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Well, the fun just keeps coming! Really, I mean that sincerely. I do hope that this particular thread also stays reasonably close to cordial. EDTECH is over 20 years old. During its first 10 years, the potential for flame wars were mostly over the "Mac Vs. PC" debates, with the next 5 over Wikipedia. I strongly encourage all others who are tempted to join this thread to search the EDTECH archives...lots of good stuff there. I'm neither a defender nor a detractor, but Maggi's reference to the world of Web 2.0 is in the ballpark -- "social networking" as a model for online knowledge construction is now pretty ubiquitous, and Wikipedia is probably the most visible manifestation of that. It is also, as Maggi mentions, a gold mine for teaching critical thinking and online resource evaluation. That is exactly the focus of a chapter in one of my online PD course designs. I ask folks to find and evaluate a Wikipedia page for accuracy and documentation in an area in which they have specific knowledge, and the exercise is usually quite eye-opening for folks on both sides of the "Is Wikipedia useful?" debate. Blocking it is, to me, just silly. At its worse it's a harmless artifact of 21st century culture, a plaform where we can examine what happens (rightly or wrongly) when mass consensus and credential'ed experts collide. Of course, as a true exercise in knowledge construction, selecting a Wikipedia page to research and rewrite is pretty much a perfect classroom exercise. That's my 2 bits... Jeff Jeffrey L. Jones, District Technology Resource Teacher Coordinator, Virtual Classrooms and Communications, Fayette County Schools Fayette's iSchool - http://ischool.fcps.net/ The Point, a Fayette County Blogspot - https://edtech.fcps.net/blog/ 701 East Main Street Lexington, KY 40502 (859)381-4124 firstname.lastname@example.org "You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space, that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young." "Why, what did she tell you?" "I don't know, I didn't listen." - Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy > From: Maggi Idzikowski <email@example.com> > >> c. Many teachers want access to Wikipedia and other similar >> sites. We block these because: >> <snip> >> ii. The site is non-authoritative. I understand the >> underlying premise of Wikipedia. However, the social negotiation (which >> is what Wikipedia is) of information as part of the constructivist >> paradigm of learning, should not exist online, rather it should be the >> mind of the student. > > What an interesting statement. The fact is, it does exist online, and is, > indeed, what students will come across when encountering of Web 2.0 > resources. How does a teacher or librarian teach middle and high school > students how to evaluate with such resources if students never come across > them? It seems akin to asking students to understand and appreciate the > ramifications of racism without ever seeing it in action in literature or > primary sources. > > Can you respond to Wikipedia's claims of accuracy? > (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia) Although the policies of the > Wikipedia strongly espouse verifiability and a neutral point of view, > critics of Wikipedia accuse it of systemic bias and inconsistencies > (including undue weight given to popular culture), and allege that it > favors consensus over credentials in its editorial process. Its > reliability and accuracy are also targeted.Other criticisms center on > its susceptibility to vandalism and the addition of spurious or unverified > information, though scholarly work suggests that vandalism is > generally short-lived, and an investigation in Nature found that > the material they compared came close to the level of accuracy of > Encyclopędia Britannica and had a similar rate of "serious errors". > > Lastly, and more importantly for my elementary students, can you find any > other reasonably authoritative sources for students to cite when writing > feature articles on Pokemon, Hannah Montana or other pop culture icons? > Their only other sources are web pages -- and I would prefer Wikipedia > over a fan web page. > > I put these questions to you in a spirit of friendly discourse and look > forward to your response. > > -Maggi Idzikowski > Media Specialist > Allen Elementary School, Ann Arbor MI > firstname.lastname@example.org > Blogging with my 3-year-old at http://mamalibrarian.blogspot.com/ > > --- Edtech Archives, posting guidelines and other information are at: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~edweb Please include your name, email address, and school or professional affiliation in each posting. To unsubscribe send the following command to: LISTSERV@H-NET.MSU.EDU SIGNOFF EDTECH