Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Why educators should trust Wikipedia

I’m a huge advocate of using Wikipedia. I know a lot of educators that cringe at the thought of students using Wikipedia as a source of information. For whatever reason there’s little trust in the accuracy of the information. I’ve addressed some of those concerns on my blog at In Defense of Wikipedia.

Recently, Jeff Utecht, an educator/consultant/author that I follow on Twitter, posted on his blog about Wikipedia.

[As educators] if we don’t understand how to use something in education our first reaction is to not use it and to tell students not to use it. To be fair nobody has ever taught us how to use this resource...We don’t understand how Twitter works so block it. We don’t understand how to create learning communities on Google+ or Facebook so block it. Instagram? It’s just pictures!... I love asking groups of teachers how many of them have read and trusted what they read on a Wikipedia article. Almost every hand goes up. So….what you’re telling me is we use it in our daily lives but when it comes to using it with students we should tell them………don’t trust it? There’s a disconnect here that we need to face…..we need to stop teaching that Wikipedia is a bad resource and start accepting it and understanding it.

He then outlines 3 features of Wikipedia that can help teachers feel more comfortable trusting Wikipedia as a source of information. You can read his blog post at Understanding Wikipedia in 3 Clicks.

Thanks, Jeff, for providing even more reasons to trust students to use Wikipedia!

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