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This year I have been studying on line through Swinburne. As part of the course I have to make regular newsgroup contributions. I have decided to use this requirement with my students as well on our Yr 11 Physics Wiki.

What I have asked the students to do in their Nuclear Energy unit is they must make at least three contributions per fortnight to the wiki forum. They are expected to ask at least one question and answer two. I am running the unit over four weeks so the students are then asked to submit their best answer for assessment.

So far about a third of the class has started using the wiki. The question have all been quite sophisticated and the answers have been thorough. I have insisted the students reference their answer from the text or other sources and they are beginning to do this.

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I have been assisting several teachers set up wikis for their classes next year. Some of the issues that have come to light….
1. make sure they right down all their passwords and somewhere they can find them again!!
2. Check with the network manager to ensure emails from the wiki are not blocked by the school. This was a particular issue for us.
3. Make sure that each person has a clear idea on what they want the wiki to be. I have recommended blogs to several staff who were really looking for journal type application rather than a learning space.

This is a link to the Wikispaces learning A to Z page. Here are many educational wikis which can give an idea of how wikis can be used in education:
http://educationalwikis.wikispaces.com/Examples+of+educational+wikis

If you are looking to use a blog or wiki and the students want avatars these sites have been recommended by the oz-teachers forums:
http://www.buildyourwildself.com/
http://www.myavatareditor.com/