Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wikipedia: Information revolutions' evolution

I am in the process of editing a course on educational technology for undergrad teachers. The present syallbus not only warns against using Wikipedia as a source of information, but actually offers bonus points on research assignments for students who do NOT cite Wikipedia.

The concern for educators is legitimate. Basically anyone with internet access can create or edit a post annonymously. Credentials, experience, and expertise become secondary to stubbornous and pure tenacity for spending time in front of a monitor updating a page until your opinion is published.

Wikipedia may be imperfect but it does solve a growing concern in the information age. The existing lag time between information creation and distribution by today's mainstream publishers is unacceptable. In many technology related fields, by the time a manuscript reaches the bookstore shelves the once cutting edge knowledge has been deemed antiquated.

The solution? The evolution of the Wiki.

New Wiki's are being developed by scholars who have come to appreciate the benefits of open source information sharing but wish to maintain the integrity of the information being distributed.

Examples include Citizendium and Scholarpedia.

Every worthwhile technological innovation has undergone an evolutionary process promoting the transition from novelty to practicality.

Instead of criticizing the adolocence of Wikipedia, educators should understand the effort and attention it takes to reach maturity.

To visit Citizendium, click here.

To visit Scholarpedia, click here.

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