Wikipedia has brought an opportunity for students to learn essential 21st-century skills to enhance their personal and professional lives. Wikipedia can be a useful tool for an effective teaching-learning session. It helps to develop digital literacy, editorial skills, information, composition, critical thinking ability and reference skills.
Mostly, Wikipedia assignments are a very good option for effective learning. Use of Wikipedia in a classroom situation in levels students to learn how to contribute and use it properly. Being a public resource, it also enables learners to connect with global audiences.
Read the blog to know the reasons for using Wikipedia in learning, its advantages and disadvantages.
Reasons of Teaching through Wikipedia
Some of the most significant reasons for teaching through Wikipedia are –
- Wikipedia enables students to showcase their knowledge to a global audience. It makes them realize that their work is valuable and useful to the entire world. And this fact increases their enjoyment of learning.
- It increases our students’ motivation for learning as they receive feedback and appreciation from the whole world.
- Wikipedia assignments because of their real-world usefulness contain the potential to be more interesting than traditional assignments. For many students, participating in a Wikipedia assignment is more fun than doing a traditional assignment.
- Wikipedia platform enables students to learn different writing styles. Mainly they get to learn an encyclopedic style which is similar to dissertations, thesis and essay-like patterns.
- The Wikipedia platform strengthens the ability of students to find reliable and authentic sources and evaluate them critically.
- Students get to interact with the other group members and with the worldwide Wikipedia community. It teaches them how to work in a real-world collaborative community in real-time.
Student learning outcomes:
Teaching through Wikipedia has a lot of student learning outcomes. Some of the most significant effects of learning through Wikipedia are –
- Reading – Reading skills of every student get better. Because for the required information they need to do a lot of searching which includes more reading.
- Writing – Searching through Wikipedia also enhances writing skills. Because during the process they keep taking notes of additional information. Mainly they write in encyclopaedic, expository and summary style.
- Critical thinking – Wikipedia’s neutrality policy provides an opportunity for the students to think about lessons from a new perspective. Al develpoed truth table generator kind of tools changing the mind of students. It changes the earlier thought processes that require a persuasive or argumentative paper.
- Information literacy – Using Wikipedia in learning enables students to understand whether an article is trustworthy or not. It makes them identify partisanship and biased content.
- Literature review – Learning through Wikipedia includes summarising a lot of sources for the given topic. So, during the process, the student gets a broader perspective about the topic.
- Collaboration – Learning through Wikipedia enables students to work in groups collaborating. And group discussion is always the best way to learn new things.
- Community of practice – Through Wikipedia community students can be in touch with the people who study and work in the same field.
- Citation – Wikipedia shows the correct way of referencing and using trustworthy sources.
- Copyright – Students get to know the significance of attribution. Also, they learn the basics of free licenses and copyrights.
- Coding – Learning to use wiki markup is a great advantage of learning through Wikipedia. It is a form of coding and computer programming language. A student needs to learn these as it is the mechanics of working with Wikipedia.
- Online etiquette – Learning through Wikipedia is a great platform to learn online etiquette. Because it enables students to work with people online whom they may never meet in person.
- Online citizenship – By participating in large-scale projects and encountering challenges online, students get familiar with the online environment.
Advantages of Teaching through Wikipedia
- Customising Wiki for the classroom:
Many educators teach through customised blogs to encourage the online presence of the students. Through Wikipedia, teachers will get a more effective way to engage learners. As a teacher you can select a Wiki host, then create the wiki and explain its use to your students.
- Sharing resources:
Wikipedia enables educators to use it as an online resource platform to share relevant links to the current lesson. Similarly, students can also recommend their research and presentations here. Teachers can also provide media, docs, pdf files, PPT etc. through classroom Wiki.
- Post Lesson Activity:
A teacher can ask students to provide summaries on Wikipedia for every learned lesson. As a teacher, you should give that space to the students to share their feedback on every lesson. And then, you can review them and assess the learners’ performance. It will be helpful to design teaching methods for each student.
- Wikipedia for Editing:
Peer editing is a great advantage of learning through Wikipedia. This way, students can edit their classmate’s work and check for grammar, spelling mistakes and other things. And thus, by helping each other, learning will be more effective.
Wikipedia works as a great collaborative platform for both teachers and students. The teacher can allow the student to post his work and ask others to provide feedback about them. Peer collaboration through Wikipedia enables students to explore and exchange information. Same way, educators from different places can also collaborate to enrich themselves with new information.
Learning through Wikipedia can be a new motivation for learning as it is a new way to learn. Regular learning ways don’t involve students collaborating with others. So, using Wikipedia will make students engage in the whole teaching-learning method way better than before.
- Turn students into experts:
Wikipedia, being a public platform, many people will access the opinions and ideas posted by the students. So, it is the responsibility of students to provide authentic and quality information and ideas on the given topic. And consequently, students will know to teach others about any known topic.
Disadvantages of Learning through Wikipedia
Wikipedia assignments are new, motivating and inspirational. But there are several challenges to organising them. Some major challenges of Wikipedia learning are –
As a teacher, you have to plan the Wikipedia assignments quite earlier. Because coordinating with the Wikipedia community will take a bit extra time. Especially for educators who are new to using Wikipedia, this is an essential step for them.
Students cannot pace their work even if they want to. Because there are some critical elements involved in the feedback process of the Wikipedia community. And if rushed they might not be effective.
The grading system through Wikipedia assignment is quite different from the traditional assignment system. Especially new educators will take some time to get used to it.
Learning through Wikipedia can open a whole new world in education. It will upgrade the education system for teachers and students if used appropriately. All you need to have is patience, critical analysis, objectivity and a strong will to access different resources to gain knowledge.