PargoNet

Reflections on Instructional Technology and Media

Owning Wikipedia November 1, 2007

MSNBC.com has an intriguing article today on a college professor’s use of Wikipedia in her classes. In short, rather than having her students write a final paper for her class, they either have to write an original Wikipedia article or do major revisions to an existing one.  Wow!  This would be a great assignment for any K-12 classroom as well. Dr. Groom notes the quality of the work her students are doing in Wikipedia exceeds what they were doing on traditional papers.  Below are my thoughts on why this is such a wonderful idea:

1. Authentic audience = increased engagement = higher quality work

2. Student work now benefits all of the humanity rather than just enriching the knowledge of the teacher

3. Students learn to how to view information critically so that they can both create their own credible work and improve on what is already out there

What else can you add?

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4 Responses to “Owning Wikipedia”

  1. David Klionsky Says:

    Wikipedia has some very specific and stringent rules for submission…are we sure that ANY K-12 class would be able to create a satisfactory Wikipedia entry. It seems like a daunting task for elementary level students. There are other sites like wikiforkids.com that might be a better forum for younger students.

  2. Sherri Martin Says:

    We have many high school students who could create satisfactory Wikipedia entires. Even if they could not create an entry, I would hope that part of their learning would include how to evaluate the quality of what is already there and improve upon it.

  3. David Gerard Says:

    We’ve been discussing this on the WikiEN-L mailing list. Basically, there are many articles waiting to be written. Wikipedia is *nothing like* finished. Most subject areas have a WikiProject with a long list of red links waiting to have articles written, and there’s the missing articles WikiProject. Most of the stuff there could be written up quite well by one person with references to hand. Just the thing to throw a high-school or college student at.

  4. tweeks Says:

    David K- I think with a teacher’s help, yes any K-12 class could contribute.

    David G – thanks for the link!


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