Wiki-AP-World-History-Pedia

So here we are two weeks away from the AP exam. We are done with content, but we are in the midst of six days of state and NCLB testing, limiting my interaction with my AP kids. After trying to figure out the best way to review for the exam, I finally decided upon a mini-Wikipedia-like project for three of my eight precious review days.

I drew from the Snapshots and Comparisons section of the AP World curriculum overview from the CollegeBoard, assigned groups, and set up a wiki. It fits the micropedia wiki design pattern perfectly.

Essentially, each group is given a topic that we have covered in varying degrees over the course of the year. Once they have research the topic and created a short and concise article addressing the important elements of topic, they are to post it on the wiki. Then, in phase two, the groups go through and validate two other articles – making corrections and additions where needed. If all goes as planned, by next Friday (five days before the exam), my students will have a solid collection of study guides.

I do another wiki project on the Holocaust (which I will be speaking about at NECC 2006 in San Diego) and have been considering the Wikipedia-style wiki idea for a while. This project just seemed to fit. My use of Moodle throughout the year has fostered an informal online community that goes across all four sections of my AP classes. Plus, this way the students are able to divide the work over four classes allows me time to still do some directed review in class.

I am using MediaWiki (the same engine as Wikipedia) installed on my server. The installation was a snap. While I am pretty tech-savvy, I am useless when it comes to code, Unix, and anything more complicated then html. My server has a tool that sets up the MySQL databases for me. Once that was done, I just uploaded the files and configured it through FireFox. In the MediaWiki help files I found code I could add to close registration and only allow registered users to post. This way no one else can contribute or cause us any problems (the openness of Wikipedia just doesn’t suit a high school project). I could have used the free SeedWiki or WikiSpaces, but I am a control freak when it comes to these projects and with the wiki on my server, I can exert all the control I want!

The first day went pretty well, most groups just did research, but a number began writing in the wiki. I’ll write more next week as they continue to take shape.

If you would like to see the work in progress, go ahead. Have a suggestion? Please comment!

5 thoughts on “Wiki-AP-World-History-Pedia”

  1. This sounds as if it will be a great review. I am actually in the middle of a similar project with my regular world history classes. We divided each class into five groups and they are creating a history wiki overviewing various chapters. It will be nice to compare reflections toward the end of the semester.

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  2. if either of you have time, could you explain this wiki thing to me or point me in the direction of a website that could help me out?

    all this sounds great, and i’d love to use it with my kids…but i’m confused as to how this stuff all works.

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  3. Terrific and informative article. I could definitely see myself doing something like this in my math classes. One question though: What’s the story behind your server? What kind of hardware do you use? Do you have the server sitting in your classroom, did you purchase space from a server farm, or what? Basically, how did you get a server set up?

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  4. I am a 36 year old full time college student at Grand Valley State University in Allendale,MI. I have had careers in Law Enforcement and Insurance and am now BACK in school pursuing a degree in Group Social Studies(with a History Emphasis)to teach szecondary education. I am intrigued by your use of MediaWiki for the project you have described. I am new to this concept and am very curious about it. I am wondering if you have done this before. What has been your students reactions to this being part of the project. We have talked a great deal in my Computers in Education class(currently enrolled)about paperless classrooms, and this seems to be something that would fit into that category. I like the idea to save paper, even though, being 36, I am not completely opposed to having paper in my classroom once I graduate and begin teaching. When you said that the groups go in and validate two other articles, are those fellow students articles? Are the groups that wrote those articles able to go back in and make changes on their own articles? I love this idea and, at this point, can totally see myself incorporating this into my classroom! I apologize for the ignorance and all of the questions, But I am obviously quite green at this. If you get the chance, I would certainly love to get a response back and have a few questions answered!:) Kudos to you for the Holocaust project in your classroom, that is something I have always planned on doing and I got some good ideas from your blog and the examples of your past students projects. Thanks for the information and have a great summer!

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