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Creating a classroom LMS with Wikispaces

From: iPad Classroom Fundamentals

Video: Creating a classroom LMS with Wikispaces

In setting up your iPad classroom, think about setting up a virtual, or cloud classroom. Wikis are great, because the research work and collaborative tools are excellent for teaching team building. Scholarly and academic research on the web and creating evidence of your students' research and knowledge building, long after the course is over. After the end of the course, the Wiki goes with the student, not with the school. For this course I have chosen to set up my virtual classroom in wikispaces.com.

Creating a classroom LMS with Wikispaces

In setting up your iPad classroom, think about setting up a virtual, or cloud classroom. Wikis are great, because the research work and collaborative tools are excellent for teaching team building. Scholarly and academic research on the web and creating evidence of your students' research and knowledge building, long after the course is over. After the end of the course, the Wiki goes with the student, not with the school. For this course I have chosen to set up my virtual classroom in wikispaces.com.

It's a shared working space for learning, communication, and academic research. In which myself and each of my students has full rights to edit and to add to the knowledge and processes we develop throughout a course. Wikispaces provide a fast, easy, affordable, and intuitive way to communicate to individuals, teams, and the entire class. Each student can edit, see, respond, share, and disseminate work, projects, and research. And it only takes a student about 15 minutes to become a pro. I have chosen to work with wikispaces.com for the last 3 years because it is free, open source, secure protocol.

And the work, research, projects, and results stay with the students. Let's set up a course page on Wikispaces. This allows you to create a secure dedicated Wiki environment. Normally, this would cost a fee, but as an educator, you get this feature free. Select Teachers, this is the Log In page for creating your account. Select your Industry, which is Higher Ed in this case. Here, when you get to the Wiki Name, this should be name of your course, not our own personal name.

So since I'm teaching a design course, I'm going to type in design 105, use a hyphen and type the semester, which will be Spring 13. For educational purposes, I always check the box saying I'm using it for higher education. This allows me to have a secure protocol for my site. You get a welcome message, and if you are not familiar with Wikispaces, I highly encourage you to go ahead and look at the tour.

But for the purposes of this course, I'm going to close this box. The first thing I like to do is set up my home page with a customized welcome message. In order to do this, I just simply click on the Edit button. As you can see when I do that, I'm now in a editor that looks not unlike what you might see in a blog or WordPress. There is nothing in the Getting Started area that I want my students to be able to do. I don't want them to manage the Wiki or be able to invite people. And I don't want them to change the look and feel.

And I don't want them in charge of permissions, so I'm going to Delete this section. I can change the color here and I like to customize things, so I'm going to come in here and say, Welcome to Design 105. Then I'll put in my name, Instructor. And then I usually add my email, so that the students can contact me directly from the home page. As you can see, when I type in my email address, it doesn't look like a link. I need to select my email address, go up to the Link button, select Email, and as good practice.

And to make a more accessible site, I'm going to select my email address, put it here, so that when I roll over this link, I can see where that link goes. Now I'll select, Add Link, and you can see that I have made my link hot. If you want to change any of the colors, you can, I'm going to change mine to dark gray type because it's a little easier on the eye. So I'm going to select the T button with color palette behind it. Click on Text Color, come over and choose the dark gray, and then click Apply Styles.

Now that I've got my landing page together, I can come in here and add some content. I typically put in my course docs. And one of the things you'll see is that it's not keeping the grey type just because I wrote in course docs, it's gone back to black. If I want to change that I have to select it, go up to the T key, click on gray, apply styles. Now I'm going to upload my syllabus and my materiel list that I've created as PDFs.

To upload a file click on the File button, choose Upload Files, I'll go to the Desktop. Scroll over to my list in my exercise files. Materials and syllabus are what I want. I can, Shift+click to get all of those items in at the same time, select Open. And this may take a little bit of time depending on your internet connection and what size the files are. You can upload all kinds of media. Once you see the icon appear you can select those to insert. When I put my I beam in there, you can see that the syllabus has now been added. I'm going to hit the Space key, click on the File button, and now Add Materials. And now, you can see that I have both of my PDFs inserted into the home page. Then remember to Save.

It does a very good job of keeping track of what you're doing. If you make a mistake, it can Autosave, it can go back to a last save version, and it can tell you all the history of what time and when you made all the changes. So there's been times when I've had problems with the website that I've actually gone back a whole day and rest it back to the day before. So if something goes wonky or crazy you can do that inside a Wiki. As you can see, it's got everything that I need for the home page to greet my students on day one. I like to create a few other pages for my students right off the bat, so they know where projects are going to be and where the calendar is. To select new pages, I'll select Pages and Files, I'll select the New Page button and this page will be called projects.

I like to add tags because tags make your site searchable. And it also makes it easier with the SEO engines and any of the web browsers. So I'll type projects, hit the Return key, and then I'll type design 105. Hit the Return key, then I'll select Create. I now have created a blank page. I instantly give the page a name, so that my students know what will be going on on this page.

And then I like to give it a heading, I'll select that. And if you are familiar with the web, you'll know about these different headings. I tend to choose Heading 2, Heading 1 is a little bit too big. Again, I'm trying to be consistent with my, my color palette. I'll make that gray and hit Apply Styles. That's all I'm going to do right now. I haven't created a first project and I don't have any handouts to upload, but if I did, I would add those now for the first day of class, and then select Save. The other page that I create right away is a Calendar page.

