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
    Tim, 1 Jan 2008 @ 11:42pm

    Re: School Systems

    and thats the way it should be. Listen you cannot change a person by force, most kids today will try to get the answer fast because...well thats what we are teaching them. Everything is getting faster and sure enough companies do the same thing. They cheat so why shouldnt the students? You could call this "natural selection" as you referenced to the "handful of students". These students will in fact survive school and pass while the others will not. Its simple, the weak die and the strong live. It benefits everyone if we keep people who are lazy out of governmental or powerful positions and I can guarantee those "handful of students" will probably carry that trait of actually working for something and being honest about it to their work area which again benefits the company and everyone else. Schools should not have the right to ban as they see fit. I think votes should be held by parents and not just let the adult administrators speak but allow the student body to voice our opinion as well because if you think about we are going to take over once you die so I would want to get on our good graces! Its not fair that schools think that just because we are minors that means they can stomp on us. NO THE CONSTITUTION CLEARLY states that ANY US citizen has the right to freedom of speech it DOES NOT restrict to an age limit. And do not even try to bull shart someone and say oh but they limit voting age and if you cant vote then you do not have free speech blah blah blah. No I do have free speech its just that I'm taught into believing that until I'm 18 or whenever I attain those rights. Children and teens should unite and finally conquer "the man" aka school administrators who think they know it all which they do not. In my opinion human knowledge is free and should be accessible to everyone because at the end of the day we all benefit from knowledge.

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