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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wikis are More Than Wikipedia: Using Wikis to Teach Vocabulary

Several years ago, I did a webinar titled Wikis are more than Wikipedia. The purpose the webinar was to give teachers creative ways to use Wikis in their classroom. With the emergence of new technologies, Apps, and devices, we sometimes forget the power of a wiki and how it can help all students learn.

Have you ever thought that a wiki could be used to teach vocabulary?  Not every student grasps vocabulary because every student's brain interprets and learns vocabulary differently; therefore, it is necessary to provide students with different ways of learning new terms.

I recently heard of a sixth grade teacher, who uses a wiki to create a classroom dictionary for her students to refer to during the course of the year. Students are encouraged to provide multiple ways of understanding terms by adding text, pictures, video clips, and external links.

This is a perfect tool for students with different abilities and learning styles because they can understand the vocabulary term in a way that works best for them. They can provide examples that make sense to their peers. It is also a great way for students to "teach" their classmates. When students can "teach" their classmates, they are more likely to retain the meaning of that particular term.

Want to create your own classroom wiki? I have used Wikispaces in the past and have found it easy to use; however, there are several other free wikis out there.

Do you have creative ways to teach vocabulary? I'd love to hear more.

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