Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wikipedia in the classroom

The net is awash with infographics these days and virtually all of them are very blog friendly - indeed the main aim of most is to be embedded in as many blogs as possible. So here's my contribution for this week to the relentless spread of infographics.

There are plenty of impressive statistics about Wikipedia and many appear below. Despite the success Wikipedia is still far from accepted in the classroom and is generally banned or at least frowned upon. It is undoubtedly the best place to get a quick overall introduction to a subject and often has a long list of external sources to continue your studies. If you want to work on source criticism Wikipedia is a goldmine. No other reference work is so transparent, showing the full history of every article with all revisions and corrections, often revealing conflicting views and interpretations. Reading the controversies behind many Wikipedia articles gives students a feeling for how subjective the "truth" can be and comparing different language versions on the same subject reveals sometimes highly conflicting national interpretations of the sam event.

I often wonder why teachers who are most critical and suspicious of Wikipedia don't try to improve the articles they find so inaccurate. That, after all, is the whole point of the whole work; to be constantly improved and revised. Wikipedia is always going to be a work in progress, a perpetual beta. Just like human knowledge.


No comments:

Post a Comment