Check Out My Post – Why Wikipedia? The Qs Parents Keep Asking

Last week the Platform for Good blog published my post, Why Wikipedia: The Questions Parents Keep Asking. It’s full of information to help you and your 21st Century children understand more about Wikipedia — how to use it well and how to avoid problems.

The post even mentions GDS alum and filmmaker Scott Glosserman’s excellent video, Truth in Numbers: Everything According to Wikipedia. The video is available at Amazon.

Check out my post and the video.

Why Wikipedia? Parents Ask

“Why use Wikipedia?” adults often ask. What they are really asking is, “Should my kids use Wikipedia, and is it a real reference?” For adults who grew up in the age of multiple volumes of well-documented encyclopedic information — of course, you remember those well-used, bookmarked, or even dog-eared pages — it’s hard to wrap our minds around Wikipedia. It’s even harder to understand just how we should use it as a reference.

Twenty-first Century learners, however, consult Wikipedia all the time, and the number of users and the content is increasing. According to a 2006 review in School Library Journal, “The popular online encyclopedia, whose entries are written and edited by any user, may inspire trepidation, even fear, yet the behemoth is impossible to ignore.” So just who is writing for Wikipedia? A March 2010 MSNBC article Who Writes Wikipedia, describes a research project that aimed to develop profiles of writers who contribute content.

Question: So, how does any user — student or adult — cite Wikipedia?

Answer: Give credit just as it’s given for any other reference.

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What in the World Is a Wiki?

This image was made with the wordfoto app.

This image was made with the Wordfoto app — a great way to create useable illustrations from a list of words..

wiki is an online document, viewed in a web browser, that allows a user or users to add, collect, and organize information on a topic. This site at the University of South Florida also features a good wiki explanation. Usually, but not always, people work collaboratively on a wiki, so it’s a terrific learning tool, and everyone in a group benefits from the knowledge and skills of everyone else. Wikis can be simple or extremely complex — beauty is less important than content. The word wiki comes from a Hawaiian word that means fast.

Recently I collaborated with a group of colleagues to make a DigiParenting wiki for our presentation at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). We set up this wiki up because our small group wanted a place where we could combine all of our resources and continue to do so on a regular basis — making our wiki a dynamic and ever-change location for materials that can help parents learn more about their digital-age children. Continue reading