A friend, who's roaming the planet, updated her status on FB mentioning how good it was to have time to research all those things she'd always wondered about... using Wikipedia.
Almost immediately, another friend, who's a teacher, felt the need to warn her that all that knowledge she was gleefully absorbing was probably not trustworthy, because... you know... it's wikipedia... and stuff... ya know?
Ok, in a run-on sentence: Wikipedia is an open-source information hub, which means the information is supplied by voluntary collaboration, which means it can be edited by anyone, at anytime, which makes most academic institutions uncomfortable about using it as a credible source.
Got it? That means educators (myself included) tell students they aren't allowed to cite wikipedia as a reference in their assignments.
However, we must deal with reality: Wikipedia is usually one of the first references to appear in a web search about almost anything (unless some SEO strategist has worked hard to get their website in above it). Wikipedia is comprehensive, concise, and full of links to related information.
In other words, it's very appealing to students, and no matter what you say, they will use it, at least as a starting point. Therefore, instead of fighting it, why not start project-based lessons that use it?
There are different projects for teachers in schools
, and educators who teach English
, writing, journalism
You might even want to create your own
But, whatever you decide to do, or not do... don't knock it before you try it