Introduction to Computer Science has a different meaning at Westwood School, a tech-forward, private K–12 school in Camilla, Ga. In a 10th-grade class, students make movies and learn online safety through a class wiki. One of the class projects, collaboration with students in Bangladesh, won the 2006 International Edublog Award for Wikis.

Apr 11 2007

Lesson Plans II

Students at a Georgia private school collaborate online to learn computer science.

Intro to Wikis
Students at a Georgia private school collaborate online to learn
computer science.

Lesson description: As students learn different aspects of online safety, they post current information to a collaborative wiki page. Discussions about the topic approach occur on the discussions tab of the wiki.

  • Students search for additional facts and hyperlinks to their sources.
  • Students draft a storyboard and/or script for a proposed movie on the topic.
  • Students create a video and, if approved, upload it to YouTube or Google Video.
  • Students create a PowerPoint document using information from their wiki to present to the class. Students also show their videos to their classmates.

Subject area: This can be used in any high school-level computer class. Standards: This lesson meets the newly drafted ISTE standards (

  • Creativity and Innovation (Standards A, B, C, D)
  • Communication and Collaboration (Standards A, B, D with peer collaboration only)
  • Research and Information Retrieval (Standards A, B, C)
  • Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making (Standards A, B, C, D)
  • Technology Operations and Concepts (Standards A, B, C, D)


A class wiki, for example,

Windows Movie Maker (free)

Audacity editing and recording software (free)

A video-recording device of their choice (class Web cams or a student’s video camera)

YouTube or Google Video, Microsoft Paint and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Grading Rubric: Students are graded by looking at the wiki itself and its history section, including the following aspects:

  • Collaborative effort: The wiki history shows in detail every addition and deletion on each page. It allows the teacher to determine the exact contribution or lack thereof of each student.
  • Hyperlinks to sources: A variety of hyperlinks are included to give the wiki credibility.
  • Original, intelligent wording: The effective wiki summarizes information — using clear, intelligent wording — but never copies it. Jargon is not used. The wiki is targeted to a global audience.
  • Effective use of video: The students are graded more on production of the video than perfection.

Teaching Tips

  • Before beginning, set up a wiki and make sure students have established their user names and passwords. is a good site.
  • Groups should have a basic understanding of wikis and be small enough (two or three people) to facilitate editing.
  • Create the main page for your wiki project that links to the blank pages students will use.
  • A video and other how-to instructions for beginners with wikis are available at
  • Feedback from peer reviews may inspire more improvements to student videos than detailed assessment rubrics. ISTE standards mandate collaboration with other classes. Start connecting.