Wikiwand is a new award-winning interface that optimizes Wikipedia's content for a quicker and significantly improved reading experience. By installing Wikiwand's browser extension and then starting your search at the Wikiwand home page, students will have access to a simplified version of Wikipedia that includes tools for adjusting the font size, a special bookmarks feature that lets students bookmark and easily access Wikipedia pages, and pop-up definition of terms that allow students to learn what a key term means without having to navigate away from the current page.
Type of Material:
The best use of the material is for personal use or to find photos or videos for homework, a lecture or a class. It can be used for both in-class and homework activities.
Wikiwand is a browser-plug in; it requires Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. It can also be used on the iPhone and an Android version is under development. We tested it in Chrome and Opera.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Students will be able to access content on Wikipedia.
Target Student Population:
Wikiwand is of particular use to anyone who struggles with reading or executive functioning. The interface minimizes clutter and distractions and helps students to stay focused on the content they are reading. This browser extension would also be of use to credential students who are seeking to incorporate technology into lesson plans while ensuring that students stay on task. The target population is K-12 students and teachers, undergraduate and graduate students and faculty, the general public and administrators. There is material from all disciplines posted.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Wikiwand requires that the user be able to use a mouse and keyboard in order to navigate through the interface.
The material is current and self contained. Wikiwand gives students more functional access to the quality and thorough resources contained in Wikipedia.
Anyone can post or edit an article. The information may not be accurate or informed by scholarship.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Wikiwand provides a set of tools that can work with almost any subject area a teacher may choose to teach. There are a wide range of possibilities for incorporating it into lessons and it does not restrict the teacher to any particular pedagogical style.
Wikiwand does not provide learning objectives or guidelines about how to use it in a classroom setting. It is unclear about how to incorporate it into lessons. Wikiwand also lacks guided tutorials and other tools for scaffolding students' use of the site.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Wikiwand provides tools for changing font, contrast, and enlarging the font size; these could be particularly useful for students with disabilities. Wikiwand's tools can help to minimize student distractions and help them to concentrate better on their assignments and the course material. It allows students to bookmark quotes and articles for later use as well as to change font sizes and types. The full sized cover photos are attractive. The layout is appealing and hovering over links will give a preview of the information that is contained within the link. The interface is familiar because it is an upgraded version of Wikipedia.
Wikiwand does not include annotation tools. It is also lacking the ability to read-aloud wikipedia text. In addition, there is no way to access the Simple English Wikipedia or other language versions of Wikipedia.
Other Issues and Comments:
The link for the site needs to be changed to: https://www.wikiwand.com/ - the current link only goes to the Chrome version, while the main site will detect the browser that one has and install the appropriate version.
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