Wikipedia in Schools


Should Wikipedia be used in schools for research?Kids are increasingly getting lower grades in school because they use websites like Wikipedia and other online research sources for research, according to studies by the Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC). So how does one website affect the grades of students?

Kids are turning to resources like Wikipedia, which allows entries to be logged or updated by anyone and is not verified by researchers, and attempt to pass off their work without researching further.

“Children are very internet savvy but they are horrible at researching,” says Eleanor Coner, the SPTC’s information officer. “It’s dangerous when the internet is littered with opinion and inaccurate information which could be taken as fact.”

Several schools have already banned students from using the interactive encyclopedia. At one college in Vermont (US), a history teacher found several students repeated the same error in their exam papers. The repeated error was linked back to a Wikipedia page and the site has been added to the school banned site list.

Though this has caused many to become bias against Wikipedia as a resource, the site does have a large database and following.  The free website encyclopedia consists of over 10 million articles and is available in over 200 languages. Some schools, including one Science class in the US, exclusively use the site as learning support.

The SPTC reminds parents and teachers that there’s a lot of information on the web and we just need to remind youth that a great deal of it is misinformation or simply opinions. In fact, the definition of research includes consulting more than one resource.

Notable Wikipedia Mishaps:

Novelist Colin Bateman describes how, on looking himself up on Wikipedia, he was dismayed to discover that his young son had gone online and added the sentence: “Mr Bateman is currently suffering from penile dysfunction.” Fortunately his dad saw the funny side – and was proud his child could spell “dysfunction” correctly.

During his time in Downing Street, Tony Blair may have been alarmed to find himself slurred as “George Bush’s bitch-boy.”

Famous singer Kylie Minogue has had her genealogical history thrown into doubt after her entry claimed that she was “the more beautiful and talented older sister” of Michael Jackson.

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