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?
Twitter

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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!

Posted in Wikispaces | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Classroom, Company, Wikispaces | 3 Responses

#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.

#edtechchat

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.

#edtechchat

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!

Archives

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!

Posted in Wikispaces | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Business, Wikispaces | Comments closed

Get Your Class in Your Wiki Painlessly: New Join Code for Your Students

You asked, and we listened! Announcing the arrival of one of the most requested features of all time, this blog post explains how to use a Join Code to make joining a wiki easier for students.

Try it out and let us know what you think!  Step by step directions below.

Join Meme

Here’s how to use a Join Code. 

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Go to Members at the top right of your page. Then you’ll see the Join Code option. Press Create Code.

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Woo hoo! Now you’ve got yourself a 7-character code that lets other Wikispaces users join your wiki easily.

Full CodeThen, your students can simply go to the address where they will be prompted to log in and automatically become members of that wiki. If the students do not have accounts yet, they can either go to your wiki address, or the Join Code address. They will then be prompted to create an account and also put in your Join Code. Then they will become a member of Wikispaces.com AND of your wiki!

Join - Member

If your students already have accounts, they will automatically become a member when they go to the Join Code page address you receive.

Join - Has Code

If your students just go to your wiki address, then they will be prompted to go to the “Join page” to input the code.

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As a note, the code currently lasts one week and then you’ll need to add it again. You can also disable the code anytime you’d like. It shows up under “Members” as well as on the top of your wiki as long as it’s active.

Code
We were excited to see it in practice at ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) this past month at Vicki Davis’ Wonderful World of Wikis hands-on session! Below, Eric from our team helps moderate the backchannel as dozens of eager educators used the join code to easily gain access to Vicki’s resource site!

Eric at ISTE

Let us know how it goes in the comments below. Have you tried the Join Code feature yet? For what class? And how have your students liked it? We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Wikispaces | Comments closed
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