Why Students Should Rely on and use Wikis

Most of us have either been taught and/or taught that one should never use Wikipedia as a source of information. I’ll admit, my opinion on Wikipedia was once quite negative, but it has in recent years taken a turn. Now, while I still will not allow students to use it as a peer reviewed source (as, similar to all encyclopedias it is not peer reviewed), I actually recommend that they use it as a starting point. In fact, I find that the bibliographies at the bottom of Wikipedia are an invaluable starting point. I even make the occasional edit (not just for grammar), trying to move the percentage of female contributors up a few notches.

In fact, I even encourage my students to edit the famed online encyclopedia as well as to  use Wiki’s for their own organizational purposes. I recently used a Wiki page for a team project in professional development (far easier to keep track of all the details without having to organize a slew of emails. Wikispaces will even give free Wikis to educators and students.

My opinions are not alone here, it appears that many educators are adopting Wikis in their classroom or as a means for students to organize their projects for class. This is becoming more common place not only in high school, but especially the University Level. You can read about one professor’s endeavors in this New York Times Opinion Piece.

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