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Re: [WWWEDU] Blog: Turning Wikipedia into an Asset for Schools

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  • David Warlick
    Dang, Andy! I m trying to get back to work, and you give me something cool to think about and respond to. Excellent job with the essay. I m pointing people
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 12 4:24 AM
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      Dang, Andy! I'm trying to get back to work, and you give me something
      cool to think about and respond to. Excellent job with the essay. I'm
      pointing people to it.

      It all comes down to a logical, yet giant shift in how we deal with
      information in the classroom. Teacher's object (sometimes vehemently)
      to the use of WikipediA in the classroom because they are asking the
      questions, "who wrote this?" "who published this?". The shift is that
      we need to be teaching our students to ask those questions. This is
      what makes WikipediA so valuable, as you so effectively describe.
      Students are moving from a point of *assuming* the authority of the
      work (as we were taught) to *proving* the authority.

      Thanks Andy!

      -- dave --

      David F. Warlick
      The Landmark Project
      919-414-1845
      For Teachers: http://landmark-project.com/
      For Clients & the Curious: http://davidwarlick.com/
      Blog • http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/
      Podcast • http://davidwarlick.com/connectlearning/


      (cc) 2005 by David Warlick • Some Rights Reserved •
      http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/



      On Jul 12, 2005, at 7:00 AM, Andy Carvin wrote:

