How do you feel about educators recommending students use Wikipedia for school work?
The information found at Wikipedia can be contributed by anyone, and over time the site has come under controversy for several incidences of wrongful "facts" being presented. Yet educators very often recommend students visit Wikipedia for source material. How do you feel about this - is recommending Wikipedia a lazy way to teach, or do the benefits outweigh potential misinformation hazards?
Wikipedia should only be used as background reading for an overview of a topic. References for papers should come from authoritative sites. Librarians can educate about reputable online resources and finding academic articles through online databases. Wikis can be good sources of links to follow, but NOT an authority.
Wikipedia can be a good starting point, but educators should channel their students to check that the references from the Wikipedia article come from a reputable resource. I don't think we should dismiss Wikipedia so swiftly, but rather know how to take advantage of it.
Horrible. In college, you cannot use Wiki. So schools shouldn't be using it either.
I usually go to Wikipedia to get started and tend to check the references, It can not be trust completely.
I think educators should not recommend it but they should emphasise that Wikipedia does offer excellent references and links on its dubious pages. I personally would not want my students to glean facts and other information from the body of text, but I would be keen to direct them to the resources section at the bottom of the same page!
I agree with thief12, I can be a good starting point. If I have something I want to look and I have no clue what it really is, I can start with Wiki just for an idea of what is it, then take if from there looking to reliable sources.
So no I don't think it is a good idea to point kids in that direction for schoolwork. They need to learn to find reliable sources. I suppose looking something up in a library is an outdated concept anymore.
My teachers throughout high school and after all told me never to use Wikipedia. I think that students should always be aware of what sources they use for their work. As long as it isn't their only source of information I don't think it should be too big of a deal but I personally always avoided it as a student to ensure accurate information for projects and/or papers.
There's really no such thing as perfect information. Gold star reviews and super credentials aren't a guarantee of good information, and so no matter what source we use for information, a critical element of that process is how we go about establishing the veracity of the content.
So, just telling kids to go to any source, whether it is scholarly journals or Wikipedia, is always inadequate if they aren't also taught how to determine the credibility of the source and identify things such as bias (which is always present).
Wikipedia actually now has a number of ways of establishing the credibility of content. They have detailed talk pages; fairly extensive guidelines; they are grouped, linked, and graded within larger project categories; they can be locked; they can be recommended for good article status; and they can be flagged for deficient characteristics (and there's probably others).
This doesn't always work. I read a Wikipedia article on adolescent sexuality the other day that seemed like it was written by a nun with a giant ruler. It was embarrassingly awful. But ANY information can be awful. I tend to think we'd be better off worrying less about what sources kids use and more about teaching them skills for assessing information in general (which seems sorely lacking these days).
The other point which could be made is that it is inevitable. Crowd sourced content such as Wikipedia isn't going to go away, while book bound encyclopedias are pretty much extinct. It makes sense to be proactive about using it as a resource. There is a lot of good content on Wikipedia and it is all linked and interactive. That makes for a tremendously valuable resource if used correctly.
I think if I were a teacher I'd have a project where my kids created and edited a Wikipedia page. It could be for their own school, for instance. That would teach them how Wikipedia works, help them understand what goes into that kind of content, and, importantly, help them understand things to look out for in terms of credibility.
There is nothing wrong in students using Wikipedia. But only depending upon it makes it a bad way of learning. While learning students should consider different sources to collect more information of a particular topic.
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