Wikis

Don't let the word scare you. First of all, wiki is a Hawaiian word that means fast. A wiki is a website and it's possible to make one really, really fast! A wiki can be one page or several. It uses a very simple WYSIWYG text editor and anyone can make one.

A very popular wiki that you've probably heard of is the collaborative encyclopedia called Wikipedia. So, anyone can create an account and then be a part of creating and editing Wikipedia. Some people think this idea is a little scary because if anyone can edit the page, doesn't it follow that someone could write any kind of nonsense they want? Well, yes. However, because so many people are involved, there is always going to be someone to catch the nonsense and change it. Users earn trust as time goes by and their contributions are rated by other users. As they do, they are granted more privileges. For example, they can block abusive users.

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There are many different sites on the web that will allow you to create a wiki of your own. A lot of them offer free wikis to teachers - Wetpaint, PBWorks, Wikia, Wikidot, and even Google. My personal preference is wikispaces. I currently have more than fifty different wikis. All but one of them are for classes that I teach.

Although wikis are designed for collaboration, you can decide exactly who has the power to make any changes. For example, my wikis that are content-based are locked down. I don't want students to have the ability to change the notes and examples for a course. I do allow my students to become members of some of the wikis, though, so that they have access to things like mail between users and comments.

Almost all of my wikis can be seen by members only. Below is a link to a wiki I created for my French students. This one is only partially private. It can be seen by anyone online.

Chez Mme. Reilly

If you'd like to try making a wiki of your own, I'd like to suggest that you try out wikispaces. The link below will allow you to create a free educator wiki. Have fun!

http://www.wikispaces.com/t/x/teachers100K