      > Here's a short essay I posted on my blog last night that I thought
      > might be of interest... -andy
      >
      > Turning Wikipedia into an Asset for Schools
      > http://www.andycarvin.com/archives/2005/07/turning_wikiped.html
      >
      > Art Wolinsky and I went to dinner tonight just outside of Atlantic
      > City, where I'll be leading a two-day workshop on documentary making
      > for a group of elementary school teachers. During dinner, Art and I
      > talked about what I'll be presenting tomorrow morning, as well as fun
      > Internet topics such as video blogging, podcasting and Wikipedia.
      >
      > On Wikipedia in particular, we talked about the hostility that many
      > educators have towards the website, particularly their concerns that
      > it can't be considered a reliable source. It's the classic dilemma of
      > a wiki website - because wikis allow any site visitor to edit or add
      > content, you raise the risk of getting content that isn't up to snuff.
      > And the fact that young and old alike often go to Wikipedia and see
      > that its name ends in -pedia, they assume it's just like any other
      > encyclopedia and they should take its content as vetted, accurate
      > information, which ain't always the case.
      >
      > I explained to Art the community of Wikipedia volunteers known as
      > Wikipedians who have created a system of checks and balances to
      > improve the quality of content and avoid problems with virtual
      > graffiti and inaccuracies. But it's not a perfect system, so it's not
      > a huge surprise that a lot of educators just don't want their students
      > utilizing the site.
      >
      > I had a flashback; a group of us on the WWWEDU email list had tried to
      > create a "Kidopedia" - an online encyclopedia written entirely by kids
      > - back in 1996, hosted by St. John's University. It didn't get very
      > far because all encyclopedia entries were being posted manually by
      > real people; that, and the fact that it was hard to articulate a
      > compelling case as to why kids should be doing this in the first
      > place.
      >
      > While I understand educators' concerns about directing kids towards
      > "reliable" reference sources, the more I think about it, the more I
      > think Wikipedia's flaws actually make it an ideal learning tool for
      > students. That may sound counterintuitive, of course - how can you
      > recommend a tool that you know may not be accurate? Well, that's
      > precisely the point: when you go to Wikipedia, some entries are better
      > referenced than others. That's just a basic fact. Some entries will
      > have a scrupulous list of sources cited and a detailed talk page on
      > which Wikipedians debate the accuracy of information presented in
      > order to improve it. Others, though, will have no sources cited and no
      > active talk pages. To me, this presents teachers with an excellent
      > authentic learning activity in which students can demonstrate their
      > skills as scholars.
      >
      > Here's a quick scenario. Take a group of fifth grade students and
      > break them into groups, with each group picking a topic that interests
      > them. Any topic. Dolphins, horses, hockey, you name it.
      >
      > Next, send the groups of kids to Wikipedia to look up the topic they
      > selected. Chances are, someone has already created a Wikipedia entry
      > on that particular subject. The horse, for example, has an extensive
      > entry on the website. It certainly looks accurate and informative, but
      > is it? Unfortunately, there are no citations for any of the facts
      > claimed about horses on the page.
      >
      > This is where it gets fun. The group of students breaks down the
      > content on the page into manageable chunks, each with a certain amount
      > of facts that need to be verified. The students then spend the
      > necessary time to fact-check the content. As the students work their
      > way through the list, they'll find themselves with two possible
      > outcomes: either they'll verify that a particular factoid is correct,
      > or they'll prove that it's not. Either way, they'll generate a paper
      > trail, as it were, of sources proving the various claims one way or
      > another.
      >
      > Once the Wikipedia entry has been fact-checked, the teacher creates a
      > Wikipedia login for the class. They go to the entry's talk page and
      > present their findings, laying out every idea that needs to be
      > corrected. Then, they edit the actual entry to make the corrections,
      > with all sources cited. Similarly, for all the parts of the entry
      > they've verified as accurate, they list sources confirming it. That
      > way, each idea presented in the Wikipedia entry has been verified and
      > referenced - hopefully with multiple sources.
      >
      > Get enough classrooms doing this, you kill several birds with one
      > stone: Wikipedia's information gets better, students help give back to
      > the Net by improving the accuracy of an important online resource, and
      > teachers have a way to make lemons into lemonade, turning Wikipedia
      > from a questionable information source to a powerful tool for
      > information literacy.
      >
      > I can already see it now: an official K-12 Seal of Approval put on
      > Wikipedia entries that have been vetted by students. Wish I were more
      > handy in Photoshop. -andy
      >
      > --
      > -----------------------------------
      > Andy Carvin
      > Program Director
      > EDC Center for Media & Community
      > acarvin @ edc . org
      > http://www.digitaldivide.net
      > http://www.tsunami-info.org
      > Blog: http://www.andycarvin.com
      > -----------------------------------
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      > WWWEDU, The Web and Education Discussion Group
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wwwedu
      > http://www.edwebproject.org/wwwedu.html
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • tednellen
      i find the discussion about wikipedia interesting andy. i for one, an educator of 30+ years find wikipedia refreshing and actually a better resource than any
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 12 5:39 AM
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        i find the discussion about wikipedia interesting andy. i for one, an
        educator of 30+ years find wikipedia refreshing and actually a better
        resource than any encyclopedia one can find in any library. why? becaue
        the book is static and is edited by folks with an agenda and even a bias.
        consider how history books treat the concept of manifest destiny and how
        they treat the indigenous people of america. history books are constructed
        by the victors. then consider science books and how wrong they are on so
        many points. then as an english teacher the selections in too many
        literature anthologies suck to put it mildly. they are so biased it is
        disgusting. i, of course prefer using resources i can find on the internet
        and bypass the bias and prejudice EVERY publisher has. wikipedia is so
        refreshing, it is perhaps all that Oxygen we are getting that is making
        the critics light headed and dizzy. they dont get it and are very very
        afraid of the loss of control so to speak. that we have access toi experts
        and are having incredible scholarly diiscussions makes wikipedia genius
        and long overdo. we are no longer subject to the whims of a very few whoo
        publish and then provide bad and incorrect biased content to our children
        and citizens. it is afterall about the people, by the people and for the
        people. hurray for wikipedia.

        and i love the checks and balances about it so unlike textbooks and
        encyclopedias that when they are wrong are wrong for the life and
        shelflife of that tome. burning them is a fate too many wont do because of
        this love of books, even when they are trerribly wrong and perp[etuate
        discrimination and just plain wrong information.

        ted



        On Tue, 12
        Jul 2005, Andy Carvin wrote:

