What resources will be most helpful to educators who wish to create their own wikis?

“Students cannot learn from teachers or technologies. Rather, students learn from thinking” (David H. Jonassen, Kyle L. Peck, & Brent G. Wilson, p. 2).

While pedagogical considerations should be paramount in the creation of a wiki, there are also a number of technical resources that will be helpful to educators who are creating one for the first time. Exploring existing wikis can help beginners to develop a clear image of how they might wish to organize the content and structure of their wikis in ways that will best meet the needs of their students. Educational Wikis is a good place to begin as it offers an extensive, alphabetized list of wikis that are currently being used to support educational purposes in both K-12 and higher education. Once the features that will be necessary for a particular project are apparent, educators can compare the services offered by different wiki providers using WikiMatrix - Compare them all. Most wiki providers allow K-12 educators to create private, ad-free spaces.

Popular wiki providers include PBWiki, PikiWiki (a wiki-like environment for young children that only allows them to work on single, unlinked pages and then comment on one another's work), and Wikispaces (an especially robust wiki service with excellent customer service and support). Those interested in more modular, visual, wiki-like environments may prefer alternative providers such as Netvibes, Pageflakes, or Protopage. Once a wiki provider has been determined, information about administrative concerns, research, policy, and technical issues regarding wiki implementation should be considered. WiscWikis provides a nice overview of many of these considerations. Finally, educators can learn to maximize the effectiveness of their wikis by investigating the patterns (and anti-patterns) associated with successful wiki adoption and collaboration at Wikipatterns - Wiki Patterns.

Setting up a wiki is simple! Here are 5 simple steps to get you started:



WikiMatrix - Compare them all - Compare wiki providers, including a "choose the best service for you" wizard, a comparison matrix, links to user fora, etc.

  • MediaWiki - Has a wikipedia-like appearance and requires that you download the software and install it on your own server

  • PBWiki - Free wiki hosting service, nice appearance, but not as flexible or robust as Wikispaces

  • PikiWiki - A wiki-like environment for young children (marketed to adults). Graphic interface. Upload multimedia onto single pages (no linking of pages) w/ drag & drop capabilities, save & share, then comment on one another's work. Check out the "10 things" link

  • Wikispaces - Although there are lots of different free wiki hosting services, this one is especially robust, new features added regularly, and the support is nearly instantaneous

  • WikyBlog - Wiki service trying to expand the functionality of wikis to interface with other web 2.0 apps (such as del.icio.us, Digg, & Google Maps) more easily

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Set Up



  • P urpose

  • Why will people visit it?

  • A uthors & Audience

  • Who will create and consume content?

  • G enre

  • What kind of content?

  • E ngagement

  • How will you use wiki features to engage authors and audience?

  • S caffolding, Security, & Structure

  • How will you facilitate the processes of collaborative content creation and community building?

Safe Use


Need some quick help with Wikispaces? Check out the quick start guides for educators and the brief video tutorials.

And, click on the Help button on the top right hand corner of this page for more assistance from Wikispaces.


Scholarly References

Anderson, Karen, & Woodill, Gary. (2004). Using Information Visualization to Teach about Complexity: Support from the Neurological Sciences. In Proceedings of the 2004 Complexity Science and Educational Research Conference (pp. 229-240). Chaffey's Locks, Canada. Retrieved May 2, 2005, from

Block, Peter. (2003). The answer to how is yes: Acting on what matters. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Burbules, Nicholas C., & Callister, Jr., Thomas A. (2000). Watch IT: The risks and promises of information technologies for education. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Cobb, Paul, McClain, Kay, Lamberg, Teruni de Silva, & Dean, Chrystal. (2003). Situating Teachers' Instructional Practices in the Institutional Setting of the
School and District. Educational Researcher, 32(6), 13-24. Retrieved http://tinyurl.com/3t28qs

Jonassen, David H., Peck, Kyle L., & Wilson, Brent G. (1999). Learning with technology: A constructivist perspective. Columbus, OH: Prentice Hall.

McLoughlin, Catherine, & Krakowski, Krzysztof. (2001). Technological tools for visual thinking: What does the research tell us. Apple University
Consortium Academic and Developers Conference. Retrieved May 2, 2005, from

Mononen-Aaltonen, Marja. (1998). A learning environment - A euphemism for instruction or a potential for dialogue? Media Education Publication 8, 163-212.

Mononen-Aaltonen, Marja & Tella, Seppo. (2000). From brawn to brain: Towards an emerging, minds-on approach in integrated distributed learning environments (IDLEs). In Bourdeau, J. & Heller, R. (Eds.) Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2000. World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications. AACE/Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. Montréal, Canada. June 27-July 1, 2000, 729-734.

Rheingold, Howard. (1998). The art of hosting good conversations online. Rheingold's brainstorms: Rheingoldian writing. Retrieved December 19, 2007, from http://www.rheingold.com/texts/artonlinehost.html

Sankey, Michael D. (2002). Considering visual literacy when designing instruction. e-Journal of Instructional Science and Technology, 5(2). Retrieved from

Multimedia References

Free Buttons. (n.d.). Blur metal. Freebuttons.com. Retrieved March 17, 2008, from http://www.freebuttons.com/index.php?page=freebuttons&buttonName=BlurMetal&color=3

Wikispaces. (n.d.). 100,000 wikis in the classroom. Wikispaces. Retrieved November 14, 2007, from http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers100K