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Create user groups and quickly set page security

7 May

Earlier this year we surveyed the top 100 educators on PBworks and asked them how we could make their workspace even better. The number one request was USER GROUPS!  Specifically people wanted to easily add the same group of users to a page or folder and make it easier to set page security.

dianemain:  I currently have my students change their display names to include graduation year and to take out full last names (so, for example, Joe Student graduating this year would become “2010 Joe S.”).

It would be great if I could put them into groups and then be able to add or remove groups of students to/from a folder instead of having to add/remove them all manually at the start and end of the school year.

Well – we listened!  Today we’re pleased to announce that all premium workspaces can create user groups.

Premium workspaces have custom security.  This allows them share pages with specific users, and hide that content from all other users.  Now you can assign page and folder-level access using the groups that you create. Here’s how:

First, place each user in a group.

Next, add the user group to set page-level access.

This feature rounds out our improvements to the user panel – now all premium workspaces can easily add groups of users to pages, and with the recent security improvements, immediately know what your users can see, and edit.

PBworks Presenter Packs are Back!

8 Feb

Do you present about technology and show others how to use a wiki?

For you thousands of presenters, we’ve developed materials that make your job easier – the PBwiki Presenter Pack. This is a free virtual presentation guide that include videos, how-to guides, AND three free premium wikis!

Who can apply for a PBworksPresenter Pack? This program is designed specifically for educators, and instructional technologists.

Already over 3,000 people have applied for and received their free wikis. If you’re presenting at an upcoming conference, apply for your presenter pack today!

Get unlimited wikis and users for your school district with District EditionN

4 Aug

In the beginning, individual teachers bought our Classroom Edition.  Then as word spread, entire schools bought our Campus Edition.  Now, just in time for the 2009-2010 school year, we’ve taken the next logical step and launched our District Edition.

PBworks District Edition gives each K-12 school district that signs up an *unlimited* number of wiki workspaces and users.  Now you can share PBworks with every single student, teacher, administrator, parent, and yes, janitor in your school district.

Already, districts like Baltimore County Public Schools and the Wake County Public School System have signed up…maybe you can convince your district to be next!  Here is our announcement.

Each time, we’ve been surprised by the enthusiasm for our larger Academic packages, but we think District Edition is probably the upper limit for size.  Unless….

Country Edition anyone?

Back To School Blitz: Free Upgrades and Gifts

20 Aug

We’ve just announced two new back to school programs for educators that will let them get free Gold upgrades and other gifts like LEGO sets and up to $1,000 for buying school supplies. Here are the details:

Program for Teachers and Librarians

PBwiki’s Back To School Challenge
( allows up to 100,000 individual
teachers and librarians to sign up and earn a free one-year Gold Upgrade
(regular price $250) by using, blogging about, and referring others to
PBwiki. In addition, top performers in the challenge will receive donations
such as a $1,000 gift certificate from PBwiki for purchasing school
supplies, educational products from LEGO(R) Education (The LEGO Group’s
educational division), autographed books from award-winning science author
Janice Van Cleave, and the bilingual board game GiftTRAP (named “Best Party
Game” by both Games Magazine and Creative Child Magazine). “With sales of
more than two million copies, and translations in fifteen languages, my
books are tools used by educators around the world to expand science
education beyond the textbook,” said Van Cleave, the author of popular
books such as Janice VanCleave’s Teaching the Fun of Science. “By enabling
collaboration, wikis can add binomial expansion to the educational value in
my books.” For a list of these donations, visit the PBwiki web site

Program for School Districts and Educational Organizations

PBwiki’s Partner Program for Education allows school districts and
organizations that standardize on PBwiki to offer free one-year Gold
Upgrades (regular price $250) as an exclusive membership benefit. Already,
organizations such as the Mathematical Association of America, and the
Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers have signed up to offer PBwiki to the
individual educators they serve. “We use PBwiki to help promote our annual
meetings, and as a collaborative tool for a variety of special projects,”
said Michael Pearson, Associate Executive Director of the Mathematical
Association of America. “There is growing interest in the use of wikis and
other interactive, web-based tools for the classroom. Providing a free
trial of PBwiki will allow our members to experiment and learn how to use
wikis to benefit their students.” School districts and organizations
interested in joining the program should visit the Partner Program page

The Back To School Challenge and Partner Program for Education run
through October 31, 2008.

