“Wikipedia: Friend, Not Foe” Response
Okay, so I know I have been slacking in posting my responses. I know I said a little bit about Wikipedia already on my main blog page, but I have been pondering even more over what I have read and what we discussed in class.
This is something I originally posted about the reading on my original blog…
“After reading Dr. Crovitz’s article, “Wikipedia: Friend, not Foe,” I contacted my media center specialist, the amazing and irreplaceable Buffy Hamilton, because she also believes in these concepts of using Wikipedia not necessarily as a resource, but as a”springboard” to help students become better readers, evaluators, editors, and writers of encyclopedia texts. She then shared this link with me to one of her friend’s blogs, Char Booth’s, in which Ms. Booth also delves into this research. I thought it worth sharing with everyone.”
I used to think that Wikipedia was going to be the end of students actually doing in-depth research. Mainly, I thought this because anyone could log onto Wikipedia and add and edit information. However, after reading, research, and discussions, it is obvious that this is not true. There is actually a process to be able to do those things, and other Wikipediaers will quickly go on and change and fix any incorrect information. I guess I never realized that people stalked Wikipedia like people stalk Facebook…
Over the last few years, with the help of Buffy Hamilton, my school’s Media Center Specialist, I have been incorporating the use of Wikipedia into the classroom. At first, we would help the students evaluate the source from Wikipedia, where we would actually evaluate it for them and tag the page for them on a Research guide. However, this last year, we actually showed the students where to view the history of the page and the changes and edits made to the page. We also went through steps with them on how to view those posts and comments to verify if the information was correct. We then enforced for them to find another source which matched that information in order to help them verify the validity of the Wikipedia page/source. These types of activities are useful for students because they had no idea that these pages on Wikipedia existed. It also helps students to understand that anything put on the internet never actually goes away completely. The changes, edits, deletes are tracked… This helps them understand that they need to be careful about what they put on the internet.
Wikipedia is extremely useful when used correctly. It does have cons, but I feel at this point that the pros outweigh the cons. Many teachers think that Wikipedia should not be used period because it deters students from using other references, but as the article states Wikipedia should be used as a platform for research. For example, “teachers might begin by using the site as an entry point into deeper and more creative research than typical assignments require.” Students can use Wikipedia to get basic general information about a topic or subject they know absolutely nothing about. Then, using that information from Wikipedia they can use those sub-topics to help navigate them through their research. I believe the various assignments the article suggests will only help challenge students more because by using some of these assignments, students will have to evaluate and analyze the source to determine whether or not the information is valid. My students over the last couple of years have not been able to do evaluation of sources successfully. However, I hope to incorporate some of this into my classroom to help make more of a challenging environment for my students. These research tools will be useful to them no matter what they decide to do after high school.