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A Wiki (see Wikipedia's definition) is a easy to use webpage that anyone can edit. This site itself is an example of a "wiki." Invented by Ward Cunningham, wikis are a read/write web technology that allow for easy, fast, and collaborative websites to be built without the need for special software or a lot of training. Adam Frey, from Wikispaces calls a wiki: "a web page with an edit button."

You might say that a wiki is a web-based tool that trades simplicity in design for sophisticated multi-user publishing capability--all from a common web browser. As such, a wiki can be used in three basic ways:
  1. Simple Web Publishing
    First, a wiki can serve as an easy web-publishing tool that is managed by a single individual. Whereas a blog can serve a simlar function, a blog has an inherent chronological structure which is limiting. A wiki, on the other hand, has the capacity to allow for the organization of data in either a hierarchical or hyperlink fashion, according to the designs of the publisher. With no expense for a web publishing program, and with the independence of being able to work from any computer with a connection to the Internet and a web browser, a wiki is an incredibly effective tool for writing to the web.
  2. Joint Web Publishing
    Second, a wiki can be "partially collaborative." Multiple individuals, again only requiring access to a web browser, can participate together in the building of information in one website. In a "partially collaborative" wiki, while they are publishing together to a single website, their content does not overlap and may be delegated or assigned.
  3. Fully Collaborative Web Publishing
    Third (and clearly the real "magic" of wikis), a wiki can be "fully collaborative." In this method of using a wiki, multiple individuals work together and often work on the same content. Wikipedia is a good example of a fully-collaborative wiki. While it might seem that allowing many people the ability to work on, modify, or overwrite each others work would result in chaos, it typically results in the participants choosing to write in a thoughtful, non-partisan fashion so that others will feel comfortable with the content and minimizing the need for a tug-of-war. Most wiki software allows for a mirrored "discussion" page for each page of content, where contributors can actually talk over the content of the page and their feelings about how it should be presented. A good example of a "fully collaborative" wiki that many people are familiar with is Wikipedia. Wikipedia allows anyone to edit any page that they want to, with pretty amazing results.

Why do Wikis work so well? There are five elements that, in combination, are the "secret sauce" to wikis:
  1. You edit in them in a browser, without the need for specilized programs;
  2. You can link to uncreated page, so the organization of the wiki can be created on the fly--without interfering with creativity or interrupting the thought process;
  3. Wikis keep a chronological history for every page, so nothing is lost forever, no changes can be completely destructive, and revisions can always be undone;
  4. Wikis include a discussion area, so there can be a dialogue about changes before, during, and after they are being made;
  5. And finally, and in some ways most significantly, you can monitor a wiki or a particular page and receive notification of any changes to that page--which is why an error in a site like Wikipedia can be corrected in a matter of a few minutes.

Uses of Wikis in Education

Without knowing any HTML, wikis allow students and teachers to create web pages. These pages can be edited anywhere and, if you choose, by anyone. A wiki allows for world wide collaboration.

You can use wikis for:
  • Class Notes
  • Parental / Student Communication
  • Lesson Summaries
  • Handouts
  • Course Syllabus
  • Course Links and Resource Notes
  • School or class calendar
  • Collaboration of Notes
  • Concept Introduction and Exploratory Projects
  • Dissemination of Important Classroom Learning Beyond the Classroom
  • Teacher Information Page
  • Student written books
  • School Newspaper
  • Showcase for student projects
  • Platform for peer review of student work

What Wikis Do for Students

Wikis allow your students to collaborate. Group work can be compiled on the same wiki page. Students can even work together to write the textbook. Students like using wikis because they can work on them 24/7 without the hassle of finding a common meeting time and place.

What Wikis Do for Teachers and Administrators

  • Build learning communities
  • Extend professional development workshops
  • Provide a storage space for curriculum resources, lesson plans, course materials, tech support tips, and more
  • Build home-school communications
  • Publish web pages (quickly and easily)

Curriculum Wikis

These are wikis that include curriculum resources that are freely shareable:

Project WIKIS

Lesson Plans & Ideas

Click here to add or link to lesson plans or ideas for the use of this technology in the classroom.

Active Discussion Page

Please click here for a discussion page on this technology.

Specific Program Links

  • Wikimatrix Wiki engines compared
  • Wiki farms List @ wikipedia – “A ‘wiki farm’ is a server or a collection of servers that provides wiki hosting, or a group of wikis hosted on such servers. The following tables compare general information for a number of wiki farms."
  • PMwiki Simple to install wiki software, requires PHP 4.1 or later
  • PBwiki Hosted wiki ad-free for educators.
  • Wikispaces Hosted wikis ad-free for educators (this site is a Wikispaces wiki)
  • DokuWiki DokuWiki is simple to install and use. It works on plain texts files and thus needs no database.
  • Zoho Wiki
  • Wetpaint Really useful for class work with students. Apply for free ads.
  • EditMe Provides tools to allow for private student pages within the wiki.
  • Jotspot - newly acquired by Google which is causing delays for new user registration
  • wikieducator The WikiEducator is an evolving community intended for the collaborative: (a) planning of education projects linked with the development of free content; (b) development of free content on Wikieducator for e-learning; (c) work on building open education resources (OERs) on how to create OERs.
  • Google Sites - As it's in the google system, it offers high compatibility with other google products, and has many apps that have been developed that can be embedded easily into the wiki.

Blog Resources

Classroom Wikis to Check Out

Podcasts Resources

Other Web Links

Article Links



  • PBwiki Educator Videos
  • YOU TUBE: Wikis in Plain English
    Wiki web sites are easy to use, but hard to describe. The video use the analogy of planning a camping trip to show how easy fully collborative Web publishing really is. And, moreover, shows that it's publishing with a purpose.


  • Public Domain Images Copyright friendly, public domain images for any use, free, no registration.

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