I am sure that most of you are familiar with Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia. Love it or hate it, Wikipedia is a part of our students’ world. But what is a wiki? A wiki is a web page or website that is setup to allow anyone to easily contribute to or modify the content. Wikis are often used to create different collaborative sites such as eduwiki.us
While doing some research, I came across this interesting wiki related to the Civil War. A quick scan of the table of contents for the wiki shows that it covers the major aspects of the war including Causes of the War, Secession, an Overview of the War, Slavery, the Outcomes and Aftermath. There is also an extensive Bibliography and References section.
How can you use a wiki like this in your classroom? You could use it as a resource for information or you could use it as a starting point for additional inquiry. For example, the wiki states that Senator Stephen Douglas was the most powerful Democrat in the 1850s. How can your students verify this information? What research and resources could they use to verify this statement? If your students find more information or something to refute the information on the Wiki, edit the page and add or change it. It is all about sharing and collaborating.
So, no matter how you use wikis, they are collaborative and are not ALL bad.
Just as an additional resource, here is Wikipedia’s page on The Civil War
Until next time…