Wikipedia & Schools & Digital Literacy

Wikipedia deserves the same place in most modern assignments that Britannica did in most of ours. It was a starting point and a collection of additional references for our research. It gave us the general background we needed to dig further. Wikipedia does the same, with remarkable reliability given the success of the crowdsourcing model. Wikipedia, however, makes most of those primary sources and deeper research possibilities available within just a few clicks. We don’t need to teach our kids not to use Wikipedia. We need to teach them to make those extra few clicks and decide for themselves if the Wikipedia entry has merit. It’s a skill that is broadly applicable in an age of information overload and Google’s billions of search results.

Above from the blog post “Teachers: Please stop prohibiting the use of Wikipedia” on ZDNet.

hands wikipedia aussiegallphoto © 2009 Johann Dréo | more info (via: Wylio)

What is your opinion of Wikipedia?It being the encyclopedia many educators say not to use, yet it is often the first place we go for information. As stated, is it just the modern version of Britannica or World Book? Using Wikipedia can be an excellent starting point to teach about evaluating content and developing critical thinking. It is also an excellent example of the power of crowdsourcing. Does Wikipedia have a place in your classroom?


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