10 Replies Latest reply on Apr 26, 2010 9:16 AM by coxd

    On Wikipedia (again)

      Alan November impressed me so much in his discussion of the value of Wikipedia in research in a presentation I saw that I have tried to pay attention to what others have said many times since. I am not quite as enthusiastic about as some are however: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00. On the other hand, I like it about a much as any other encyclopedia although it is often a lot handier to access.

       

      I recently came across an article which kind of puts Wikipedia's value AND limitations and thought I would share this here: http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/education/2010/march/The-Top-10-Reasons-Students-Cannot-Cite-or-Rely-on-Wikipedia.html

       

      What do you recommend or suggest for the use of Wikipedia to the teachers with whom you collaborate?

        • Re: On Wikipedia (again)

          David, I, like you, am not a big fan of Wikipedia, but Vanessa Jones just turned on a light bulb for me.  In upcoming trainings where website evaluation is on the agenda, I will be using the Intel Quality of Evidence rubric and other materials from Intel to have the teachers determine the validity of the information found on Wikipedia.

           

          Neil

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            • Re: On Wikipedia (again)

              Hi Neal:

              Coming from a 25 year secondary/university English teacher's perspective, Wikipedia is on the same level to me as any encyclopedia. It is incerdibly helpful to find a thesis, gather resources, and read background and critical materials (which of course must be documented, MLA style ). I HAVE to say though that I find myself using it more and more for all sorts of tasks when I am online. I now even recommend it to ELA and other teachers for quick information, direction, and biliographical help.

              Again, like any encyclopedia, I will now accept a Wikipedia article as a single resource for a paper as long as its source is well documented but with a cautionary mini-lesson during the basic instructions for research.

              I've never found an error in Wikipedia, but I have seen some whole sale plagiarism in the forms of summary without specific documentation distinguishing between what was borrowed and what was original. That is where the real danger lies: thoughtless copy without understanding or documentation. 

              • Re: On Wikipedia (again)

                Intel and other sites do have rubrics for judging the quality of a web resource, which I find invaluable to students AND to teachers who actually teach real documentation and actually check and grade resources.

              • Re: On Wikipedia (again)
                Bonnie Feather

                Thanks for posting these links, David!  I am going to share them with some others.  This truly is an ongoing conversation.  I like Wikipedia.  I think most topics students regularly look up are pretty accurately portrayed.  Also, it is a perfect place to have students think about the source of information and their possible (likely) biases.

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                  • Re: On Wikipedia (again)

                    Hi Bonnie:

                     

                    Wikipedia certainly has eveloved since its inception online. I trust it about like I do any encyclopedia with the caveat of "Let the researcher beware" since I have noted some probably unintentional plagiarism. I do recommend it though as I say in my reply to Neal. In short, I like it for what it is worth from a professional scholar's point of view.

                  • Re: On Wikipedia (again)
                    fbobo

                    Hello David,

                    I like the use of Wikipedia as a source for information. It is always very easy to access and many of the articles are up to the minute. Because most research requires at least 3 sources, the students should be responsible while comparing information. Students have to buy into getting the best information possible. Students have to take responsibility for their sources. Many educators frown on using Wikipedia as a source because of error they may have found, but I dare say to those educators - Do we throw away textbooks that contain errors?"

                     

                    Frank Bobo

                      • Re: On Wikipedia (again)

                        Frank, first of all, welcome to the community.  It's always good to see a fresh face with even more ideas!  Now, to the question at hand.  As I have stated before, I have a problem with Wikipedia for all of the reasons that have been mentioned.  I will admit that if I need a quick "reminder" about what something is, I will, on occasion, go to Wikipedia. My problem with students using the site is that many have never been taught how to go over material on the web and determine if it is good or not.  I have actually started using the Intel Quality of Evidence rubric in many of my trainings.  I have found that many teachers do not have the tools to critically examine the sites they use in their classrooms.  Finally, because students, and many adults, simply find the fastest and most recognizable name they can find, they use Wikipedia without really knowing if the information is current or correct.  Do we throw away Wikipedia, of course not, but we need to aware of the problems that are associated with its use.  That, in a nutshell, is my humble opinion.

                         

                        What methods or materials do you use as you examine websites?  I am always looking for better ways to evaluate them.  Thanks for sharing.

                         

                        Neil

                        • errors in textbooks
                          Bonnie Feather

                          What a wonderful way to respond to the Wikipedia question!  I will be using that, Frank, and I will quote you!

                           

                          Welcome to the community!  After this gem, I'll be watching for your comments in other discussions!

                          • Re: On Wikipedia (again)
                            glen_w

                            I appreciate Frank reminding us that we don't throw away textbooks that contain errors. While Wikipedia can and does have errors, these errors are often changed in a much more timely manner than errors in printed Encyclopedias and/or textbooks. I know I probably would not have a single science textbook in my classroom if I did that . I generally suggest my teachers consider not eliminate Wikipedia as a source for student work. Like Frank, I remind teachers and students that three sources should be used for papers. I allow Wikipedia to be ONE of these sources - and expect to see at least two additional sources (that are not wikis.)

                             

                            Imaging a textbook that has a high level of student interest and contains accurate information. What would it take to create online interactive Wiki textbooks for our classes?

                            • Re: On Wikipedia (again)

                              Thanks for the reply, Frank.

                               

                              I have to say that I know no one who has found factual errors, but I have heard of such things. I hear more about plagiarism in articles, which Wikipedia removes as they know about them. I would allow Wikipedia's use but only as background like any encyclopedia as it is really good at that now.