The educational merits of Wikipedia

Wikipedia seems to have created very polar views within education – there are many who think it should be discouraged at all costs, as it undermines the whole educational system based around scholarly activity and reading of books, and then there are the others that recognise in certain areas it is far more accurate than written texts due to the speed with which it is updated.

It is coincidental that I was having this conversation with a sport science lecturer earlier this week, and I used my favourite sport of cricket as an example – showing how information was being updated even based on the current test between New Zealand and England, and then in the early hours of this morning, Ryan Sidebottom takes a hat-trick, and within a few hours Wikipedia has added this to the list.

Although I respect the views of the traditionalists who are anti Wikipedia, I am all for it, and whichever side of the fence we sit ourselves on, learners will be using this resource, and it is our role as educators to help them analyse and interpret information rather than the emphasis being placed on just finding it.

One Response

  1. I use to knock Wikipedia ALL the time, which after a while was rather silly as I use to use it on an almost daily basis as a first port of call when trying to find something out.

    So now I don’t knock Wikipedia, I just use it.

    There are valid concerns in the academic community over relying on articles from Wikipedia, and therefore I advise any lecturer or learner using such sources to also consult and confirm sources, say using an online published reference in addition such as Britannica Online or a book.

    Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia) has also recommended this approach (in a podcast interview).

    What I have written about Wikipedia.

    I do agree the immediacy for some subjects makes Wikipedia ideal for some purposes.



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