Feb 2, 2011

Wikipedia is the greatest thing ever

I totally had students do this.

I had seen the Wikipedia list of misconceptions floating around Twitter, and figured it would be an interesting exercise for my reading classes. We had previously investigated other sites' discussion pages in an activity I call "Wikipedia Behind the Scenes," and this seemed like a logical next step.

I made a preassessment, a true/false "quiz" with 12 misconceptions I thought my students might know. ("T/F: Bats are blind.") They took the quiz, we shared the results ("show of hands... how many thought #1 was true?"), and then I sent them into the computer lab to find out which of the answers were correct. (I was a little mean; all the answers were false.)

After a few minutes, in dismay and excitement, they brought back their findings. We talked about the sources of misinformation--friends, parents, teachers--and tried to figure out how wrong things get to be "common knowledge." I showed them the list, and we looked at the "discussion" page to see the disagreements over what ought to be listed. (Consider this a vote to keep it.)

In sum: Wikipedia is a marvelous teaching tool, and any educator who disagrees is a nincompoop.

4 comments:

stidmatt said...

Your absolutely right. Not only is it a great teaching tool, but you could have students when they are researching a project instead of writing identical papers for everything, get log-ins and improve wikipedia for credit. Not only will they learn, they will be helping the world community.

Check my blog (stidmatt-views) to see my paper for English on the subject.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that this sounds a lot like the XKCD on the same topic.

http://xkcd.org/843/

...anyways, random, easily-distracted stalker on her way to find thoughts on LD. :3 Don't mind me.

Jim Anderson said...

You mean the XKCD that I linked to up above? :)

Anonymous said...

It obviously blended in with the rest of the post.

Either that or I can't read. ^^