        > Here's a short essay I posted on my blog last night that I thought might be of interest... -andy
        >
        > Turning Wikipedia into an Asset for Schools
        > http://www.andycarvin.com/archives/2005/07/turning_wikiped.html
        >
        > Art Wolinsky and I went to dinner tonight just outside of Atlantic City, where I'll be leading a two-day workshop on documentary making for a group of elementary school teachers. During dinner, Art and I talked about what I'll be presenting tomorrow morning, as well as fun Internet topics such as video blogging, podcasting and Wikipedia.
        >
        > On Wikipedia in particular, we talked about the hostility that many educators have towards the website, particularly their concerns that it can't be considered a reliable source. It's the classic dilemma of a wiki website - because wikis allow any site visitor to edit or add content, you raise the risk of getting content that isn't up to snuff. And the fact that young and old alike often go to Wikipedia and see that its name ends in -pedia, they assume it's just like any other encyclopedia and they should take its content as vetted, accurate information, which ain't always the case.
        >
        > I explained to Art the community of Wikipedia volunteers known as Wikipedians who have created a system of checks and balances to improve the quality of content and avoid problems with virtual graffiti and inaccuracies. But it's not a perfect system, so it's not a huge surprise that a lot of educators just don't want their students utilizing the site.
        >
        > I had a flashback; a group of us on the WWWEDU email list had tried to create a "Kidopedia" - an online encyclopedia written entirely by kids - back in 1996, hosted by St. John's University. It didn't get very far because all encyclopedia entries were being posted manually by real people; that, and the fact that it was hard to articulate a compelling case as to why kids should be doing this in the first place.
        >
        > While I understand educators' concerns about directing kids towards "reliable" reference sources, the more I think about it, the more I think Wikipedia's flaws actually make it an ideal learning tool for students. That may sound counterintuitive, of course - how can you recommend a tool that you know may not be accurate? Well, that's precisely the point: when you go to Wikipedia, some entries are better referenced than others. That's just a basic fact. Some entries will have a scrupulous list of sources cited and a detailed talk page on which Wikipedians debate the accuracy of information presented in order to improve it. Others, though, will have no sources cited and no active talk pages. To me, this presents teachers with an excellent authentic learning activity in which students can demonstrate their skills as scholars.
        >
        > Here's a quick scenario. Take a group of fifth grade students and break them into groups, with each group picking a topic that interests them. Any topic. Dolphins, horses, hockey, you name it.
        >
        > Next, send the groups of kids to Wikipedia to look up the topic they selected. Chances are, someone has already created a Wikipedia entry on that particular subject. The horse, for example, has an extensive entry on the website. It certainly looks accurate and informative, but is it? Unfortunately, there are no citations for any of the facts claimed about horses on the page.
        >
        > This is where it gets fun. The group of students breaks down the content on the page into manageable chunks, each with a certain amount of facts that need to be verified. The students then spend the necessary time to fact-check the content. As the students work their way through the list, they'll find themselves with two possible outcomes: either they'll verify that a particular factoid is correct, or they'll prove that it's not. Either way, they'll generate a paper trail, as it were, of sources proving the various claims one way or another.
        >
        > Once the Wikipedia entry has been fact-checked, the teacher creates a Wikipedia login for the class. They go to the entry's talk page and present their findings, laying out every idea that needs to be corrected. Then, they edit the actual entry to make the corrections, with all sources cited. Similarly, for all the parts of the entry they've verified as accurate, they list sources confirming it. That way, each idea presented in the Wikipedia entry has been verified and referenced - hopefully with multiple sources.
        >
        > Get enough classrooms doing this, you kill several birds with one stone: Wikipedia's information gets better, students help give back to the Net by improving the accuracy of an important online resource, and teachers have a way to make lemons into lemonade, turning Wikipedia from a questionable information source to a powerful tool for information literacy.
        >
        > I can already see it now: an official K-12 Seal of Approval put on Wikipedia entries that have been vetted by students. Wish I were more handy in Photoshop. -andy
        >
        >

