Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles. Every day, hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world collectively make tens of thousands of edits and create thousands of new articles to augment the knowledge held by the Wikipedia. One of the best ways for students to understand how knowledge is created and negotiated.
PBworks hosts an easy to use wiki for collaborative learning projects. The Basic Edition is free for academic use by up to 100 students, teachers or parents. Key Features include: multimedia plugins (embed video & audio), built-in student accountability, access control, and password protection.
Wikispaces is a hosted wiki tool that has special prices for education but also has free accounts that include unlimited numbers of users, pages and a max of 2GB of storage.
The Tree of Life Web Project is a collection of information about biodiversity compiled collaboratively by hundreds of expert and amateur contributors. Its goal is to contain a page with pictures, text, and other information for every species and for each group of organisms, living or extinct. Connections between Tree of Life web pages follow phylogenetic branching patterns between groups of organisms, so visitors can browse the hierarchy of life and learn about phylogeny and evolution as well as the characteristics of individual groups.
Foldit is a protein structure prediction game. Knowing the structure of a protein is key to understanding how it works and to targeting it with drugs. The number of different ways even a small protein can fold is astronomical because there are so many degrees of freedom. Figuring out which of the many, many possible structures is the best one is regarded as one of the hardest problems in biology today. Foldit attempts to predict the structure of a protein by taking advantage of humans’ puzzle-solving intuitions and having people play competitively to fold the best proteins.