Images & Wikis


Why are images important?

We've all heard the saying that "A picture says more than a thousand words". Images can be a very motivating component of a lesson and generate many different ideas and interpretations. Images, photos, logos... can get students thinking, writing and speaking about them. On the other hand, they can enhance a page by adding color and life to it.

The Internet has millions (billions??!!) of images and photos that can be shared, though we need to be careful of copyright. In general, though, when they're used for educational purposes, there isn't a problem.

There are several places where you can search for images, among them, Google images, Flickr and TagGalaxy. However, when we save images from the Internet or use photos that we (or others) have taken, they may not be the size we need, or we may just want a specific detail. So we need software to take care of that. MWSnap and Irfanview are two of these tools.

Let's have a peak preview of both before we continue.

Workshop Activities

Searching for and capturing images

Google Images
  • write a word or expression and press "Enter" (try writing "Webheads")
  • if you're not happy with the results, try a different word or expression
  • when a "thumbnail" of a picture/image/logo catches your attention, click on it to enlarge it and see it better
  • if it interests you, rightclick on it and do a "Save as" in a folder of your choice
  • keep the name (if it's catchy or clear) or give it a name and click "Save"

  • follow the first three bullets above
  • above the photo, click the "Share this" arrow and select "Grab the HTML/BBCode"
  • copy the "HTML" code
  • click the "Widget" button above, select "Other Html" (on the left) and paste code
  • click the "Save" button

ViP: When you are in "Edit" mode (to make changes), you can click over the light blue Widget button (below) and have an option to reduce or increase the size of the photo.


  • write a word or expression and press "Enter" or "Go" (try "Webheads")
  • wait for the images to load in the Earth
  • you can rotate it with the mouse
  • click on a picture to enlarge it

  • capturing a picture in TagGalaxy
    • you can use two tools: Irfanview or MWSnap

  • capturing a photo with MWSnap
    • open MWSnap
    • click "Any rect. area" (on the left) and click the same icon in the Toolbar (below the Menus bar)
    • the mouse cursor turns to a big "plus" sign
    • drag the cursor to the area you want to select
    • release the mouse when you finish
    • in the MWSnap window that appears, click File > Save as...

  • capturing a photo with Irfanview
    • open Irfanview
    • click Options > Capture/Screenshot
    • in "Capturea area" select # 5 and click the "Start" button
    • move the coordinate lines around the area you want to capture
    • release the mouse when you finish
    • in the Irfanview window that appears, click File > Save as...


What is a wiki?

Wikipedia, the most famous wiki of our planet, defines a wiki as "a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG [What You See Is What You Get] text editor".

A wiki is basically a website (a set of pages) easily edited by someone with Internet access. It's a very simple way to create a presence online. It can be used at the individual and collaborative levels both for professional and/or personal purposes. As a collaborative website it encourages sharing and co-construction of content. Considering that its main feature is collaboration, an infinite number of people can contribute content as long as the wiki is public and editable by anyone. That's the case of Wikipedia.

A wiki is also participant-centered, be the participants students or teachers, as is our case. Each and every collaborator and contributor has its share of responsibility for the content and co-construction of knowledge and learning. This empowers students in a totally new and innovative way.

Finally, a wiki is a very simple tool to be used by any newbie, because it has an editor very similar to that of Word, the text processor many of us use. It's also a collaborative and interactive tool. Finally, it's a multifaceted tool that allows for different applications such as images, audo and video files, and widgets (small programs that add color and life to a page), to be added. A wiki is a fabulous advantage to the teaching and learning of a foreign language.

Wiki hosts

wikispaces_logo.jpg & pbworks_logo.jpg

The most well-known wiki hosts are Wikispaces (the one we're using) and PBworks.

Features of Wikispaces

If you look at the top of this page, you see four tabs together: Page, Discussion, History and Notify Me. And then the Edit tab to the far right.

Page displays the content. Discussion allows for asking and answering questions or making comments about the content. History gives a list of the different changes made to the page and allows for a specific version to be restored, if a mistake was made and saved. Notify Me lets you receive email notifications of changes made and/or comments left. The Edit tab is where you click when you want to make changes to existing content or add new content.

On the top left you have two very important links: New Page and Manage Wiki. Click on New Page to create a new page, name it, add tags (keywords) if you so wish, and save it. You'll be taken automatically to it and can start working on it at once. Manage Wiki takes you to a page that allows you to control and change different features of your wiki, among them, invite friends in case it isn't a public wiki. I invited Larissa as soon as I started inserting content in this wiki, because it is a "protected" wiki, meaning that only people I invite can see it and make changes in it.

Finally, on the left you have the Navigation bar, which acts like a "Table of Contents" of the wiki.

To get an additional perspective, watch Rachel Boyd's simple and clear presentation, The Wiki Way.

Workshop Activities

Demos of "how to"

  • create a wiki
  • create a new page
  • upload files
  • insert an image
  • create a link
  • edit the navigation bar

ViP: The "Tutorials" page (on the left) has several simple tutorials that I created about most of the "how to" demos above.

Let's get "hands-on"!

It's time for a few volunteers to do some of the features above in this wiki.

Computer lab activities (suggestions)

  • a group creates a wiki at Wikispaces and another group at PBworks (if you face problems, stay with PBworks)
    • read about and explore the features before you start
    • exchange ideas on the differences
    • report back to the group the following morning

  • create a wiki for a class: think of a simple and catchy title for it
    • write a "Welcome" message in the Front Page (it's advisable "not" to delete this title)
    • click "Save" when you finish
    • create a new page: give it a simple name (avoid spaces if more than one word)
    • insert content/text related to your class in each page
    • add an image (it can be in your computer or from the Web; in this case you need the URL)
    • edit the Sidebar with links to the pages you created

  • send me a message with the URL / Web address of your wiki and your name to tmvaz-at-mail-dot-telepac-dot-pt; this way I can see what you're doing and how you progress during the week

Additional resources

Advantages of wikis
  • collaboration: pair or group work on a presentation, project, article
  • learner autonomy: students can work at their own pace and time
  • user-friendly: editors are similar to those of Word
  • any member of the group can edit the pages
  • comments can be permitted
  • history or back up: can always revert to a previous version
  • allow for insertion of links, sound files and video files
  • public or private (no need / need to invite people to see it, respectively)
  • pages are hosted/kept in the wiki server: no need to upload pages or have your server space

  • two people cannot work on same page at the same time
  • need for an Internet connection: work is done online

(Taken from Teresa Almeida d'Eca and Dafne Gonzalez)