Wiki Wiki Teaching- The art of using wiki pages to teach

See Wiki Wiki Teaching – The art of using wiki pages to teach (Remix) – March 15, 2011

I have got to have a place on the net to express what some may consider revolutionary teaching ideas.

For my first blog on this topic, I want to write about my amazing impressions of what I will call “wiki wiki teaching.”

“Wiki wiki” means “quickly” in Hawaiian. I came back from the GAETC conference and had attended three amazing sessions with David Warlick. I had devoured his book, his website, and had begun to implement his recommendations. I was excited, but not yet floored.

Well, I signed up for a free wikispace at and began to train my students how to use wikispaces. I did a simple project — I gave my computer science students six words to define using resources on the net so that they could understand the emerging concept of Web 2.0. I split them into teams of 2-3 students and gave them each a word to investigate. You can see our space at

I gave them several guidelines:

  1. I asked them to post meaningful, relevant information on their topic.
  2. I asked them to summarize information they found on the Net and to link to it.
  3. I asked them to continue to read their topic and ask themselves — “What do I not understand about this topic?” and then to proceed to answer that question and post their findings.
  4. I asked them to use some of the websites that they read about.
  5. They were not allowed to delete information of another unless it was redundant or they paraphrased/edited it to make it better. (I had two classes working on the same pages so they could experience true collaboration.)
  6. On the third day, I gave each team 5 minutes to present their topic — they had to summarize and demonstrate the use of their term in action.
  7. At the conclusion of the presentation, I asked all students to post a comment on the page providing feedback or asking questions. (This was just to introduce them to the feature and to keep them focused on the task at hand.)

I must say, I was very impressed with the presentations and the grasp of knowledge the students had. They understood the concept of Web 2.0 and their topics with a knowledge base that was astounding. But the true surprise came the next day.

I wanted to create an authentic assessment as to their understanding of the use of wikipages to collaborate. For their quiz, I asked them to create a page with a partner of their choosing, that would help them study for an exam or complete a project in the next week. (See the links to these on

I must say that I was impressed with the biology page. I also was quite pleased with their review material of the Scarlet Letter, King Lear, and their English Exam Review. They have several other projects that are really great. But my amazement came afterwards as I walked through the halls. Two girls attracted my attention with their squealing — I asked what was up with them — They were squealing about the English material going on the wikipage! It was going to help them on their project! They were so excited. They practically drove me crazy the rest of the day getting passes to come in and update the information for their exams and projects. Other teachers started coming to me and asking what was going on. They couldn't believe the amount of material synthesized and summarized in one class period!

My last period class heard from the others about the “do it yourself” project and then came the most astounding idea of all — the 10th grade study hall!
(Don't ask me how we got such a great domain — I'm not sure.)

They created a place to post projects and assignments and invited each other to their wikispace. Then, they created links to the websites that their fellow students had created to help them study/ review/ complete the project. They are used to copying notes for one another — but now they can collaborate on notes! The results are astonishing!

This is what is most amazing — the buzz in the hall with students talking excitedly about King Lear, the Scarlett Letter, the poetry project, the History project, and what other information they need to post to help! The buzz from the teachers — I now have to teach an in service on January 2nd. And it is Friday night and at 2:26 this afternoon, my students updated the Study Hall on their own (they created this on Thursday.)

I lie exhausted on the couch at the end of this week. Wiki Wiki Teaching is an understatement. I feel fulfilled. I feel excited. I feel that I've unknowingly introduced students to their future. I feel that the material has become relevant in a way that has not been done before. I changed my semester assessment to a wiki project. Other teachers are planning assessments next semester to include wiki portfolios. It has been one week! It went by wiki wiki!

Stay tuned for more outlandish ideas from the cool cat teacher! I'm just getting started! (Thank you David Warlick for opening my eyes to the possibilities! I love his info!)

I'll tell you later about our bloglines experience, how we've used RSS to improve our school website and save me 2 hours a week, and many more items!

