You’ve all heard by now of Wikipedia, the online, collaborative, social encyclopedia, written in the form of a wiki.

As of this past spring, Wikipedia had nearly 3.5 million articles in more than 125 languages.

Using Wikipedia in the Classroom

This kind of knowledge sharing isn’t new to education. It’s what all of us skilled educators are all about — it’s the format that has shaken up a few classrooms. One teacher said to me recently, “I use it personally all the time. I’m just not comfortable letting the students use it.” Yet another said, “Any teacher who isn’t jumping for joy over something like Wikipedia has his head in the sand. There’s just so much good learning taking place by the sheer nature of what Wikipedia is, not to mention the actual content!”

I’m certainly one who agrees more with the latter. I’m all over Wikipedia, and I’ve got everyone around me addicted as well. I think it presents a new challenge to classrooms, but a very positive and welcome one — new sources, new methods for getting information, and new ways to take advantage of that online-focused mentality that pervades much of the MySpace generation.

So, tell us about your uses of Wikipedia. Have you come to accept it, when you didn’t before? Has it taken hold in your school? Are you as excited about it as I am about the potential it holds for our twenty-first-century students?

How are you incorporating the usual copyright, citations, and media-literacy issues into the use of Wikipedia?

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