Wikis – Not For 11th/12th Graders

Around 2010, I took my first graduate class that preached the value of using wikis in the classroom.  Around the same time, my district adopted the idea of using wikis as well. So, naturally, I dove in headfirst. For one year, I incorporated wikis anywhere and everywhere that I could in my lessons. Then I realized something.  My students despised wikis.

Wikis were packaged and sold to teachers as tools to get students working collaboratively and constructing knowledge. Those were majors goals of many districts in 2010 and even get some mention now in 2016. From the outside, it would seem like wikis would benefit students. I believe that is completely dependent upon the age and motivation level of the students though.

My experience with using wikis in the classroom was primarily limited to 11th and 12th grade students. In general, the students are not extremely motivated. They are even less motivated to work collaboratively. I once had a student response, “Just tell us what we need to know”, in when I gave them a choice in how we could cover the material for the upcoming chapter. Because of my experience, I believe that motivation to use wikis and work collaboratively is higher with middle school and elementary students.


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