42% of all Americans turn to Wikipedia for information online, according to a recent study by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project.
“Education level continues to be the strongest predictor of Wikipedia use. The collaborative encyclopedia is most popular among internet users with at least a college degree, 69% of whom use the site.”
Wikipedia, Past and Present study from Pew Internet: http://pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2011/PIP_Wikipedia.pdf
But what about using Wikipedia in the classroom?
1. Have student build articles or edit existing articles. Wikipedia is strict and will remove anything that violates copyright, isn’t properly cited, or is considered controversial. Wikipedia identifies high quality articles as “Good Article” or “Featured Article.” Something for the students to strive for!
· Here is an link to an article on how to write an article for Wikipedia: “Making pages on Wikipedia – the ups; the downs; the rules; and how to do it.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Starting_an_article.
· The following link takes you to a syllabus template for instructors using Wikipedia in the classroom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:School_and_university_projects/Piotrus_educational_boilerplate
2. Host a course on Wikiversity (http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page). Wikiversity provides learning resources for all age groups and all subject areas. Faculty can host courses and, because it is a wiki, students can be given editing access to add their own material.
[John Orlando, Faculty Focus online newsletter: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/wikipedia-in-the-classroom-tips-for-effective-use/. ]
In New York Times article “Wikipedia: Friend, Not Foe,” Crovitz and Smoot conclude that Wikipedia can demonstrate to students the process, importance, and excitement of real scholarship. It can also show them that knowledge isn’t settled, as there are always more questions to ask and differing perspectives. Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/archival/EnglishJournalArticle2.pdf.
In an EDUCAUSE webinar in January entitled “Wikipedia in the Classroom: Changing the Way Teachers and Students Use Wikipedia,” Yonatan Moskowitz of Georgetown University concluded that it’s worth it to use Wikipedia in the classroom. Students get excited about it when their research is used to improve an information resource that they and their peers use daily.