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53 thoughts on “Wiki Wiki Teaching- The art of using wiki pages to teach

  1. Vicki,
    Wow. What an “explosion” of creativity from your students. More and more it becomes apparent to me that giving the students ownership is very important when teaching with wiki’s and blogs. Set up some general ground rules, name the curriculum boundaries and then let the students loose. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over a longer time period. Good luck!
    Mike Hetherington
    PS: I teach a 6th grade class in Connecticut. You can check out our latest work as well as our Room 613 Talk Podcast at

  2. I fell into your site from Mike’s tonight. Thank you for sharing the work you and your students are doing. I’ve been thinking about wikis for almost a year now; how to orchestrate it to really get the students involved — you’ve given me some great ideas and concrete links to explore.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work! 😉

  3. What a great process! We have been blogging, but the wiki creates a community that seems even more dynamic and creative. Your blog has been the source of ideas that confirm our intuitions about wikis, so we are anxious to see how we may develop a music tech wiki. Thanks for all your posts!

  4. great inspiration for teachers exploring the notion of expanding the classroom beyond the traditional “four walls”. I am interested in security issues whether real or perceived that you have encountered. I know that the wiki concept as well as blogging could be intimidating to parents and administrators.

  5. I haven’t had any security issues. I do have a public wiki, however the editing is private which means that only members can edit. Educators are also able to create a private wiki with private editing on wikispaces so that only members can edit.

    I haven’t really had any security issues and the school has welcomed what we’ve done. The results are in student motivation and retention. That is why I have been doing this for almost a year.

  6. You certainly inspired your students, staff, and school in a unique way. It sounds like it was a huge success!

  7. I am quite familiar with the wave of emotions and the resulting exhaustion of teaching with wikis. This past term (May/June ’07) I used a wiki for out Socials 9 Industrial Revolution project – 75 kids, 3 classes, and hundreds of pages with amazing presentations at the end of six weeks. Since it was my first foray into wikis, I used a private site (also on wikispaces) so I can’t share it with you; I will reconsider that for my next project now that I have gathered so many wonderful resources at this site and others.

    I can’t go back to “traditional” teaching!

  8. Your work is really inspiring, Vicki. I am currently studying the use of wikis in high school social studies for my masters and wondered if you or any of your readers were aware of teachers who would be willing to share their experiences. I have a request on my blog at
    Karen Mann

  9. Vicki,
    This is an interesting way to use wikis and blogs. My goal is to implement this more and more in my class this year and hopefully will become more comfortable.

  10. This is all so new and exciting to me. The possibilities for integration and synthesis seem endless. It is easy to see how the kids become so excited. What a great way to tap into their appetite for technology and socializing.

    Kelly Miller

  11. I think wiki-wiki pages are such a great idea especially since so much can be gained outside of the classroom. Students may not retain a quick lecture and may need to access the wiki-wike page to re-check the notes and to comment or ask their peers what they missed from that day. I think being able to go back and learn material from a wiki-wike page is not cheating, like some teachers may presume. I think it is just a wonderful resource that more teachers need to promote for student involvement and allowing the students to continue to gain insight! Thanks for the neat teaching tool.

  12. As an elementary school teacher, who is new to using blogs and wikis, I can definitely sense all of your excitment! As I continue to learn how to incorporate all of the “latest” technology into my classroom I will revisit your blog for further inspiration…

  13. Your student Wiki pages are incredible examples of the future of learning. I am just now trying to figure out how to incorporate technology at this level into my classroom. I hope you will continue to post all of your wonderful ideas.

  14. From the moment that I first read David Warlick and then found your wiki, I have been enthralled, confused, tired, and downright ecstatic. I always knew there was a better way and am so excited about how this is the perfect tool for authentic teaching. I continually come back to look at your wikis even though I have now had mine for about a year. I have really pushed student use of the wiki and agree with the others that my teaching will never be the same!

  15. There is way more stuff out here than I can keep up with. I try to always catch this one though. I use a wiki for my seniors to gain extra credit — wikicredits. I have a list of authors we use in my world literature course (heavily slanted towards the west I’m afraid) on wikispaces and they have to add biographies or make significant changes additions to the current ones to earn their credits. Due to district policy regarding student names — even screen names — I have to keep it private which is too bad. I’d like for them to interact with others. If I could find a similar class at another school that would able allowed. Alas, I loose my lit class after 10 years. Does anyone else have problems with the district policy and letting student names be associated with their writing?

    mark miller

  16. Okay, I am completely addicted to your blog. I’ve been devouring it now for over a week. I have been participating in an online learning experience called 23Things this summer through my school district. I’m learning about Wikis right now, so naturally I came to your blog…what a testimony about the use of wikis in your teaching! I require my students to work in teams…these teams collaborate all year for research, projects, etc. I also sponsor Junior Achievement on my campus…the JA students can use wikis for collaboration, too.

