Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wikipedia: A Source of Facts and Fun

Where do you go for quick information on a subject?

Over 684 million people answered Wikipedia last year. Some people believe Wikipedia strives to be the sum of all knowledge, while others see the site as evil. In fact, Wikipedia attracts so much attention that students tempted to go to wikipedia first should understand Wikipedia's own warning message:

while newer articles more frequently contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism. Users need to be aware of this to obtain valid information and avoid misinformation that has been recently added and not yet removed

Teachers should help students by explaining the differences between primary and secondary sources. Teachers should also point out wikipedia's strength in the depth of topics found on the site. For example, Pingdom provides a list of ten trivia facts explained on Wikipedia. So, next time you or a student wants to know, How does one patch KDE2 under FreeBSD? or the meaning of Zoroastrianism, you can find the answer quickly.