Common Sense Review
Updated May 2013

Wikispaces

Powerful tool for creating collaborative websites
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Common Sense Rating 3
  • Video tours help beginners get creating.
  • Wikispaces is designed to be collaborative.
  • The creator of a wiki manages members’ access.
  • The all-powerful edit button.
  • Wikis grow with the addition of pages and files.
Pros
This simple tool is a great way for beginners and experts alike to publish and collaborate online.
Cons
Though the supports are there, beginners will most likely need a little guidance to get started.
Bottom Line
Wikispaces.com is a rare, collaborative Web tool that's both powerful and accessible.
Joe Dillon
Common Sense Reviewer
Technology coordinator
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Creating pages may not thrill kids initially. However, when they're invited to include widgets, pictures, and hyperlinks in their written work, kids will be compelled to plan, tinker, and create. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Students can learn how to create engaging web content as they link, tag, and organize their work to look like the Web texts they encounter online. As a collaboration tool, wikis help kids learn to work as a team.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

The video tutorials are a little hidden on the website. Once you find them, about seven minutes of viewing is enough to have students creating, linking, and sharing. For more advanced users, the help menu has answers to all questions.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

In the classroom, Wikispaces is best for collaborative projects. Wikispaces makes it simple for a teacher to invite a class to help create a website, for example, or for a group of kids to organize their own website. After you've created a site, you'll be able to invite helpers to join and pitch in with a few simple steps. On each page that’s created, Wikispaces makes a discussion board where you can share ideas about the page or comment on each other's work. Every change that's made on a wiki is recorded. By checking the revision history, users can see who's made changes to the site. One click will undo unwanted changes or put a page back to its original state.

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What's It Like?

Edit, save. Edit, save. Wikispaces.com is a simple platform where teachers and kids can take these baby steps to online creation and collaboration. The user-friendly wiki site is great for grade-school children and powerful enough to accommodate tech-powered educators. The websites you'll create in Wikispaces are organized with hyperlinks and searchable tags. For this reason, they're a terrific choice for teachers to use with students. As kids author Web content in a safe environment, they'll discover how the Web is organized, filtered, and sorted. About seven minutes of video tutorials on Wikispaces.com’s help page will enable beginners to create and share their Web creations with an audience.

Wikispaces asks for an email address when you create your account, but if a teacher creates the student accounts, no email is required. Creating a wiki is as easy as naming it and clicking Done. Inside a new wiki, you can edit your home page, add pages, or invite members to join your wiki. The edit button on each page reveals a few options. A menu of buttons lets you to insert pictures, create links to other pages, and more. If you save your changes often, you'll switch back and forth between the published page view and the editing view.

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Is It Good For Learning?

While Wikispaces.com is a great tool for folks making their first foray into Web creation, the websites will meet the needs of innovative teachers who need flexibility and functionality. The editor allows the easy use of widgets, so users can insert everything from Web calendars to YouTube videos. Here, Wikispaces.com is at its best, offering a list of Web tools you can try if you're not sure about how to create an online poll, for example. On the other hand, advanced users can enter HTML code from most any online tool. Wikispaces.com is a rare Web tool that is both powerful and accessible.

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See how teachers are using Wikispaces

Lesson Plans