Wikipedia has revolutionized the digital information age. It has allowed us to collect and organize an unprecedented amount of information. Whether or not the information is correct is another matter entirely. Anyone is able to edit Wikipedia and this is seen in the edit wars that can beset Wikipedia. Yes Wikipedia is usually quick to fix these changes but there are still time gaps between fixes and edits.
These wars have been going on since at least 2001. If a student were to go to Wikipedia when an item has been changed to non-factual information they will be misinformed.
A perfect example is The North Face using Wikipedia for their recent marketing campaign. The fact that a brand was able to insert its products into images and not be noticed until the company called it out for themselves presents a problem with using Wikipedia in the classroom.
Another issue is that many Wikipedia entries can be clumsily written. Wikipedia entries can be written in ways that are over technical, full of jargon or hard to understand. Additionally there are a large number of articles classified as misleading.
However on the article itself the misleading message is halfway in the box citing multiple issues.
These are just some of the issues I have with the use of Wikipedia in the classroom. Articles can also be clumsily written and promote poor grammar, spelling, and improper sentences in student articles.
Ultimately we should discourage students from using Wikipedia as a resource for projects in the classroom do to these many issues.
To see Adam’s rebuttal visit his site here