Wikispaces is one of many free wikis available for educators and others. You can create and account with or without actually creating a wiki. If you aren't sure of what a wiki is or why in the world you would want to use one, check out this short film called Wikis in Plain English. This gives an excellent explanation of what a wiki is as well as how it is used.
Creating an Account
If you want to create an account to use wikispaces you will want to go to http://www.wikispaces.com and fill in the form for creating an account. If you are simply going to be using someone else's space you will simply need to fill out the Username, Password, and an Email. If you are creating a space to use you will want to also create a Space.
There is also a section where teachers can create a wiki space for their classroom at http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers . These are private label wikis that allow the features of wikispaces without the cost.
Creating a Space
When you are filling out your sign up form for an account if you are also creating a space you will need to come up with a name. Keep this simple without any spaces or odd characters. This is what others are going to know your space by. For example you might want to use something that identifies who the page belongs to for example http://tadgeobrien.wikispaces.com . Belongs to Tadge O'Brien, while the site http://weblogged.wikispaces.com/ belongs to Will Richardson. This keeps it easier for visitors to remember the site address, since they associate your name with the space name.
Once you have created the space you will now have a wiki, but it won't have anything in it.
To many people this is quite an intimidating thing, but it shouldn't be, no matter what you put in here you can change it later. If you took the time to watch the Wikis in Plain English video you will know that the best place is to simply start by clicking your Edit this Page button. Once you do this you will be off and running.
Editing Spaces and Pages
A wiki has two very important buttons, the first is the edit button, the other is the save button. When you first get to a wikispaces page you should see an edit this page button. This is the button that opens your page with an editor which you can use.
When a page is first created it simply has the phrase Type in the content of your new page here. highlighted. So now all you have to do is simply begin typing the contents of a page. If you want to use formatting similar to office applications you will notice a tool bar at the top of the page that you can use. Simply clicking on the different buttons as you would in an office program you will change the text formatting. Once you have finished typing you will want to click on the Save button. As will most programs that you use I would recommend saving often. It is easier to go back and change one small error then trying to retype your entire piece of work.
The nice thing about a Wiki is that it is similar to the old black and white composition books, except that there is one long page and you can constantly add more pages to the book as well. To do this you will want to create links. In wikispaces you can create links two ways. The first way we will look at creates pages within your wiki. To do this you will want to highlight the text that you want to link. Once you have the text highlighted you will want to click on the link button. This will bring up a window that gives you the options for linking.
The first section that refers to Link Text is the text that will be highlighted as a link. The next two sections refer to the type of link that it will be. If it is a link to another page in the wiki you will want to choose Wiki Link, then choose whether it is a New Page or a link to an existing page.
If your link is to another page out on the web you will want to choose the External Link option and copy and paste the new link into the box provided.
One great thing about using wikispaces is that it is easy to add images and videos. With just a few clicks you can have a image or video placed up on your space. Note: A free space has a limit to the amount of information that you can post. To add an image you can simply click on the add image File:WikispacesImage.jpg icon. At this point you will be asked to either insert and existing image that you have, or to upload an image to wikispaces.
Once you have selected your image you can place it within your page, similar to how you would within Word.
Adding Other Media
Wikispaces realizes that the amount of information that is being created on the Internet is increasing at an exponential rate as well as with a variety of formats. To accommodate this they have created an Embedded Widget button that allows you to add a variety of different types of content including YouTube, TeacherTube, Google Applications and a variety of other types of content.
Just like your image you have to specify the correct information for the type of content you'd like to share. Usually Wikispaces tries to inform you of where this information can be found. For example when you want to embed a YouTube video, the information you are looking for is the embed code which you then paste into the appropriate area within Wikispaces. Once you hit save you will have your video playing in your page for you.
As you work on the pages if you come across something that you see and aren't sure why it is there. You have a few choices on how to proceed with this. If it is something like a misspelling you can simply edit without to much concern. However if it is a concept that you simply disagree you may want to comment on it. This is where the Discussion Tab can come in handy. Here you have the opportunity to discuss parts of the wiki page that you have an opinion on. Clicking on the tab will open an new window, which will show you the ongoing discussions around a page.
If there is no discussion around the page you will simply see the area to start your discussion. You will want to post a subject and the corresponding message. If there is a discussion that relates to what you want to talk about you will want to open that discussion, read the comments, and then post your reply. This way discussions that have already started will stay together.
In the end the discussion becomes threaded, meaning that replies to a message are related, and you don't have to open multiple pages.
History of a Page
One great thing about a wiki is that it is hard to break. There is a history button that allows you to see who has edited the page and when. This way you can compare versions of a page and even go back to an older version of a page if you have accidentally messed it up. You probably won't need to use this very often, but it is helpful to know about.
Every Wikispace has a navigation component to it that allows you to create a basic form for your wiki. To edit or change this information you will have to edit your navigation bar. File:WikispacesNavigation.jpg By clicking on the Edit Navigation link below your navigation bar you will open a page that shows your navigation, then by using your tools as you would when editing a page you can add navigation links.
You will most likely want to stick with creating links to pages, within your wiki, or out on the web. I wouldn't add video to your navigation for any reason really.
Managing a Space
Along the right hand side of your space is a link called Manage Wiki. If you want to access some of the more advanced features of you wiki this is where you will want to go.
At the time of this writing it included 4 sub headings. There is a lot that can be done within management of a space. The key points that you will want to remember deal with Content and People.
There are five areas that you can work within while editing the content of your site. Below is a quick explanation or each of these areas.
- This shows you all of the pages within the wiki. It allows you to print, lock, delete, rename, and redirect a page.
- This shows you all of the files that you have uploaded, allowing you to download the file, rename it, or delete it.
- Are a nice way to organize similar content. Here you can see all your tags, rename them, or delete them.
- Content Manager
- This gives you a list of people that are members of your wiki space. It allows you to send individual invitations to people via a single email.
- Normally a wiki allows one of two simple permissions. Allow editing for all or deny editing to only members. Wikispaces includes these permissions and a few more.
- Invite People
- This allows you a way to send more then one person an email to invite them to your wiki via email.
- User Creator
- The last option allows you to quickly create up to 100 new accounts in bulk and add them as members of your wikis.
- Look and Feel
- Here you can customize the colors and layout of your page.
- If you want to pay for your own wiki this is where you deal with payment.
- Domain Name
- If you wanted to change the prefix of your wikispaces.com url this is where you can do that.
- Wiki Info
- This is some basic information such as what your wiki is about.
- Delete Wiki
- Sick of your wiki, simply delete it!
- If you want to know when students are updating the wiki or if someone else is adding to your wiki this is the place you can set your wiki to send you emails.
- Wiki Statistics
- Do you want to see the amount of traffic your wiki is creating, here is a simple graph to do that.
- Space Usage
- There are limits regarding the space that you have. Here is a way to know what you are using.
- The HTML code to share you wiki with a simple badge is available here.
- Web Folders (WebDAV)
- Web Dav is a way to access the files that you have related to your wiki space. Unless you are really geeky most of us don't need to access this.
- Import Blog Post
- If you are a reader of blogs or a writer on a blog and you want to import specific posts this will allow you to do so.
- If you want to back up your wiki just in case this would be where you can do this. Not a bad idea once in a while.Vinyl Siding Prices