    I can hardly thank you enough! I’m learning from you and my students will benefit!

    All my Best,

  17. Thanks Estie C. I appreciate that you have gotten encouragement from the journey of these past few years for me. I hope you will pass it along and document and share what you’re doing with everyone else as well. We all need one another to encourage and help us along the untrodden trail.

  18. I’m a sporadic reader of your blog, but when my husband came home from work with a questions about using wikis, I knew EXACTLY where to look!

    If he has any other questions about setting up a wiki community for his office, I’ll certainly refer him back to your site.

  19. Thank you for sharing the work you and your students are doing. i know you did hard to get this,I’ve been thinking about wikis for almost a year now i realize your creativity

  20. Thing 8

    Thank you for your work, it is really inspiring me to see what you are doing with your students. Keep up the great work.

  21. That is awesome that you introduced new technology to your students. It is amazing how creative students can be when they are given the opportunity. They truly do well when they are given the ownership. I want to implement blogging or wikis into my classroom, but I am still hesitant Reading successes like yours makes me want to bring more technology into my classroom.

  22. hey dude
    Great stuff! i got a lot of inspiration from this post
    it is very interesting …I found it to be the best among…
    i am a regular member with beginer status
    am learning for social work,


  23. Thank you for sharing this great experience while working with the Wiki’s. You challenged the students with something new and they really took off with it. They really seem to enjoy this experience and it does seem to help with other classes. To me it seems that Wikis could provide an interdisciplinary experience for the students, which is something that teachers have a hard time with sometimes. I am a secondary education student in Maine, and the middle school students are given laptops to use in school and out of school, and I have struggled with the thought of how to teach with the computer so that they can get a valuable education out of it. Your assignment gives me a new perspective on how to do this, and it seems that the students really enjoy it. I am looking forward to incorporating assignments similar to this that use the Wiki in my future classroom, and will be posting some of our work to share on this website

  24. This is a great example of how useful Wikis are in classrooms. Wikis create a very dynamic way for students to be able to explore topics more thoroughly and creatively. It is good to see more classrooms using Wikis because they can be so engaging for students. I am also studying education and have practiced creating Wikis in some of my classes. I think that they can be so useful for incorporating other subjects into your curriculum, or connecting you curriculum to your community. I think you are doing a great job!

  25. Vicki,
    I’m very new and as a rookie, I’m amazed at how well the students took off with the idea and were excited about it. Technology is what the kids these days seems to desire and when we tap in to their way of learning, they can still learn the same old “stuff” in a new and creative way. Great job!!!

  26. WoW!!!! This post is amazing. I love the fact that you integrated your assignment to other curricula. You are a very inspiring individual and I greatly appreciate your sharing this with the educational world

  27. I have been wondering how to use this web 2.0 in my health class with the projects I have the students do. This really helped me to see the possibilities.

  28. You gave some great ideas for using wikis in the classroom. I’m in a class now and we created our own wiki. I am amazed at all the possible uses and content out there about wikis. This is all new to me as well as blogs. I’m learning so much more to share with students.

    I particularly like the study hall wiki idea, really great!

  29. I have enjoyed reading your post on “the art of using wiki pages to teach”. The excitement you felt in introducing students to wikis and the students utilization of the new skill comes through on the pages of the linked material(Scarlet Letter is my favorite).

    Sign me up. I am ready to start my own wiki, almost!! 🙂

  30. This is all fascinating. After teaching 32 years, it looks as if this old dog is about to learn new tricks. Keeping the classroom fresh is important in teaching successfully. I am looking forward to finding out more

  31. Thing 8 Post:

    Vicki, I am impressed with how you have taken the leap as some would say. This is all new and exciting for me and I am looking forward to learning more about it.

  32. I m very glad to have read this article. It has helped me gain a great deal of knowledge on how to teach using Wiki. We will definitely test this teaching method. Very good article. Keep them coming.

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  34. Vicki, Thats awsome!! i have never intersted in wikis befor, or i can say i didnt look to it like this, thanks for the story that have allot of tips.

  35. I’m feeling inspired by your post. This truly is learning made real for your students. The fact that they are so excited to learn and share is awesome! I’m just beginning to understand and explore the possibilities of Wikis and this helps give me a mental picture of how it can be. Thanks so much for sharing.

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