Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wikipedia Reflection

The past two weeks in ECI 296, we had an assignment to help us learn about Wikipedia and in a broad sense about common mutual knowledge. This reflection is related to how that style of learning can impact the classroom.

Phtot credit

I edited my high school's page on Wikipedia. I went to Lake Norman High School and I added to the page a section on the arts at the school. The link for Lake Norman High School's Wikipedia page. 

Photo credit
My user name on Wikipedia is Lmstoltz. I added a short bio about myself on Wikipedia about that I am an alumni to Lake Norman High School and I am a current undergraduate at NC State and in the Elementary Education program. 
Over all the experience with Wikipedia was surprisingly easy. The only issue I ran into was involving the technical things like how to do a header or bullet points, that is only the code stuff. Other than that it was pretty strait forward. I added what I wanted to the page with the special codes, previewed it, asked to be updated if changes where made, and published it. The main reaction I had to this experience is that anyone can look up Lake Norman High School and see what I added, which I think is super exciting. Wikipedia is a site that I have practically grow up with as a reference and was always warned away from the information on it, even though I used it for quick references. I was excited that lots of people can see what I added but it also shows how anyone can add anything to a Wikipedia site. 
I used my power of adding to my high school's site with responsibility and added very positive things but I am sure there are people that would potentially add something horribly, or an angry review to a Wiki site. Now I realize that other people could fix the negative additions to a site, but the reverse could happen too. Being the general public's knowledge, a bias could be built into a particular generation which is a flaw in my eyes about Wikipedia as a whole.
Once I added my contributions to Lake Norman High School's page, nothing happened to it. No editing nor any talking on the talk page. I am assuming that no one from the school checks the Wikipedia page consistently to see if the added material is true and accurate. So there was not an opportunity for me to respond or say anything to the talk page. 
It may seem silly but I will absolutely keep checking on my Wikipedia addition even past this class. I think it is so cool that I added some information about my high school for anyone to see. I have pride about what I added, the school is strong in not only sports but in the arts as well and I was able to fill the gap on the Wiki page. 
As for editing Wikipedia pages in the future, I am not sure yet. Unless I feel strongly that something need to be added or changed in an area that I am confident that I have knowledge about the topic, am well educated on the different positions and can make a non biased addition, I will. With that said, if I feel that someone else will have better input, I will leave it to the professional to add it. Just for the sake of them being correct and noteworthy. 
Using Wikipedia in my future classrooms, I predict under certain circumstances only. If the students are able to see what they learned and follow a relevant link away from Wikipedia and the student cite the original source of information and not Wikipedia, I think that is good use. That use of Wikipedia gets to the original source and hopefully any biases will be ironed out, shows digital aptness in using available resources and can lead to many new sources of information provided on the Wikipedia site. 
Also in class, we discussed using Wikipedia as a learning tool as we did in ECI 296. Doing a similar activity will show my students everything that I have learned and show caution to blindly accepting truth and being about to check the reference and look at the talk and history page to see if it was a topic of debate. By doing an activity similar to what I did in class would help explain WHY. That question is often better accepted when the lesson is learned first hand by the students. By showing students how easy it is to add information to a Wikipedia site it and how some sites are heavily monitored and additions can be deleted, the students can learn the pros and cons to community knowledge.
Overall I really enjoyed this assignment. I learned a lot about a site that I never understood but will grow as a digital citizen for now knowing it. 

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