Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thing 18: WWWD- What Would Wiki Do?

Hello Readers,

I remember when Wikipedia first came on the scene. I felt it wasn't very reliable since any registered user could create anything about anyone or any event. Some people have sued despite some procedures being put in place to prevent misinformation. I've seen some entries that are put together very well, using universally reliable sources like newspapers, primary documents and established encyclopedias like Brittanica (although I feel creating an encyclopedia-like entry citing another encyclopedia is redundant). Some entries follow the procedures Wikipedia wants, but their cited sources are option blogs and fansites.

I did create a wiki entry for me on the North Texas 23 practice wiki. Check it out.

Now Wikipedia does have warning messages citing the problems with some entries: no citations, incorrect writing style and bias for instance, but the entry is not deleted. Users are invited to discuss entry problems and are welcome to correct them, but I noticed entries that haven't been corrected in a while. I did notice some entries that are bare bones, almost dictionary like entries. I did see some entries evolve into informative pieces over time, some just becoming trivia buckets (which is frown upon in the Wikiverse). Unfortunately, in my option, some people use Wikipedia as the end all, be all for answers to research. This is why teachers and librarians/media specialists should require legitimate resources. Colleges and universities do and so many students are unprepared or under prepared to do real researching (as I've been told by my father and brother, both teach in universities). I do use Wikipedia, to look up fun stuff and current cultural things because those are the most common entries, but I do look up those subjects on other sites as well.

Now I am planning to create wikis for my school. I want to merge our curriculum charts with the resources available through the library and the guided reading library. I'm hoping all of my colleagues will contribute. That way we know if the resources suggested for a unit of study are located in the library, the guided reading library or the grade level library. The goal is to see everthing in an easy to read chart and prevent redundancy. Why spend money on a resource for the library if the math department, our instructional specialist or our principal has already bought the resources for the teachers and the students aren't interested in it? Especially now with tight budgets. It will also allow those of us who buy school resources to see what we have and what we need. One of our district librarians started a wiki for all the district librarians to share ideas and information. Our district also has a link to Curriki for all educators, but I don't think it's been publicized much. It's available for anyone who wants to look up lesson plans, submit lesson plans and connect to other educators. Give it a look. Until then, keep reading.

Queen B.

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