Wikis & Cloud Based Documents
Creating a place where multiple students can work on the same document or project has always been problematic. Sharing a USB memory stick or sending e-mail attachments can be limiting and risks potential loss.
Wikis are an easy way to foster group collaboration and create communities. On-line document editing sites like Google Docs allow easy, right-now collaboration.
Wiki Spaces provides free hosting for small group sites. A place to "get your feet wet".
They suggest these four steps: posing the problem, exploring sources, analysis and reconstruction and debriefing and comparison of accounts.
Google Docs & Spreadsheets allows collaboration and editing of documents, including spreadsheets, drawings and presentations.
Addresses the What?, Why?, and How? of collaborative writing in the classroom.
Basic Wiki Editing Tips
A short video that provides some very basic instruction for editing wikis. Not all wiki web sites work exactly like this, but you can see how easy it is to get started.
- YouTube URL
A review of other web sites providing on-line document editing and collaboration.
Another option is setting up your own wiki or using one of the many wiki hosting services. A wiki is a website hosting web pages which can be directly edited by anyone with access to it. Backups copies of each page are kept so that one's person's editing doesn't necessarily destroy another's work.
One of the best known wikis is the Wikipedia on-line encyclopedia. This link further describes wikis.
Wikis have been used successfully for everything from creating novels (A Million Penguins - no longer available) to Memory Alpha - a site documenting the Star Trek universe.
MediaWiki is a free software open source wiki package written in PHP, originally for use on Wikipedia. You (or your resident computer wiz) can use this free software package to create your own custom Wiki for school or district use.
There are a number of companies getting into the on-line document editing business. Look for ones that meet your needs and budget.
Wikis work well for historical inquiry projects.