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Jim: In my way of thinking, you seem to be a little turned around on a couple of points in your posting below. 1) "..willing to accept Wikipedia..." as what? As a first rate example of what things happen (and, arguably, what things can be accomplished) when a bunch of strangers decide to work together without hope of profit or fame? You betcha! As an impeckable source of information? Perhaps not so much, though it does surprisingly well even so. But as I've mentioned, it makes for a really good place to practice critical thinking and content analysis. No source should be accepted without such, and a flawed one with so much organized content and popularity just can't be beat for that purpose. 2) A platform which supports knowledge construction? I really cannot think of a better one. But, yes, you're right, we're now talking about the technology (a platform or vehicle through which people can construct knowledge). Wikis are potentially powerful knowledge construction tools. Wikipedia just happens to be the most popular wiki (which, again, has its advantages). But your remark, "...Consensus of anyone, regardless of education, does not make for useful information for knowledge construction..." seriously misses the point. A good Wikipedia article pulls "useful information" (in the form of citations) from elsewhere, and the article itself serves the purpose of supporting the construction of knowledge within it. Your mistake is to look at Wikipedia content solely through the eyes of a researcher. Yes, you should do that, but what's powerful about Wikipedia is that it isn't just content, it is process. It can, at its best, cause hundreds of people to, from their perch within a single Wikipedia article, turn around and look at the rest of the Internet, and all other knowledge sources, through the eyes of a researcher. That's what's powerful about the process of constructing knowledge -- not the veracity of a single source of information in that process. We're so used to encyclopedias and textbooks being static, fixed, verifiable and unassailable information sources that we forget that much of the information they actually contain is NOT static, fixed, often not even verifiable, and almost never unassailable. So the expectation isn't that a reference resource should have those qualities, but in what amounts must they be present for the information to be useful. Wikipedia is simply embracing that idea, and forcing us to be transparent and collaborative in its pursuit. Frankly, I'm a big fan. Jeff On Tue, 6 Apr 2010, Jim Beal wrote: > It is interesting that so many people are willing to accept Wikipedia. By its own admission: > > " Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic > quality from the start: they may contain false or debatable information. > Indeed, many articles start their lives as displaying a single > viewpoint; and, after a long process of discussion, debate, and > argument, they gradually take on a neutral point of view reached through > consensus." > > Further: > > "Allowing anyone to edit Wikipedia means that it is more easily > vandalized or susceptible to unchecked information.." > > So, at any given time, any article could be wholly inaccurate or false. > > > Consensus of anyone, regardless of education, does not make for useful > information for knowledge construction. If this is indeed valuable, > then we can dispense with peer review journals. In fact, we can > dispense with all research and education in general, since all we have > to do is let people post information and come to a consensus on it. > > Being a technology discussion group, I think sometimes we get blinded by the technology. > > I think we need to educate students about Wikipedia and other web 2.0 technologies, but not have them use them for research. > > Last, I am wondering which grade levels people are using Wikipedia in. Certainly not high school level, which should be looking beyond simple encyclopedia articles. Probably lower and middle and elementary school students. > > > James W. Beal, Ed.D. > Director of Technology > Somonauk Community Unit School District #432 > > ---------------------------------------------- > Education is not what you think you have learned. > It is how you have learned to think. --- Edtech Archives, posting guidelines and other information are at: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~edweb Please include your name, email address, and school or professional affiliation in each posting. To unsubscribe send the following command to: LISTSERV@H-NET.MSU.EDU SIGNOFF EDTECH