For social networking: Teachers can decide who can participate and when. Because the user’s newsfeed is built around the work the classroom is doing, all of the discussion and activity is tied directly to the goals and work of the class. Teachers can monitor the complete history of student discussions, writing, and file uploads.
For knowledge communities: Wikispaces Classroom includes professional development resources, curriculum development groups, and student-built study guides to help turn informal knowledge into formal resources. The platform also encourages the use of internet resources, content, and tools.
For writing: Users can collaboratively edit pages using a visual editor; embed content from around the web, including videos, images, polls, documents, and more; and comment on sections of text or the entire page.
Wikispaces Classroom already has more than 10 million registered teachers and students on the platform–a number the creators say is due to the design based on teachers and student feedback from using Wikispaces.
“We’ve built Wikispaces Classroom for one reason–because teachers told us it will help increase their effectiveness in the classroom,” said James Byers, co-founder of Wikispaces. “We don’t want technology to be a hindrance and we don’t want to tell teachers how to teach. Instead, we asked educators what they needed to be successful. And then we delivered.”
In a recent survey conducted by Wikispaces, 72 percent of educators who responded stated that Wikispaces makes them more or much more effective as a teacher. Frey and Byers anticipate that Wikispaces Classroom, which will continue to be completely free for teachers, will do even more to help increase student engagement and student achievement.
“I have been a Wikispaces user for years, and I am very excited about Wikispaces Classroom. It’s going to be a great way to enhance my students’ learning. I’m especially looking forward to using it on my mobile phone, and the News Feed and Formative Assessment features look awesome,” said Brett Young, a teacher in Canada who had an opportunity to test the new platform.
“What guides our work is teacher empowerment and student outcomes,” Frey said. “That is what has allowed us to become a fast growing, sustainable business. So much of the activity in ed-tech right now is doomed to fail because of a lack of understanding of and focus on teachers and students. We are committed not just to delivering great products for the ed-tech market but to speaking up, sharing our experiences, and influencing entrepreneurs and ed-tech companies.”
To view Wikispaces Classroom, visit: http://www.wikispaces.com/.
Wikispaces Campus, a solution for school districts and universities, will be available soon. Contact Wikispaces Classroom for more information by scrolling to the bottom of this page: http://www.wikispaces.com/content/classroom/about.
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