        --

        Ted Nellen 8-) http://www.tnellen.com/

        "You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
        To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

        Buckminster Fuller
      • Janice Friesen
        Andy, WHAT A GREAT IDEA!! I have been giving Wikipedias a lot of thought recently. Wil Richardson s blog has talked about them and he has a short video
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 12 6:11 AM
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          Andy,

          WHAT A GREAT IDEA!! I have been giving Wikipedias a lot of thought
          recently. Wil Richardson's blog has talked about them and he has a short
          video linked somewhere to his site which helped me to understand how they
          can be surprisingly accurate and thorough.

          One of the most important things that has changed about literacy in our time
          is the importance of checking facts. There is SO much information
          available. It is so easy to publish and to cut and paste. Literate people
          need to have the ability to ask the right questions and to search to find
          answers.

          This activity reaches this goal!

          Thanks, Janice


          On 7/12/05 6:00 AM, "Andy Carvin" <acarvin@...> wrote:

          > Here's a short essay I posted on my blog last night that I thought might be of
          > interest... -andy
          >
          > Turning Wikipedia into an Asset for Schools
          > http://www.andycarvin.com/archives/2005/07/turning_wikiped.html
          >
          > Art Wolinsky and I went to dinner tonight just outside of Atlantic City, where
          > I'll be leading a two-day workshop on documentary making for a group of
          > elementary school teachers. During dinner, Art and I talked about what I'll be
          > presenting tomorrow morning, as well as fun Internet topics such as video
          > blogging, podcasting and Wikipedia.
          >
          > On Wikipedia in particular, we talked about the hostility that many educators
          > have towards the website, particularly their concerns that it can't be
          > considered a reliable source. It's the classic dilemma of a wiki website -
          > because wikis allow any site visitor to edit or add content, you raise the
          > risk of getting content that isn't up to snuff. And the fact that young and
          > old alike often go to Wikipedia and see that its name ends in -pedia, they
          > assume it's just like any other encyclopedia and they should take its content
          > as vetted, accurate information, which ain't always the case.
          >
          > I explained to Art the community of Wikipedia volunteers known as Wikipedians
          > who have created a system of checks and balances to improve the quality of
          > content and avoid problems with virtual graffiti and inaccuracies. But it's
          > not a perfect system, so it's not a huge surprise that a lot of educators just
          > don't want their students utilizing the site.
          >
          > I had a flashback; a group of us on the WWWEDU email list had tried to create
          > a "Kidopedia" - an online encyclopedia written entirely by kids - back in
          > 1996, hosted by St. John's University. It didn't get very far because all
          > encyclopedia entries were being posted manually by real people; that, and the
          > fact that it was hard to articulate a compelling case as to why kids should be
          > doing this in the first place.
          >
          > While I understand educators' concerns about directing kids towards "reliable"
          > reference sources, the more I think about it, the more I think Wikipedia's
          > flaws actually make it an ideal learning tool for students. That may sound
          > counterintuitive, of course - how can you recommend a tool that you know may
          > not be accurate? Well, that's precisely the point: when you go to Wikipedia,
          > some entries are better referenced than others. That's just a basic fact. Some
          > entries will have a scrupulous list of sources cited and a detailed talk page
          > on which Wikipedians debate the accuracy of information presented in order to
          > improve it. Others, though, will have no sources cited and no active talk
          > pages. To me, this presents teachers with an excellent authentic learning
          > activity in which students can demonstrate their skills as scholars.
          >
          > Here's a quick scenario. Take a group of fifth grade students and break them
          > into groups, with each group picking a topic that interests them. Any topic.
          > Dolphins, horses, hockey, you name it.
          >
          > Next, send the groups of kids to Wikipedia to look up the topic they selected.
          > Chances are, someone has already created a Wikipedia entry on that particular
          > subject. The horse, for example, has an extensive entry on the website. It
          > certainly looks accurate and informative, but is it? Unfortunately, there are
          > no citations for any of the facts claimed about horses on the page.
          >
          > This is where it gets fun. The group of students breaks down the content on
          > the page into manageable chunks, each with a certain amount of facts that need
          > to be verified. The students then spend the necessary time to fact-check the
          > content. As the students work their way through the list, they'll find
          > themselves with two possible outcomes: either they'll verify that a particular
          > factoid is correct, or they'll prove that it's not. Either way, they'll
          > generate a paper trail, as it were, of sources proving the various claims one
          > way or another.
          >
          > Once the Wikipedia entry has been fact-checked, the teacher creates a
          > Wikipedia login for the class. They go to the entry's talk page and present
          > their findings, laying out every idea that needs to be corrected. Then, they
          > edit the actual entry to make the corrections, with all sources cited.
          > Similarly, for all the parts of the entry they've verified as accurate, they
          > list sources confirming it. That way, each idea presented in the Wikipedia
          > entry has been verified and referenced - hopefully with multiple sources.
          >
          > Get enough classrooms doing this, you kill several birds with one stone:
          > Wikipedia's information gets better, students help give back to the Net by
          > improving the accuracy of an important online resource, and teachers have a
          > way to make lemons into lemonade, turning Wikipedia from a questionable
          > information source to a powerful tool for information literacy.
          >
          > I can already see it now: an official K-12 Seal of Approval put on Wikipedia
          > entries that have been vetted by students. Wish I were more handy in
          > Photoshop. -andy
        • Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain
          Andy - the lights are on for me! I have been struggling with how to structure a every-other-day 40 minute, P/F, in-school Extension class called Africa - you
          Message 4 of 9 , Jul 12 12:23 PM
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            Andy - the lights are on for me! I have been struggling with how to
            structure a every-other-day 40 minute, P/F, in-school Extension class called
            "Africa" - you have given me a structure that will be both fun and
            educational. It also seems to support the JigSaw strategy, which is one I
            like for middle school. Thanks!!

            Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain
            Least Tern
            Freeport Middle School
          • Art Wolinsky
            I can t tell you how great it is having Andy here to work with our teacher on documentary making. We learned more from him yesterday than we could have
            Message 5 of 9 , Jul 13 4:02 AM
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              I can't tell you how great it is having Andy here to work with our teacher
              on documentary making. We learned more from him yesterday than we could
              have learned on our own in a year!

              Before we head out for day 2, I'd like to add my two cents about
              Wikipedia. I think if we look at Andy's essay and Ted's reply, we strike a
              nice balance than can make Wikipedia a valuable tool. Yes texts are
              static and often bias, but there is nothing to say that the same isn't true
              of some entries in Wikipedia. The fact that it is dynamic is good, but a
              student accessing it today, may be accessing a correction that was made
              yesterday that turned an accurate article into a biased one.

              If we can teach students to confirm the validity of any information they
              access we do them and the world a service while creating a generation of
              Wikipedians that can take the tool to a whole new level.

              Art


              ******************************************************************
              Art Wolinsky
              Director of Professional Development
              Immersive Education
              http://www.kar2ouche.com
              awolinsky@...
              (609) 698-8223
              ******************************************************************
              I am perfectly capable of learning from my mistakes.
              I will surely learn a great deal today.
              ******************************************************************
            • tednellen
              absolutely, art, the ballance must be struck and yes, info is constantly changing as we learn more. i m reminded of a great quote from MIB: 1500 years ago
              Message 6 of 9 , Jul 13 5:49 AM
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                absolutely, art, the ballance must be struck and yes, info is constantly
                changing as we learn more. i'm reminded of a great quote from MIB:

