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
    missouri, 27 Nov 2007 @ 10:05am

    I'm at school as I write this. I go to a public high school, which has recently blocked: --dogpile.com --every google function except a basic search (even images, video, etc.) --wikipedia and much more. I couldn't do FBLA's (future buisness leaders of america) district website creation competition because my school blocked a few key resources I needed and I HAD to work on my project at school. I also couldn't do a good presentation because all image searches are blocked. It's also incredible annoying to not be able to use wikipedia. Even if I don't cite wikipedia, I can at least get a general idea for what's saying.

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