Using Wakelet for Collaborative Research Projects

collaborative research projects

Wakelet can be used in numerous ways, but did you know it is the perfect tool for a collaborative research project? And not just for upper elementary students but younger grades as well. There are three key benefits in using Wakelet this way.

  1. Students do not need an account to use Wakelet. You do not have to set up usernames and passwords or make sure students know how to log-in. All you do is share the link with your students. They will be able to view all your links and documents as well as add their own.
  2. You can easily have your students complete their research projects whether they are in school, virtual, hybrid or any other combination you can think of. All students need is access to an internet connected device. They can still work collaboratively together.
  3. Everything your students need to complete their research project can be stored directly into your Wakelet collection. Your Wakelet can include the websites you want students to use for their research, videos and the research templates students need to fill out. Wakelet integrates with Google Drive and Google Classroom which makes it easy to attach documents and slideshows. You can also add a PDF document if you do not use Google apps.

Here is a sample Wakelet I created for second grade zoo animals. I based this off of my Zoo Animals Research Project. This collection is about giraffes. I would send this link only to the students researching giraffes. The Wakelet includes a Google slides file for the students to fill out and the links I want them to visit. 

Setting Up Wakelet

Students will first download a copy of the note-taking slides to their Google Drive. In order for students to each have their own copy to edit, you must share the slides as a link. Do not upload directly from your Drive. When you add the link, make sure it is a force copy link. Otherwise every student will edit the same copy. 

Next, I provide two websites and a video for students to use for their research. They will type their facts into the note-taking pages. 

Last, I provide a link to download the research templates (force copy link again). Students will then complete the research project with the facts they learned. The YouTube video plays through Wakelet (not on YouTube) so it is safe for students to watch. There are no ads or pop-ups. Awesome feature!

If I was using this with students, I would create a wakelet for each of the different animals they are researching (elephants, penguins, lions etc). When you are ready for students to view the Wakelet, click on the share button. You can choose to share the link through a QR code, a URL address, share through Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom. If you use Google Classroom you will be able to make this Wakelet an assignment and only assign it to the students who are doing the assignment.

You can also export the Wakelet as a PDF or embed it into a web page. When you share the Wakelt this way, students will not be able to comment on the Wakelet or add their own links or documents. If students have an internet enabled device but no Google account, share the link and have them fill out a paper research report.

Looking to do a collaborative research project? 

You can share the link in a way that allows students to interact with the Wakelet. Instead of using the share button, click invite. This will give you a link to invite collaborators. Here is the link to the same Wakelet but shared with the invite feature.

Share this link with students the same way. Now, when a student clicks on the link they will be asked to enter their name. Once they do, they will be able to add their own wakelet elements. First they will see a message that instructs them to click on the green edit collection button. 

They can add comments, website links or videos. They can also upload documents from their drive if it’s connected. You can also ask a question on your Wakelet and students can respond to it. For example, on the giraffe Wakelet I asked the question, how do giraffes sleep? A student will be able to respond to this question with his or her answer. If you look at the Wakelet you can see that “Trevor” responded with “standing up”. Students can also add their own questions to the Wakelet for you to answer or for another student. They can also create a Wakelet collection inside of your Wakelet. 

This is where the collaborative part comes in. If you are assigning a group project, you can create one Wakelet for each of your groups. Each group member can add their own websites, videos, Google documents or images related to the project. They can ask each other questions and respond to each other. If two members of the group are in school and two are at home, they can still work on the Wakelet together to complete the assignment. And you can monitor what they are doing the whole time. And remember, students do not need to have an account or remember usernames and passwords. Just make sure you have the Wakelet settings set to “anyone with access to the shareable link or code can join”. This keeps the Wakelet private. You can also go into the Wakelet and manage the contributors.

A collaborative project like this does require a lot of work on your part. So I know you would not want to do it with multiple classes. You could end up with 30 or 40 collections for just one one project. Almost every school year I have at least two or three classes that I know would embrace a project like this and be successful with it. 

Note: I would probably only use the more advanced collaborative features with older students or ones who have more technology experience. For second graders completing a simple animal research project, I probably wouldn’t have them answer questions, respond to other students and add their own websites and documents. 

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