others, I'd probably be using this in teaching.
Maybe this will help, here are examples of my class wikis

http://iteach20.blogspot.com/2009/04/my-goodness-my-wiki.html

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