October 30, 2007

Wikipedia continues to be the poster child for Shifted Learning

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:05 am

Shifted Learning is a term I’m using frequently as I talk to people about the impact of technology in education. The best single example continues to be wikipedia. I’ll argue every and twice on Sundays for the value of wikipedia.

Scot McLeod
pointed me to this and Will Richardson via his del.icio.us account led me to this which Ewan Mcintosh also found here.

Key quotes:

Please don’t tell me that Wikipedia isn’t a real encyclopedia or one that can’t be trusted. Perhaps it can’t be trusted if you’re prepping for a Presidential debate, but it is sure good enough to help me learn what I need to learn–which is how to quickly take a bunch of facts and turn them into a new and useful idea. Here’s what just about every exam ought to be: “Use Firefox to find the information you need to answer this question:” And as the internet gets smarter, the questions are going to have to get harder. Which is a good thing. Until teachers get unstuck, our kids are going to be stuck and so will we.

…a professor at the university’s Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences program, tried to do for the first time last fall by requiring term papers to be submitted to the popular, user-edited online encyclopedia.

onstant revisions by regular contributors. Brockhaus suggested that was part of the experience, and that students posting material to the site would have to stop viewing their work as “sacrosanct.”

But being subject to editing led to a potential problem: Wikipedia editors didn’t find some of the students’ articles relevant enough to warrant their own topics. They were either deleted or merged with existing articles. That reality is in part a function of Wikipedia’s vast breadth, which already covers virtually any topic in which there is sufficient public knowledge.

Maybe we should include it on resumes or portfolios: “What wikipedia articles have you contributed to?”

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