But don’t take our word for how cool this is…here’s what CMSWire had to say:

“These applications and services will allow teachers and students to collaborate in ways that students have never imagined. The uses are virtually unlimited.

Most of us here at CMSWire probably can’t even count the ways we could have utilized such technologies back when we were in school.

The effects of this could inspire students and teachers to familiarize themselves with technology, Web 2.0, and collaboration. This won’t keep students out of the principal’s office for using their cell phone during class, but it is nice to see companies like PBwiki giving back to the educational system. More companies should have similar programs.”

New feature: Classroom accounts for students without email addresses

12 Aug

For the last several months, we’ve been researching and designing a new way to add users to wikis without email addresses — notably, K-8 students.

Today, we’re happy to announce a new feature, Classroom Accounts, which will let you add users without email addresses. In consultation with dozens of educators, we’ve created a system that makes it unbelievably easy to add your students to your 2.0 educational wiki.

First, I’ll show you a video of the feature. Then, we’ll go into detail using a short tour with screenshots.

Video overview of Classroom Accounts (0:43):
Classroom Accounts from PBwikiWebinars on Vimeo.

Now, let’s look closer at each of those screens to see how they work.

In your new PBwiki 2.0 settings panel, you’ll see a small graphic to invite users without email addresses.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #1_1218567260187

Enter in how many students need accounts and what permission level they should be assigned. Note that you should have a printer to complete setting up Classroom Accounts.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #2_1218567359036

Type in your students’ names and we’ll automatically create student-friendly passwords. Don’t have time to enter all your students’ names? Just click “Continue” and we’ll automatically create usernames for you.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #3_1218567137387

That’s it! Now click “Print” to print your usernames and passwords.
Flickr Photo Download- Classroom accounts #4_1218567382694

Here’s a view of the handy PDF so you can hand it to your students. We paid special attention to the design of the PDF to make it easy to cut and distribute. We also email you a copy of your new Classroom Accounts.
Classroom accounts #5

Q: “I’m still on PBwiki 1.0. How do I switch to 2.0?”
A: If you haven’t converted to PBwiki 2.0 yet, please click the “Convert now” flag at the top of your wiki to update for free. If you don’t see it, please sit tight for a short time while we finish polishing a few features for your wiki. We’ll enable you to update to 2.0 as soon as possible.

Q: “I have PBwiki 2.0 but I don’t see this option. Where is it?”
A: This feature is enabled for educational wikis only. If you need to switch categories, please click “Help” at the top-right corner of your wiki and let our support team know. They’ll switch you over right away.

Q: “I have another question about Classroom Accounts.”
A: No problem. To get help, check out the PBwiki manual entry on Classroom Accounts.

Based on testing, we’ve heard some great feedback on this feature. If you’re an educator, give it a shot. And, as always, let us know what you think!

* * *
Note: Attention educators! Are you interested in getting a free Gold Premium wiki (value: $250) for your classroom this year? Sign up to get an early look at the PBwiki Back to School Challenge.

Other feedback? Please let us know!

15 educators respond: "How would you use PBwiki in your classroom?"

24 Aug

Yesterday, we posted feedback from educators called 10 reasons educators love us. Today, we’re posting feedback from superstar educator Kathleen Ferenz’s seminar on PBwiki. She asked the educators in her seminar…

“How would you use PBwiki?”

  • “I can see this as really useful for having students create and share book reviews.”
  • “Would want to redistribute this presentation to our region and the counties we service.”
  • “After fiddling around with wikis for awhile, I plan on implementing them into the curriculum.”
  • “I could use this at work as well as at home.”
  • “Helping teachers create them for their students, Book Reviews”

    There’s more!

