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


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2007 @ 10:12am

    Attendance equals knowledge?

    I do graphic design at another school about 30 minutes away from where I normally attend school. The Career and Technology Center fills up 3 hours or class periods every day. I then have 4 more hours/class periods of classes left when I get back to school. The CTC gets out a few times when my normal school does not. Once it gets a week off while my normal school is still in session. Instead of my day starting when my last 4 class periods start, I have to come to school early in the morning and sit in the library (who's computers also have everything the person above me listed blocked + more) for my 3 hours because of the attendance thing.

    Supposedly the rule is I have to be in an 'educational' enviroment. In reality, I'd learn more at home toying around on photo.net or wikipedia.com than I would sitting at a table, sleeping for 3 hours in a library.


    Attendance =/= Knowledge

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.