Thursday 29 May 2008

Using wikis for teacher development

In my two previous features, I've looked at how to create a wiki and how to use them with EFL students. In this posting I'd like to look at a couple of technical aspects, how to embed video in the wiki and how to add hyperlinks, and how we can use them for teacher development.

Let's start with the technical bit. Here are two video tutorials. The first shows how we can embed videos into a WetPaint wiki.

To view this movie in a separate window click here
Right click and the use 'Save as' to download a Quick Time version of this movie

This second one shows how to use hyperlinks to link together text and pages across the wiki.

To view this movie in a separate window click here
Right click and the use 'Save as' to download a Quick Time version of this movie

Wikis, through sites like have shown us what incredible power we have to create and share knowledge through the internet. We can also use the power of wikis for teacher development.

How can we use wikis for teacher development?
  • You could use a wiki as a kind of scrapbook to collect together ideas you have on teaching, such as links to or quotes from articles you have read, as well as teaching tips and lesson plans. You could keep your own lesson plans online this way and edit and update them each time you use them. Much of this you could also do on a blog, but using a wiki gives you the opportunity to structure different pages for different topics, like having a classroom management section and a section on teaching pronunciation etc. In this way you could start to collect your own personal teaching manual and, who knows, at some point you might decide to put it live for other people to contribute to or share it with a mentor or peer to help you edit it.
  • You could work with a group of trainee teachers and ask them to create a wiki training manual by adding information to each section as they study on their course. You could then see how well they were assimilating the information they were learning on the course and this would give you the opportunity to revise anything they were getting wrong or misunderstanding
  • You could create a teaching jargon wiki. At the moment I'm working with a group of teachers and I've created an IT jargon wiki so that anyone who comes across a term they don't understand can add it to the wiki and either I or one of their peers can add a definition. They can also continue to refine these definition and add examples as their knowledge grows.
  • You could video yourself teaching, embed the videos, and ask for feedback on your teaching from other peers through your wiki.
  • You could use it to collect and share tips on aspects of teaching practice.
  • You could work with a group of trainers to create a teacher development course book using the wiki.
I think the possibilities for collaborative projects for teacher development are almost limitless.
I've actually started up a Technology in ELT wiki here which you are welcome to get involved in.

At the moment this focuses on developing a glossary of IT related terms and definitions, giving access to teachers to ask an answer FAQs, and attempting to define key skills in IT for ELT teacher development. So if you have time feel free to get involved with this. Just register and start to contribute.

I'll be very interested to see how and if this develops over the coming months. If you have any further suggestions or experience of teacher development projects using wikis, please do post a link in the comments.


Nik Peachey

Related postings
To have a closer look at WetPaint and create your own wiki go to:


Ronaldo Lima Jr. said...

Hey Nik. This is a very pedagogical post and you're absolutely right when mentioning that wikis can be used for teacher development. My Brazilian colleagues (Carla Arena and Erika Cruvinel) and I have been using a wiki ( to keep a list of our projects updated together with our professional profiles; as well as to list, organize and create online handouts (I think the "outs" shouldn't be there...) of our presentations.
We find it very useful and would encourage every educator to do the same.

Kindest regards from Brazil!


Nik Peachey said...

Hi Ronaldo

Thanks for the comment. Yes what you're doing makes perfect sense. Perhaps it's the 'hand' that shouldn't be there though as the materials are still out, you just don't need to touch them anymore;^)

Had a quick look at your blog. Nicely done.



Unknown said...

Nik - Great blog and great series of posts about wikis. I use a wiki for teacher training but mostly as a compliment for our digital platform (Moodle). Right now we are doing a collaborative writing project (which, to the best of my knowledge can't be done on the Moodle) in which groups of 3 students have to write a small essay comparing and contrasting face to face learning with online learning. These essays will be handed to prospective TEFL students who can't decide in which program to enroll. My students are newbies to online learning (4 months experience so far) and so the technology is quite challenging for them at first but they end up loving the wiki.

You give some great ideas for using wikis in the classroom, so thanks for that. I was wondering what advantages wetpaint has over other services like pbwiki which I use.

Ok, great job and hope to hear from you.


Ana Maria Menezes said...

Nik, I´ve started creating a wiki in wetpaint and I was wondering how I can embed applications w/ HTML codes to a wiki.Is it possible? Can you help me out?


Nik Peachey said...

Hi Anna

You can add widgets to wetpaint pages but I'm not sure about html code. What do you want to enable the code to do?



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