                1500 years ago everyone knew the Earth was the center of the Universe.
                500 years ago everyone knew the Earth was flat.
                15 minutes ago you knew people were alone on this planet.
                Imagine what you will know tomorrow.
                K, MIB

                i llike the idea of presenting many sources and differing views. consider
                using the standard history text of US History along with howard zinn's
                _people's history of US_ or _aint gonna study war no more_. reading
                editorials from different papers and countries as events unfold, like the
                recent bombings in london. we need to be able to provide as many sources
                as we can to our scholars, not just those published and distributed by the
                system in which we work and live as they are limited as we know. it is
                about teaching scholars: "believe none of what you hear and half of what
                you see."

                have fun, sounds like a good couple of days to be a fly on the wall.

                involved with our own 4 week stretch of PD here as we play with blogs,
                podcasting, wikis, flickr, RSS and the like.

                ted

                On Wed, 13 Jul 2005, Art Wolinsky wrote:

                > I can't tell you how great it is having Andy here to work with our teacher
                > on documentary making. We learned more from him yesterday than we could
                > have learned on our own in a year!
                >
                > Before we head out for day 2, I'd like to add my two cents about
                > Wikipedia. I think if we look at Andy's essay and Ted's reply, we strike a
                > nice balance than can make Wikipedia a valuable tool. Yes texts are
                > static and often bias, but there is nothing to say that the same isn't true
                > of some entries in Wikipedia. The fact that it is dynamic is good, but a
                > student accessing it today, may be accessing a correction that was made
                > yesterday that turned an accurate article into a biased one.
                >
                > If we can teach students to confirm the validity of any information they
                > access we do them and the world a service while creating a generation of
                > Wikipedians that can take the tool to a whole new level.
                >
                > Art
                >
                >
                > ******************************************************************
                > Art Wolinsky
                > Director of Professional Development
                > Immersive Education
                > http://www.kar2ouche.com
                > awolinsky@...
                > (609) 698-8223
                > ******************************************************************
                > I am perfectly capable of learning from my mistakes.
                > I will surely learn a great deal today.
                > ******************************************************************
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > WWWEDU, The Web and Education Discussion Group
                > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wwwedu
                > http://www.edwebproject.org/wwwedu.html
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >

                --

                Ted Nellen 8-) http://www.tnellen.com/

                "You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
                To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

                Buckminster Fuller
              • Kenton Letkeman
                Speaking of telling fact from fiction, did people really think the earth was flat 500 years ago? Kenton Letkeman
                Message 7 of 9 , Jul 14 3:03 AM
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                  Speaking of telling fact from fiction, did people really think the earth was
                  flat 500 years ago?
                  Kenton Letkeman

                  On Wednesday 13 July 2005 06:49, tednellen wrote:
                  > absolutely, art, the ballance must be struck and yes, info is constantly
                  > changing as we learn more. i'm reminded of a great quote from MIB:
                  >
                  > 1500 years ago everyone knew the Earth was the center of the Universe.
                  > 500 years ago everyone knew the Earth was flat.
                  > 15 minutes ago you knew people were alone on this planet.
                  > Imagine what you will know tomorrow.
                  > K, MIB
                • Miguel Guhlin
                  Hi folks! First of all, allow me to share my appreciation for the wonderful discussions being had on this list. I ve learned a lot about wikis, podcasting, and
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jul 16 12:19 PM
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                    Hi folks!

                    First of all, allow me to share my appreciation for the wonderful
                    discussions being had on this list. I've learned a lot about wikis,
                    podcasting, and blogging just lurking on the list.

                    Second, I'd like to ask your opinions...I've been asked to write an
                    article supporting open source in K-12 education. I would love to read
                    your feedback and ideas regarding this topic. You can make comments
                    online at:

                    http://www.mguhlin.net/blog/archives/2005/07/entry_262.htm

                    I will be sure to cite references to comments you leave online by
                    referring to the link shared above....

                    Thanks in advance for your feedback!

                    --
                    Miguel Guhlin
                    Director, Instructional Technology
                    San Antonio, Tx
                    mguhlin@...
                    Web: http://www.mguhlin.net
                    RSS: http://feeds.feedburner.com/mguhlin
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