Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wikipedia – True or false?

Wikipedia is a free, web-based and collaborative multilingual encyclopedia project. Wikipedia's 13 million articles (3 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone who can access the Wikipedia website. It is currently the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet.” (Wikipedia, 2009)

This kind of knowledge sharing isn't new to education. It's what all of us skilled educators are all about -- it's the format that has shaken up a few classrooms.

According to the Wikipedia FAQ (2009) "Articles may or may not be reliable and readers should always use their own judgment. Students should never use information in Wikipedia (or any other online encyclopedia) for formal purposes (such as school essays) until they have verified and evaluated the information based on external sources. For this reason, Wikipedia, like any encyclopedia, is a great starting place for research but not always a great ending place.”

However, it is a new method for getting information, compared to textbooks and dictionaries, the digital natives are all over this. As a learning manager we should make our students aware of the things to be careful of and let ‘em at it! An idea is to look with the class about their town, city or region and check if the information is right or if any is missing. Then they could work together to create a posting. How exciting for the students to have shared knowledge with the world about their own town.

As a thought maybe to have students create their own Wikipedia word wall via a class wiki. After introducing Wikipedia to them, have students collaboratively write their own encyclopedia according to the unit of work they are studying.

For today’s digital natives, Wikipedia is another tool we can use to present our curricula that engages them (Prensky, 2005). I definitely agree to get rid of those giant dusty encyclopedias and get the students online.

Til next time,



Prensky, M. (2005, September/October). Engage Me or Enrage Me. Retrieved 19th, August, 2009, from:

Wikipedia. (2009). Wikipedia. Retrieved August 19th, 2009, from:

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