Featured Wiki: “Anything is Possible” with Ray Mirhsahi’s Projects

Ray Mirshahi teaches at Timberbank Junior Public School in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is a regular Twitter contributor to the educational community. He teaches ICT / Media Literacy in the morning to the whole school and Grade 3 in the afternoon, and we were so thrilled to be able to sneak a few minutes of his time recently to hear all about how he has used Wikispaces Classroom.

Ray uses this education-specific version of Wikispaces.com to design an engaging learning environment for students, and manages several different wikis as the ICT and Media Literacy coordinator. One worth a deep dive is his teaching resource site. He also has a separate wiki for his schooland for his class, where he shares short and long term curricular plans. Finally, he has a wiki for his students where students post work, share feedback, and are assessed by Ray. By creating separate wikis, Ray allows himself to differentiate the content and permission levels he’d like for different audiences. We think it’s a great example, and encourage you to give it a go! Remember teachers, you can have unlimited wikis.

Take a moment, relax, and watch as Ray walks us through his ‘student wiki’ using Wikispaces Classroom:

 

Ray has shared more here and be sure to say hello to him on Twitter. Thanks Ray!

Setting Up Your Navigation

Many teachers use the navigation bar on the right-hand side of their wikis to simply list all of their pages. Ray took it a step further: he edited the navigation bar to include specific links to his different classes, and even for his archived alumni sites.

Create alumni links using "edit navigation" in the navigation panel

Create alumni links using “edit navigation” in the navigation panel

Want to try it? Click “Edit Navigation” at the bottom of the navigation panel– twice!– and then you’ll have access to that whole space in the side panel to customize. Enjoy!

Click on "edit navigation page" to customize

Click on “edit navigation page” to customize

Personal Spaces for Each Student

Ray says, “We use wikis to allow students to collaborate, as well as let their individual voices to come through,” and that’s obvious as soon as you see the individual pages he has set up for his students where they can post things that interest them. Ray adds: “Students need their own safe social media spaces where they can work and play, and Wikispaces in my opinion is the best platform for that.”

To set this personal space up Ray created a new Project and then created a page for each student. This makes it easy for him to check on students’ work quickly and give them feedback. It’s so easy to do, the principal even comes in and leaves comments, which naturally is super-exciting for students.

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 11.43.13 AM-1

One Project, Small Group of Students

This is a great example of managing small groups of students working together in your class. In this case, Ray creates Projects and then only adds two or three students to it. He has a collaborative page where they can work on things together, such as this awesome “Ghost Ship” story. Then, he creates a page for their own individual work, where they can easily leave each other feedback and ideas.

Ray creates Projects and puts several students in each to work together.

Ray creates Projects and puts several students in each to work together.

One Project, All Students

As Ray says, “It’s so easy!” He uses a variety of Project formats based on the lesson and needs of each of his classes. In the case below, Ray created a Geometry Project and he uses it as an “extension of the lesson.” For instance, he has his students go to the topic they are studying and add to his digital activity, such as identifying vertices on a shape using an animation and having discussions about it, right there on the “lesson page.”

Create one Project, add all students to it, and you've got yourself an interactive lesson space.

Create one Project, add all students to it, and you’ve got yourself an interactive lesson space.

One Project, All Students, Uploading Files

Another use Ray has discovered for the Project space is creating one Project and then simply instructing students to upload their files to that page. This creates a lovely list of files that you can actually comment and give feedback on right there. In this case, for his Audio Jam project, he had students upload their .mp4 files directly to the page and each is able to easily be commented upon.

Uploading Files on a Project Page

Uploading Files on a Project Page

Want to try it? Create ONE Project, and then simply put your instructions on the home page and have the students just “Add File.” Then, go to “Pages” and you’ll see them all waiting for you to peruse.

Brilliant!

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2 Comments

  1. Bjarne Skurdal
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    Hi! I have tried Wikispaces Classroom once with my students in upper secondary school, and I like it a lot :-). I have two questions:
    1. I wonder if the wikipedia-look-alike links on the top of the personal pages (like in the Kenneth-L-page in the current blog post) were created by the teacher, or by the student? Or is there a way to get these links automaticly created?
    2. What is the best way of giving personal comments to single students; available to see only for that particular student?

    Bjarne, teaching math an science in Norway

  2. Lindsey Tibbs
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Hello! I really like the example of the Wiki that you have shown!
    I have never used Wikispaces in my classroom, but I am going to try implementing them this next school year.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to effectively use the Wiki in a classroom?

    Thank you!

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