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Wikis in the Classroom

Dopp April 15, 2011 User blog:Dopp
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Stanford students in class

You write, you edit, and you've figured out tricks for consistent formatting. You create and edit photos, and you've picked up a thing or two about copyright law. The more you organize content, the more you also learn about the health and structure of communities. This is far more than just a fun hobby. Being a wiki editor means having a valuable set of skills.

High schools and colleges are starting to recognize this value, too, and find creative ways to use wikis in education. Take, for example, the Media and Cultural Studies Program at Middlesex University. In one of their courses, students post campaign strategies, class and meeting notes, and all of their research on the course wiki. The Web Technology Class at a high school in Bellevue, Washington is also starting to do something similar.

Take a spin through our Education Hub for some other examples of wikis in academia. The High School Online Collaborative Writing Wiki has been around for over five years, and encourages groups from different schools to get involved and write together. Stanford, UC Berkeley, and George Washington University all have wikis in the works for collecting and sharing campus information. The Education Wiki takes a high-level survey of the subject of teaching, and the Academic Jobs Wiki serves position-hunting professors.

Of course, there are academic topic wikis, too. The Psychology Wiki is a massive resource for academics, practicioners, and people who just want to learn. The International Business Wiki is also building a broad and extensive information base. On the other hand, the Sengoku Period Wiki covers a specific period of history, and goes into great detail about that single topic. One of our favorites is the Polish Dictionary of Female Writers, a university research and cataloguing project that is open to anyone.

Wikis have become increasingly useful in academia, and we expect to see this trend of experimentation and adoption to continue to grow. How do you think schools and teachers should use try to use wikis next?

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