forumHow to Use Wikis, Blogs, and Forums in the Classroom:

How to leave your own digital footprint.

Students as consumers or as producers? It’s like asking would you like ketchup or mustard? Butter or sour cream? We often say – both.

“The most important thing to remember about technology in our classrooms is that it is not about the technology,” said David Warlick. “It is about our students, their today's and their tomorrow's — and encouraging them to be the best they can be (with as many tools available as possible!)”


Definition: A wiki is a website which enables documents to be written collaboratively in a simple mark-up language using a web browser. The defining characteristic of wiki technology is the ease with which pages can be created and updated. Most wikis are open to the general public for them to make amendments or contributions. (

Interesting Statistics:
In the 3 years since wikispaces was launched:
• 400,000 k=12 teachers and students have registered as users.

Best uses:
• parallel classroom for collaboration, asking questions, and finding answers
• collaboration with other countries
• since the wiki stores every change made and who made it, you can see what they did or didn’t do and see how constructive it was
• it is a controllable environment (they can’t get away with much)
Worst misunderstandings:
• wikis are inaccurate information
• mistaken for the wiccan religion
• they involve all inappropriate information

Ways to Moderate the Wiki Page:
  • Create the page "starter"
  • Ask students to go in and make changes.
  • They can make changes in the writing, grammar, spelling, content, etc.
  • They can add pictures, links, tables, etc.
  • After the first part of the page is created, then the "owner" of the page can go in and look at recent changes
  • There is a listing of the chagnes made and saved and the person responsible for those changes.
  • By clicking the name of the user, or the date the changes were made, you can see those changes. (By default in wikispaces the changes are highlighted in green as additions to the page, and with red for deletes.
  • If you are unhappy about any changes or additions, you can revert back the previous version and you have record of who made the changes.

Free Tools:



Definition: A blog is a website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of most early blogs. (

Interesting Statistics:
133 million blogs indexed by technorati since 2002
7.4 million blogs posted in the last 120 dayd
1.5 million blogs posted in the last 7 days
900,000 blogs posts in 24 hours
(information from the “State of the Blogosphere” by Technorati)

Best Uses:
  • For class blogs. (Under settings, permissions, you can invite your students to participate in the blog. Simply put in their email addresses with a comma between each address. You can have up to 100.)
  • For creative writing posting and editing
  • For personalized interest exploration, research and opinion. You can do an entire writing unit on one subject (informative, narrative, persuasive, etc.).

Worst Misunderstandings:
  • It is a diary. Well, it could be, but if it is taught correctly is a great forum for publishing writing of all kinds.
  • Students will use texting language and instant messaging codes to write their blogs.

Ways to Moderate Blogs:
  • Things can be done in many different ways. If the teacher is the sole owner of the blog (like many of mine), then the teacher has to do the originating post. The students then can make comments to those posts.
  • As the posts are submitted, you can choose to moderate the comments, or you can simply delete the posts that you don't want to appear after they have been turned in.

Free Tools:



Definition: A form of discussion involving a panel of presenters and often participation by members of the audience; An Internet message board where users can post messages regarding one or more topics of discussion (

Best Uses:
Worst Misunderstandings:
Ways to Moderate Forums:
Free Tools: