Wikispaces was an educational wiki platform for educators create online classrooms to collaborate with their students. It was operating for over 13 years and had over 10 million registered teachers and students. It created a revolution in modern education.
Since it was closed last year, all of the educators and students are pushed to look for other solutions as Wikispaces alternative.
We shall discuss the various Wikispaces alternatives currently available and see how to create educational wiki websites for teachers with WordPress CMS.
To say the truth, Wikispaces left a big hole which is though to close. Educators are using hosted wikis like PB Wiki, Wikidot, Blackboard Confluence, Microsoft Teams, etc., as Wikispaces alternatives.
None of these alternatives appear to be a straightforward replacement of Wikispaces. Teachers and Students have to settle for these because they don’t have an option.
The closest alternate to Wikispaces has been Google Classroom, which is an online learning management system designed for schools. It has met some of the needs of the educators but has some drawbacks to be considered as a full-fledged alternative to Wikispaces.
Drawbacks of Google Classrooms
No Interaction – Effective education requires interaction with fellow learners; this can be achieved through online discussions. which is not available with Google Classrooms
No Learner Sharing – It is difficult to editing permission for many students on a Google document. If given so it will create chaos.
No Quizzes and Tests – Google Classroom does not have any options for automated quizzes and tests for your learners.
No Gradebook – Although you can evaluate assignments, it does not provide you with a Gradebook.
Why You Need a Better Alternative?
The closing of Wikispaces should not be considered as a standalone event. If you are using a hosted wiki solution, you need to wake up to the fact that they might close someday, because their business model is so volatile. If you go for a wiki hosted by another company they might close another day too.
The best solution is to create your own educational wiki website using a self-hosted software and get host it yourself with the help of a web host. It could sound like a lot of work but believe me; it is a long-term and permanent solution. One significant advantage of building a website for yourselves is that you get a customized site which best serves your purpose.
Using WordPress to Create Educational Wikis
WordPress is a beginner friendly Content Management System (CMS) with which you can build many types of websites. WordPress has special tools for building educational websites. The advantage with WordPress is that you can customize your educational site with various plugins and themes available with WordPress.
Before going into additional tools, you see here how to create a basic WordPress website. After installing WordPress on your site, you can use the additional tools mentioned here
There is no single WordPress plugin or theme streamlined to be the exact Wikispaces alternative, but you can combine some plugins to build your own education wiki website with WordPress.
One good thing with WordPress is that you can build an educational site which exactly fits your needs. Ready-made solutions do not provide this kind of satisfaction.
Let’s see some of the tools with their features for building WordPress education wiki sites.
Wikispaces login Vs. WordPress Login
One of the main reasons for the success of Wikispaces is the Wikispaces login option. It gave a separate login for teachers and students with teachers having full control over the classroom to give assignments, tests, and everything.
In WordPress, though you have the same type of login page for everyone, the users are assigned to user roles like Admin, Editor, Contributor, etc., with different permissions which can be edited the suit the purpose. This gives educators more control of their online classroom like never before.
Using LearnDash LMS plugin to Create Courses
LearnDash is a Learning Management System (LMS) WordPress plugin which you can create course-based content structured as Lessons, Topics, and Sub-topics. This course feature can be used as an alternative for classrooms, and you can enroll students for the respective courses. You can add any types of content like text, images, podcasts, and videos in your Lessons and Topics.
Interaction Capabilities of LearnDash
Interaction brings a human element to the online classroom. In LearnDash interactions can happen between the teachers and the peers through Webinars, Feedback on assignments, Forums, and even though one-on-one sessions. Many other alternatives do not provide these interaction capabilities.
Other Important features of LearnDash
Drip-feed Lessons – Schedule the content to the students enrolled in your courses.
Quizzing – Has 8 different types of quizzes and can be used as checkpoints on lessons.
Gradebook – Automatically pull in quiz and assignment scores and add grades.
Gamification – Gamify the learning process using points, badges, high-scores, leaderboards, and other options.
Creating a Classroom wiki with WordPress
A wiki is a collaborative space where anyone with access can contribute to the content. Educators and teachers are using Wikis as an effective teaching and learning tools to enhance the learning process. Collaboration is an essential part of teaching and learning. Wikis can be used to engage learners to learn along with others.
Wikis can develop teachers knowledge management processes and fulfill student’s satisfaction while collaborating in designing interdisciplinary projects.
– Dr. Michele Biasutti, Chair of Research in Educational Technology, University of Padova.
Here how a Wiki can be used in a Classroom
- Wikis can enable groups of students to work together to solve a problem, complete a project, etc.
- you create interactive learning environments with wikis
- If you are an educator and want to use Wikis, you can give authentic assignments and clearly define students roles and activities.
Using Helpie Wiki to create an Educational Wiki
HelpieKB WordPress Wiki plugin to create an educational wiki with WordPress. Helpie is a fully collaborative wiki plugin where you can choose who can view, edit, publish, and approve the content. It has a streamlined WYSIWYG front-end editor, which makes it easy to add text, and media (images, videos, etc.).
Uses of Classroom Wikis
Every student can provide the content, and the teacher can select a few students who can fact check the content and approve the edit made by other students. You can combine the wiki with the classroom created with LearnDash and use it as a classroom wiki. That is you can add the wiki contents as a reference to lessons you teach on the classes.
Students can also discuss what they learn in the classroom and create new wiki content or update the wiki content and keep their knowledge growing.
You can also use Wikis for the following types of activities
- Resource repository and Teachers can publish instructional materials.
- Research projects
- Class summaries
- Discussion activities and
- Creating collaborative stories
Create Member profiles and directories with Ultimate Member
There is an Ultimate Member WordPress plugin freely available to create user profiles, groups, directories, etc., for teachers and students on your educational site.
Create an Educational Membership site with Memberpress
You can also create educational wiki other than classroom wiki which limits access to content like a membership site or a subscription site. Where students can subscribe to the membership to get access to the content they need.
You can use Memberpress, a WordPress membership plugin to create the various membership plans with access to different content on these plans. You could have multiple membership plans like Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Free, Pro, Silver, Gold,etc., Memberpress has a Drip-feed content feature with which you can allow limited content each day.
What do you think about this post? Where you a Wikispaces user? Did you find an alternative for Wikispaces? What education wiki are you using? Tell us in the comments section.