[Air-l] Wikipedia warning -- Wikipedia is not a reliable information source

GTa3411203 at aol.com GTa3411203 at aol.com
Mon Dec 5 06:29:30 PST 2005

I have found that Wikipedia entries are good starting points for conducting 
research on emerging trends. For example, I am currently writing a paper on the 
emerging trends to use mobile devices (PDAs, smartphones, tablet computers, 
MP3 players) and wireless networks to support learning in workplace and 
educational settings. I have found Wikipedia entries to be an invaluable resource in 
assisting me with pulling together the evolutionary processes associated with 
the emergence of the various mobile devices and associated practices. My 
approach in using this source of information in support of research is to 
triangulate available information to other sources, those that skeptics would consider 
as being reputable publications (newspapers, trade publications, academic 
journals, books). I also encourage students to use this same approach when 
considering using a Wikipedia entry as reliable source of information. 
I co-teach an on campus course where students do collaborative learning 
activities each week to construct knowledge about a given topic. At the completion 
of the activity, I ask students to report out to others, in a large group 
setting, key insights gained from the interaction. I might have them share 
information orally or in writing, using the blackboards or whiteboards in a room or 
easel-size Post-It notes and colored markers. This activity could easily turn 
into one where students could create new or build upon existing Wikipedia 
entries. I would use this approach in teaching this group of students but have 
limitations with regard to access to computer and Internet resources that are 
necessary to support the integration of this activity into a face-to-face 
classroom setting. I could modify the approach so tasks would be completed as t
ake-home assignments but this goes against personal teaching values. I teach students 
from the constructivist perspective and place high value on students 
constructing knowledge in collaboration with others, with guidance from me as opposed 
to the other way around.
-- Gail
Gail Taylor, M.Ed.
Human Resource Education Ph.D. Student
Educational Psychology Teaching Assistant
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

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