Rethinking Wikipedia

I throughly enjoyed going through the Wikipedia instructor training. I teach at the high school and graduate levels and after this training I am rethinking the ways that Wikipedia could have a place in my classrooms.

Because I’m teaching in two spaces I constantly am balancing graduate school world and high school world in my head, so I am left with questions that speak to both of those spaces.

We still teach our high schoolers that they “can’t use Wikipedia”. This has evolved from asking them to never use it, to recognizing that of course they use it, but they should use it only as a jumping point and never cite it. After finishing this training and thinking about the pillars of Wikipedia I wonder how this high school policy (and my school certainly isn’t unique here – anti Wikipedia¬†is the standard) impacts how our students think about acquiring knowledge from Wikipedia, and how they think about what is “true”.

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1 thought on “Rethinking Wikipedia

  1. Thinking about using Wikipedia as a jumping off point for research makes me want to mention the way that I use it. Because the articles vary widely in quality, the main content of the page may not have even the most basic information one is looking for. However, the links to sources at the bottom of the page are frequently useful. I find that using a citation chain methodology, these links are often quicker than a Google search if one is starting in a brand new area of research. So, the main content for me is often just an addendum to the really useful stuff in the sources.

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