Saturday, July 30, 2011
The Wikipedia debate
It is very interesting that the debate surrounding Wikipedia in educational circles is such a hot one. As the Colbert Report "reporting" on the concept of Wikiality. This is the next edition.
So the information on-line is fragile and susceptible to manipulation but is getting rid of WIkipedia the answer when it is the "go to" source for so many of our students? Peter Macinnis has made an interesting contribution to the debate and his answer to the calls from many to "get rid of Wikipedia" in which he says
" I think the answer has more to do with training people to accept that all sources can be wrong, faulty or biased, and need checking. Further, these large-scale information systems need a straightforward mechanism to allow moderators to be alerted to blunders. And there needs to be some way of ensuring that corrections flow to downstream sites. "Peter Macinnis from http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ss/stories/s1613571.htm
Students are often going to use Google and Wikipedia as their first port of call - the starting point on their information searches. As teacher librarians it is imperative that we equip our students with the skills to use these sites in the most powerful and effective ways. Which includes skilling them with the ability to CRITICALLY evaluate the content of so many websites - including Wikipedia. Wikipedia can be powerful in giving students an extended vocabulary to take with them on further searches. The lower part of entries have links to many other sources - often other websites.
So whilst students will click away to their hearts content - and if the information in front of them doesn't grab them within 10 to 15 seconds they have moved on, as teacher librarians we needs to give them the critical lenses to view all the online information they encounter so they can utilise the BEST ones for the purposes.