  • “Daily in the library media center and in inservices.”
  • “I am definitely going back to start my library wiki tonight. IT’ll be ready to roll out when school starts next Monday.”
  • “After school programs, during library time.”
  • “Will set up a Wiki with the classes which I give orientation to, a poetry Wiki and a picture book Wiki.”
  • “I will definitely use it in all my computerized schools. I look forward to beginning by having 3rd graders share book reports on their pbwiki”

    …and still more ways educators would use PBwiki:

  • “After more thorough exploration of the wikis, I will most likely start having the students use the wiki that I create to post their research work and projects at the end of the semester.”
  • “I will definitely use the wiki with my class this year. I have already begun creating a wiki over the summer and plan to use my class as test bunnies this year.”
  • “I can use PBwiki as a resource which parents can access and also develop curriculum that I can use in the classroom with students.”
  • “After using the wiki wiki website for a couple of months I would like to use it with my students as another teaching method.”
  • “I would use the Wiki web pages to create pages for students to post their work right away and to do grades at home.”
  • 10 reasons educators love us

    23 Aug

    Our friend and top educator Kathleen Ferenz sends us a report from a workshop she recently lead on PBwiki:

    “Here are some winning quotes from this week’s workshop evaluations,” she writes:

    • “I love the ability of the wikis to easily create webpages for students and classroom use. The students can easily add information and student work for all to see through the use of the wiki.”
    • “Learned about the power and usefulness of Wiki.”
    • “Useful tools for sharing information with students, parents and other teachers.”
    • “The introduction to wikis and google docs.”
    • “PBwiki and Google resources are very useful skills that I aquired during this workshop!”
    • “Good ideas to use in my classroom and in my professtion life.”
    • “I can see the benefit of using wiki wiki with students and pass on the skills to fellow teachers at school.”
    • “Wiki web pages for collaboration for teachers and students.”
    • “Using Wiki is a fantastic opportunity for collaboration!”
    • “Vast potential, fun, practical. Will immediately implement at my school.”
    • “Setting up a pb wiki is invaluable.”

    Coming up tomorrow: An answer to the question, “How would you use PBwiki in education?”

    Want some free materials to spread the word about PBwiki?

    12 Jun

    We have some free PBwiki materials I want to share with you.

    Lots of our users give talks about wikis. Some are teachers, like the 1,000+ who responded to an email I sent out a few months ago asking if they plan to present about wikis. (They presented in places like Maine, Malaysia, and Texas — see pictures.) Others are just casual users who want to show their friends what a wiki is. Sometimes, employees in big companies want to communicate the idea of a wiki to their boss.

    For everyone, we’ve developed the PBwiki Presenter Packs, which include videos, how-to guides, and more. Until now, you had to sign up to get them (and if you want a free PBwiki t-shirt, you should still sign up).

    But now you can download the PBwiki Presenter Pack materials and use them for free right here. Enjoy!


    One of our most creative PBwiki Presenters!

    15 May

    Cindy Lane, an instructional technologist, recently presented at an educational event about PBwiki using our Presenter Packs. Her giveaway was one of the most creative we’ve seen!

    Yesterday was my pbwiki event…Half of my teachers had actually gone on and logged in and had contributed to the wiki, so I pulled them up front, gave them each TWO packages of 100 calorie peanut butter cookies and told them to find a teacher that had NOT logged on and teach them how, (and give them a package of cookies).

    The big prize (peanut butter stuffed pretzels) went to the first person who had logged on, the Project Peanut Butter rubber bracelet went to the last person that logged on…and the three gold wiki keys (coming my way soon I hope!) went to the first two teachers that emailed me (both did this within the following 2 minutes).

    Thanks for taking care of my teachers…as you can see, I love ’em too!! and P B W I K I !!!

    Cindy even included a video for her educators:

    To get your own PBwiki Presenter Pack (including a free t-shirt, white papers to give to your audience, and 3 free Gold wikis to give away–click here.

    Can't access YouTube?

    3 Apr

    Are you trying to view our PBwiki videos but your work or school is blocking YouTube?

    Don’t worry, we’ve uploaded all of the PBwiki videos to TeacherTube. TeacherTube is a great video site that doesn’t appear to be blocked by most employers and educational institutions. It’s completely safe for work and has other helpful videos and tutorials for both educators and students.

    Take a look at the PBwiki videos on TeacherTube.

    Here’s a PBwiki video uploaded on TeacherTube that has educators covering their favorite features on PBwiki.