muse: n. a source of inspiration

More on Wikipedia

I was involved in an interesting conversation about Wikipedia the other day when I was at an all-day workshop (well, really it was a 45-minute workshop disguised as an all-day workshop…but I digress). The other person (who’s a librarian somewhere, I think) told us about some teacher in her building who won’t let the kids use Wikipedia. Not only can’t they use it, but this teacher does an activity with the kids where she has them make an erroneous change to an entry; not a big mistake, but a little one that isn’t glaring. Then they “watch” the entry all semester to see if anyone catches it.

Oy. This makes my stomach hurt in so many way. First of all, it’s vandalism and unethical. Secondly… why are people so scared of it? Why can’t we teach the kids to be responsible, critical information consumers?


December 13, 2007 - Posted by | Education, Wikipedia


  1. You’re talking about wikipedia instead of a smaller wiki? I do think it’s wrong to tamper with wiki that everyone in the world uses. I do think it could be a valuable lesson for the kids though…along the lines of those exercises where kids are taught to read through the whole test before starting, then the next day they get a pop quiz where at the bottom of the page there’s a statement like, ‘don’t fill out anything on this test except your name’…can you tell I got caught by this back in 6th grade? I can count on one hand any tests I’ve taken since that i didn’t read through as much as I was allowed to before starting 🙂 – but again, interfering with wiki for those out of the class sounds wrong, and the whole-semester seems like a dragging on of the point. Seems something similar could be done within the confines of one assignment or one week, right? In the interest of *teaching* kids to be critical consumers…

    Comment by Lynn Anne | December 14, 2007 | Reply

  2. I absolutely agree that we need to teach our kids to be savvy, educated consumers of information, especially when over their lifetime the body of “collective wisdom” will grow more and more. I do have an issue, though, with trying to “trick” the system by making intentional errors and waiting to see if they get fixes, especially with a public site such as Wikipedia.

    My preference would be to involve the students in actually reading Wikipedia entries about which they do know something and seeing how they could improve them, not how they could break them.

    Comment by Debbie Harris | December 14, 2007 | Reply

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