Welcome Sid to the Wikispaces Team

SidHi, my name is Sid and I joined Wikispaces not to disrupt education. I’m here to build useful education tools (i.e., more “ed” than “tech”). My previous jobs were at Kiva.org (where I learned how passion can be channeled for social benefit), Oakland Unified School District (where I learned the meaning of access, and lack thereof), and Yahoo (where I learned how to serve a large global audience). I’m hoping my unique experiences can serve the tireless educators of the world.

As a former educator, I know teachers don’t want to do any more work than they already have to. Students, administrators, and parents sometimes naively don’t know (or, even, forget) how internally motivated teachers are to do their job. Folks trying to sell things to educators also forget that too. It has to be more than just packaging widgets with some cause-based rhetoric. If we at Wikispaces do our job right, the products we build will require less work by teachers to accomplish their goals. In short, we are trying to make it easier, in an era of unprecedented technology (and equally unprecedented gaps in access). It will take time, a lot of work, and a bunch of teachable moments, but, hopefully, with your help and advice, we’ll get there. If you read How to Succeed in Education by the founders of Wikispaces, then you’ll find that I’m working with a team that is inspired, hard-working, smart, yet, very patient.

As an engineer at Wikispaces, I’m here to build. I don’t mind doing more work than I have to because, one day, it’ll save time for those that need it more than me.

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It’s #edcamp Season!

It’s #edcamp season! What is an EdCamp? EdCamp is free, democratic, participant-driven professional development for teachers.

Twitter and the web is on fire with Edcamp sign-up announcements as many educators around the world prepare to go back to school. We’ve been supporters of EdCamp from the start. Adam (one of our company co founders) spoke at the first one in Philadelphia 4 years ago, and now over 500 have happened! We’re excited to highlight the Edcamp lineup for this school year and encourage folks to start their own using wikis!

Dan Callahan, one of the founders of Edcamp, and chairman of the Edcamp Foundation, gave us a few tips for using wikis to organize your EdCamp.

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First, head to edcamp.wikispaces.com. There, you’ll see a list of existing events. See one in your neighborhood? Click on it and register and start dreaming of the fun learning you’ll have! You can also start your own by simply adding a new page to the home page.

“A wiki is an excellent place to get started to promote things,” Dan says. “A lot of people go to your wiki to look for your event, so keep it up to date. Thanks to all the features and widgets, it’s also really easy to add maps and other useful information for those attending the event.” The main EdCamp wiki also houses valuable information on how to organize, finance, and implement your own Edcamp as well.

Why go?

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Tips for Using Your Wiki

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Are You Going to or Organizing an EdCamp?

Let us know in the comments below or tweet us with your site at www.twitter.com/wikispaces, we’re happy to spread the word!

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Welcome Blendspace to the Wikispaces team

blendspace-email-retinaWe’ve had the pleasure of knowing the team behind a great lesson building platform called Blendspace for a while now. They are super talented people who, a couple of years ago, decided to commit themselves to building products that would make a difference in the lives of teachers. And they’ve done a great job.

For those of you who haven’t used it, Blendspace is a beautiful and powerful tool for creating digital lessons that are tailored to students’ needs. The Blendspace team’s key insight was that teachers want to pull together different types of resources from different sources and turn them into lessons they can easily give to their students. And Blendspace has been used by half a million teachers and students worldwide so they’ve learned an enormous amount about how to help teachers do just that.

Of course passion for helping teachers and the development of great products by listening to those teachers are the two foundations of what we do at Wikispaces. In addition to that cultural fit, there’s a great product fit. We are currently working on making it easy to deploy the enormous number of resources TES teachers have shared with each other on the TES Resources platform. It is clear to us that the ability to use those resources in building fully formed lessons is going to be a super important part of what we want to build for teachers.

And so we decided that we wanted the Blendspace team to become part of the Wikispaces team and help us deliver on that vision. Thankfully they felt the same way and we’re thrilled to announce that Blendspace is now part of Wikispaces, and the broader TES Global family.

Blendspace, the product, will continue to operate and we have some great surprises for the passionate Blendspace users that you can read about on the Blendspace blog.

So leave a comment below to say hi to the Blendspace team, try out Blendspace for yourself, and if you’re interested in giving us feedback on what we’re working on together, drop us a note.

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#edtechchat on Mondays with Susan Bearden

Susan BeardenSusan M. Bearden is the Director of Information Technology at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, FL. As a technology leader, she strives to leverage technology to improve educational and business outcomes and provide teachers and students with the support, tools and training needed to help them become responsible digital citizens and 21st century learners. She has presented at a number of national and state conferences including ISTE, FETC, CoSN, and the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS). A frequent guest blogger, she is a contributing author to the Huffington Post and was ranked #9 on their list of “The 50 Most Social CIOs on Twitter.” Bearden co-founded and moderates #edtechchat and is a board member of Get Social Brevard. Connect with her on Twitter @s_bearden and @HTEATech or at www.susanmbearden.com

Wikispaces teachers are always exploring how to use technology in innovate new ways.When we find gems in the community like Susan Bearden, we are eager to share with you all how they are helping teachers find great learning opportunities! Susan is the co-moderator of the weekly #edtechchat that happens on Twitter every Monday evening at 8pm Eastern time.


She joined us recently to share how #edtechchat was started, and how she uses an archive wiki to keep all of the great content in one place.

#edtechchat started in April 2013 from a need for an educational-technology specific Twitter chat. If you’ve never joined a Twitter chat experience, you can participate in several ways. For starters, you can view the stream during the week by searching #edtechchat and viewing and interacting with the contributions. You can also share a link or resource that is related to educational technology or the weekly topic. Finally, you can join the live conversation for the hour on Monday evenings 8pm Eastern time.

If none of these options work for you, Susan has made it very simple to view all of the great resources being shared weekly by hosting the edtechchat wiki! Simply head to edtechchat.wikispaces.com to view uploaded .pdf archives of each chat and learn about the bios of the founders.


Get your archives each week off of the wiki page.

Susan and the moderator team are located all over the United States wikis help them to collaborate and easily clearly share responsibilities. Wikispaces was the first choice to host the archives because it’s easy to use, easy to maintain, and so helpful to distribute access to editing for an entire team!

Want to Try It?

If you have resources that need to be archived often, try out Susan’s simple method of creating a wiki, creating an archive page, adding a Table and uploading documents and resources for folks to quickly get. Make it collaborative by inviting several of your colleagues as Organizers of the wiki under the Members area. Make a new archive wiki now!


And if you are new to Twitter and #chats, be sure to check out Susan’s TweechMe app developed especially for teachers getting involved in Twitter and developing their personal learning network. Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions, and see you on Monday nights, all!

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How to Succeed at the EIA EdVentures Conference

The good people at the Education Industry Association invited us to give a talk based on our How to Succeed In Ed-Tech article at their EdVentures conference in Newport Beach last week.

It was a real pleasure to be able to engage with a group of Ed-Tech entrepreneurs, some of whom were just starting out, to share our history and think about how we can all do a better job building solutions that help teachers and students.

I met some really passionate new entrepreneurs working on exactly these questions and came away inspired by the energy they are bringing to their ventures.

My takeaway after the session was that there is of course no one right answer to any of the hard questions and that the key part of finding your own success is knowing who you are and what you want.

The conversation about how to build Ed-Tech companies we can be proud needs to be ongoing. Thanks to the EIA for making it a central part of their conference this year.

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