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.

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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For the most part, this is our experience too. My students have their own page. They may use the discussion tab to make comments on the work of others (not for "chat messages")..

Easy set up example:
A separate wikispace is set up for each grade level 4th & 5th.
I have four 4th grade classes. A page is set up for general info on home page. Another page for each homeroom. On the homeroom page are username/numbers for each student in the class. These numbers link to their own page. When I set up this page I type brackets around each usernumber and then wikispace automatically creates a page for each student....[[G1]] [[G2]] [[G3]]...
I like the stuffed animal idea. You must be elementary. :-)
However, I found (also using PB wiki this way) that my students got really confused by this and all the more so if they used a different computer to the one they were working on the week before. Honestly, here is real potential not being addressed - I suppose live chat would work better in many respects or something like it.
What grade level? I don't understand why a different computer would matter since the wiki is the same regardless of computer. My students always work on the same computer though so maybe it would bother them too.

The easiest solution for me is that everyone edits their own page so we don't run into this problem. We have run into it on project wikis we were involved in and another solution I tried was designating one computer as the place they could edit that page. That works for most of my classes since I have an unused computer in most of the classes.
I have six classes in each grade level - so the logistics are tricky. 4th and 5th grade teachers will come into the lab with them this year so we will have 2 teachers. I have partnered with teachers in other states too for projects.
How about:
Students will collaborate with each other at different times at my school to test this first. All of my students have a computer number - if each #1 collaborates with the other #1's in the other clases? Probably not six on a wiki, but maybe three students.
Will this work?
If they're not working at the same time on the same page, there shouldn't be any problems at all. One thing I learned the hard way was actually to do with uploading files to the wiki. I forgot to tell my students to rename their files and so all uploaded files bearing the same file name, each upload replaced the previous one.
I am a big wikispaces advocate.
We have been working with our students for just over 6 months.

There is a lot more you can do with wikispaces than is at first obivous so have a good play. Please use what you can.


Top Tips:
Use the main page for news.
RSS feeds keep the wiki live and appear evolving.
Use RSS to keep you posted on student updates.
Google Calender is easily imbedded.

I would highlighly recommend a wikicharter - or appropriate use policy. With very few, minor misuses, it was very handy.

Gd luck.
These wiki tips have been a great help. Thank you all. I appreciate the links to see some in action too. I am compiling model wikis and tips for our teachers for PD.Thanks again!
Hi Jo,

Just wondered when you've finished compiling your model wikis and tips for teachers whether you could share them with us - maybe by uploading a file? This sounds really useful. Thanks.
Hi Kristian,

I appreciate your ideas here, but I have had trouble embedding Google's calendar. When you say the main page for news - do you mean the Home page? I also wonder how to incorporate blogs - or do students do this with their own page? I wonder too, what RSS feeds you were using to keep things evolving?
I enjoy Wikispaces also, but have had to create a PBWiki account. My district will not unblock Wikispaces for elementary students. I tried to have them unblock just our "space" but you cannot do that I guess. They would have access to the whole thing, which is "unsafe"... so they say. I tried to fight it and plead my case, but, was turned down. Have you or anyone had this experience with Wikispaces and if so did you use PBWiki? I don't mind PBWiki, but, to get the same bells and whistles that Wikispaces offers, you have to pay for it.... even for educators. :(

Just throwing my two cents in. :) I love what any Wiki has to offer my kids though.... we are just getting used to it.
You can create a private space that students and parents can access all together in one harmonious wiki! Wikispaces.com was giving away private wiki accounts to all K-12 educators. http://www.wikispaces.com/site/privatelabel/k-12

This way you can only invite those who you want to access the site. Make sure to include administrators, parents and students. Make it a collaborative forum for all to access!



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