Academic journal article The American Biology Teacher

Students Contribute to a Global Community through Improvement of Wikipedia

Academic journal article The American Biology Teacher

Students Contribute to a Global Community through Improvement of Wikipedia

Article excerpt

Wikipedia is an encyclopedic source used by many of our students and people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities. Anyone can add to or alter entries on the Web site (within reason) which makes for a democratic, and some suggest, questionable source of knowledge. In this activity appropriate to many high school and college biology classes, students can use information they have learned in a course or material researched outside of course content to contribute to a global intellectual community by improving an entry on Wikipedia. In doing so, students should increase feelings of ownership about an area of knowledge. Also, they are introduced to the changing and subjective nature of online information sources, so that they more critically approach information encountered on the Internet.

Students are instructed to go to the Wikipedia main page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page. They will peruse articles on various topics including or related to material covered in the course. Students find entries that they believe they can correct, improve, or expand. At this stage, the instructor should check that topics are appropriate and that each is not chosen by more than one student. The students cut and paste the online entry that they plan to improve, and submit this along with their proposed revisions to the instructor for approval. …

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