Having A School Block Wikipedia Does Not Further The Cause Of Education

from the head-in-the-sand dept

We've heard time and time again that schools refuse to allow Wikipedia citations in papers. That's somewhat understandable. However, what's ridiculous is to go beyond that to the point that some teachers and even entire schools are now blocking Wikipedia entirely from school computers. It's hard to see how this furthers the cause of education. If anything, it does the exact opposite. If the concern is that Wikipedia may not be trustworthy, why not teach students how Wikipedia works, how to improve it and how to think critically before believing any particular source? What's amazing is that people complain about inaccurate info in Wikipedia as a reason it shouldn't be trusted -- but those same people don't seem to try to ban the use of the Encyclopedia Britannica when significant errors are found in it. And, when errors are found in Britannica (which some studies have shown occur just as frequently as in Wikipedia), they remain there. When errors are found in Wikipedia, they quickly get corrected. Again, though, it comes down to learning not to trust any single source as being authoritative -- and teaching kids to be skeptical of any source. Completely banning a source does students a complete disservice. Once they leave the school and encounter Wikipedia on their own, wouldn't it be better if they'd spent some time with a teacher assisting them to understand the pros and cons of Wikipedia so they know how to use it properly on their own?

Filed Under: schools, wikipedia


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  1. identicon
    Overcast, 27 Nov 2007 @ 7:32am

    The 'schools' don't care about 'education'. After dealing with the schools round and round again (my Son has some 'issues' and not ADD, etc..)

    See, they don't care if my Son misses a thousand days - nor do they care if he takes 'compentecy' tests, they just need the paperwork in order to provide the 'holy' state with to justify it all.

    They are NUTS on attendance now, I assume the 'no child left behind' BS mandates a minimum attendance standard and minimum test scores. Understandable that kids need to go to school, but it was nothing like this when I was younger.

    If they miss pretty much any day without a doctor's *note* it's unexcused. So if they have a cold for a day or two, if you don't take them to the doctor, it's unexcused. Parent's note won't work, only a doctor's note. Won't we all be SO GLAD to get national health care!!?? Of course, SSI refused to pay a bunch of my son's bills, but that's ok - national healthcare's better, huh? just be careful what you ask for there - you might get it.

    That's BS - I shouldn't have to run my kid to the doctor because he has a cold. Particularly since there's no know way to really fight a virus anyway. Just rest and liquids.

    As it stands now, he misses every other Monday for doctor's appointments, but they don't care - because I have a doctor's note each time. He was exempted from the 'mandatory' testing by his doctor, and they acted happy about it - seriously.

    Now, I don't fault the teachers themselves, I'm sure many do care. But the administration, unions, government entities that deal with education are just looking for numbers that look good. Education isn't important - agenda for the 'system' is.

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