Granite School District in Utah shares how they use Wikispaces as a newsletter to keep their teachers and administrators updated about all things edtech.
1. Please describe your district, your wiki, and what you use it for.
The Granite School District located in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the third largest school district in Utah and is one of the largest in the nation. We have over 3,500 teachers and 200 administrators across 63 elementary schools, 16 Jr. high schools and 8 high schools.
In 2011, the Educational Technology Department started using Wikispaces as a monthly newsletter for our teachers and administrators. We normally list 4-8 news items each month including professional development registrations for tech classes, techy teacher spotlights, grant information, and other events. We also share our favorite online resources for the classroom.
2. Tell us about a particular moment that made you say, “Aha! THIS is why we use wikis!”
Wikispaces was exactly the thing for us because it’s easy to do everything we needed for a newsletter. Adding images, text and other files, hyperlinking, creating new pages, tracking the number of wiki visitors are a breeze. We can keep archive of old newsletters simply by consolidating their wiki pages in the Navigation Menu. Anchors are critical to our format and simple to use. Embedding Twitter feeds works in Wikispaces, but not always in other web tools. Lastly, the Wikispaces format stays consistent, so no big surprises to throw us off.
3. What advice do you have for schools and districts that would like to use wikis to communicate with their educators?
Show how to use new edtech tools in your newsletter by embedding training videos from Youtube in your wiki. Spotlighting exemplary educators provides the acknowledgment they deserve and helps to inspire others. Other tips:
- Educators are busy, so keep news items short and to the point.
- Make news items visual with hyperlinked images, pictures and video.
- Send it out around the same time each month and monitor the best days and times to send it out.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread and check your links!
- Keep an archive (we often hear that teachers like to refer back to older items).
4. If you could ask it, what do you think your wiki would say about you and your school?
It would say that we do our best to to keep educators updated about resources and opportunities that will help them integrate technology into the classroom and make learning fun and meaningful for students.