I want to have a way for the students to see what we are doing in class, what's coming up. And if they miss class because of an absence, they can check the calendar. So I'll select Pages and Files one more time. Then I'll select New Page, type in the word calendar. Add my tags, hit Return, Add design 105 hit Return, and then select Create.

Again, the first thing I want to do, put what this is, select the type, and give it a Heading 2. Go to my Text and Color tool, select Text, select grey and Apply Styles. Finally always remember to Save. So now if you look over in my navigation area.

You can see that I have all of my Management tools at the top and below I can see all of my papers that I have created so far. One of the nice features here is that you can make certain pages have more prominence. For instance, I want the calendar to be an important page. So I'm going to select this right here. And notice the calendar went up into the Favorites area. I also want the projects to be an important page for the students. So I'm going to select the star, and then finally, I'm going to select the star on the homepage.

Now I've got the three most important pages for the Wiki and for my class. To manage the Wiki click on the Manage Wiki and here you can go and change the look and feel of your Wiki. I'm going to choose Themes and Colors. And on of my favorite sites is this Flex or the FlexFluid. Depends on whether you like a fixed width layout or if you like a stretchy. I'm going to choose flex. And then they have a number of predesigned palettes for you, you can even customize these.

I'm going to chose the turquoise one, and then select Apply. Instantly, I have a totally new look for my Wiki. And I get this affordance, it says that I've done it successfully. Whenever you make any changes in your Wiki, it will give you a green for, yes, you did it right or a red box, no, you did it incorrectly. So I'd like to add my own logo. I give each of my classes its own, unique logo, so I'm going back tout to Manage Wiki, and select Look and Feel.

I'm going to scroll down to Logo, and choose a file that I have on the desktop. Select Logo, select Open, then choose Save. Again I get the affordance, saying I've done it correctly. And now you can see I have a customized layout and color scheme with my own personal class logo. There are a couple of other things I wanted to show you in Manage Wiki. You can get to your permissions. So if at any time you need to change the permissions of that page, you can change that.

Notice I have a Private Wiki, so that only the members of this Wiki can view and edit pages. This is very important for an educational site where you want it to be a closed group with only the people in your class editing that site. And then I'll select Update, if I go back to Manage Wiki. So now to invite students to join your wiki select Invite People. And typically what I do the first day of class, is that I make all of my students come over to my station just at breaktime or just before the end of class. And type in their own email address.

I will never see this email address again, that's one of the nice things about a Wiki. I will only see their profile name and no one else in the class will ever see their personal email. The reason I have students type in their own email address is that, they often give the school an email address that they don't actually use. And so this way, I want to be able to know that the email address they're using is the one that I can communicate with them. So I'm going to type in my email address to invite myself.

And then I can go down and customize this message. Typically I'll put at the bottom of it, Welcome to Design 105. And then sign off Best. I also might add my email address one more time. I like to give them my email address as many times as I can the first week of school. As soon as I have done that, if I select members. I can go down to Pending Email Invitations, and see that I have sent out the emails. And as soon as the students join, their profile will join mine up here. At this point, the next thing that I want to do, is teach you how to send email to the students.

I can send one email just to one student by clicking on the profile name. But if I want to send an email to the entire class, I have to make sure to go to the dropdown menu and select the Wiki of the course that I'm working on. And I'll put in a subject matter, which is, Welcome, and I'll say, Glad you signed up, See you in next class meeting. And this way, by doing a follow up email, my students know that I've received their profile, and that they're signed up correctly.

And we can test the email to make sure they all understand how it works. The email will show up from Wikipaces, and say a member of the Wiki Space that you joined in, has sent you an email. There's one more thing I want to show you in manage Wiki before we get ready to go on to the next movie and set up a calendar. Down at the bottom of your dashboard here, you'll see that there's something called Wiki Statistics. Now, I've just started this wiki, so you won't see a lot of activity. But this is a great way for you to start getting analytics on the usage and the amount of input that your students are doing in the Wiki. It updates frequently, it's in Real-Time.

So, I've been teaching a class now for about two months, I'm half way to the semester. And you can actively see that on every Sunday, before the new week starts, my students are going in to check what assignments and materials they need for the following week. I can also see who many people have added to the Wiki giving us information and doing things like that. Lastly, I also encourage my students to create their own pages and files. Every student is allowed to create one page with their own unique username. Students can continue to manage this community and network long after their one semester with myself. It literally becomes a resource they can return to again, and again, much the same way we keep journals and sketchbooks.

Once the structure is set up each member and the teacher have the rights to edit and contribute to the Wikispace. In my course we decide and agree upon a few rules. Rule number one, No one can delete another's works, or writings. However, they can challenge information by posting or sending an email to the contributor. The contributor has 48 hours to address, answer, or change the challenge. Number two, contributors can not work on the same page at the same time.

They will end up deleting each other's work. Number 3, each student is invited to create their own page titled with their name, first and last, not a profile. And they may manage that unique page for their own work. Now, to add the calendar and have the students subscribe to the calendar and we're never out of touch.

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iPad Classroom Fundamentals

31 video lessons · 8583 viewers

Laurie Burruss


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