For the past 8 years, Wikispaces has grown to be one of educators’ favorite tools for online collaboration in the classroom. Recently, Wikispaces announced its plan to launch Wikispaces Classroom, an online collaboration tool specifically tailored to the classroom. The new platform seeks to streamline the process for student and educators alike and cater to the specific needs of the classroom environment.
Pitched as the way to “quickly and easily create assignments, share resources, make announcements, and foster discussion and community,” Wikispaces offers more functionality than a blogging tool like WordPress, including the ability to create dedicated project spaces for group work. One of the most intriguing new features in the new education version is a “formative assessment” dashboard, which promises to let you “watch student engagement in real time, literally as they type,” with data displayed like a sound wave. The dashboard can show different metrics on how individual students are using the site and how engaged the class is in different projects.
Teachers can create their own sites for free, although Wikispaces sells institutional versions to schools. It’s easy to see how it could help teachers manage differentiated assignments, flip their classrooms, or simply encourage more dialogue.