Wikipedia~Reliable Source or Evil Scourge??

How do you feel about wikis? Do you use them in the classroom? Do we even really understand the power of the wiki?What are your perceptions of WikiPedia?
Many people falsely perceive that:
WikiPedia is usually factually inaccurate.
WikiPedia is authored by a bunch of largely ignorant people who each contribute a little bit to build an encyclopedia.
WikiPedia has limited value as an information resource for serious academic learners.
CONSIDER THIS  video about wikis that might give you food for thought. VISION!!!!
Also take a look at this blog by Wesley Fryer regarding Wikis in the Classroom. We can’t really respond if we don’t understand. (I am still trying to understand!!)

2 thoughts on “Wikipedia~Reliable Source or Evil Scourge??

  1. I think wikis themselves can be powerful collaborative tools….but the use of a generic wiki such as PB Wiki and the question of “Is Wikipedia a reliable information source?” are two very different issues.

    However….I do not feel Wikipedia should be promoted as a reliable or authoritative source of information. There are not enough safeguards in place to prevent erroneous information slipping through; in addition, there is no formal peer review in place by a board of editors or scholars in field to ensure academic integrity when it comes to the information on this source.

    I think most high school librarians in our district would agree with me when I say that when you weight this source against other quality and authoritative soruces of information, Wikipedia simply does not pass the mustard. In addition, more colleges are passing more formal policies in which they do not accept Wikipedia as an acceptable source of information (see http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/21/education/21wikipedia.html?ex=1329714000&en=156f770bd93c4fa0&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss). I think we do our students a disservice as to what college professors expect students to know in terms of using reliable and quality sources of information if we give them a “pass” on Wikipedia. To me, Wikipedia is the lazy researcher’s crutch. Students need to know that books and research databases should be their first place to go to when they are looking for quality information. There is a reason databases cost money—they have quality controls in place and truly have scholarly, thoughtful, and in-depth articles.

    I searched Academic Search Premier in GALILEO, and I found three articles right off the bat from March 2007 that questioned the credibility of Wikipedia. One thoughtful one can be found free at http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0309/p08s02-comv.html . This article poses the question as to what does qualify as quality information and the importance of truth.

    I think that Web 2.0 resources offer many exciting learning possibilities; however, just because something is new and cutting edge does not always mean it is a good educational tool, or at least, not in its infancy stages. Right now, Wikipedia really has not demonstrated a commitment to having scholarly contributors and a solid peer review process in place to ensure objectiveness, accuracy, and authority to its entries.

    That is my two cents’ worth! 🙂

  2. My opinion of using Wikipedia is gradually changing. For a long time I blocked Wikipedia in my Media Center, but I stopped that a few months ago. I do not feel it is reliable enough to cite in a research paper, but I do think it has merit for students who know nothing about the research subject and need someplace to begin for a quick overview. If we allow students to access it for an overview, what is to stop them from citing it? That’s my dilemma at the present time. Many of my teachers don’t require citations and the ones that do, don’t look at them carefully. That is something I hope to help change next year.
    Buffy’s point is well taken and I agree with all her points, I just don’t think it’s the “Evil Scourge”. Also, I’m coming from a Middle School perspective and she’s from high school trying to prepare students for college.
    Now, I’ve put my two cents in, too! 🙂

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