Every year in the fifth grade at my school they do a research paper on a particular state. It is called the State Report. Part of my responsibilities in this assignment is teaching the students how to do better research . Inevitably someone brings up Wikipedia and such begins my explanation of wiki’s – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Wiki’s allow students (or other users) to collaborate on a website or project. A group of students can work on a Hagaddah. The teacher will be able to see who gave their input (based on their screen names) and who did not. It therefore fosters individual accountability on a group project. Students can also edit each other’s parts to ensure a better outcome.
Wikis are editable. Unfortunately, there are people who will wrongly edit a wiki, either by accident or on purpose and some people may not even know. In the past few years, Wikipedia has gotten better at reviewing changes and making sure that they are correct. But not all wikis are that aware of changes. I tell my students that Wikipedia is a good secondary source. They cannot use it alone, they need to corroborate the info with another source.
Not so much ugly. Wiki’s are a good and useful tool that many teacher’s currently use and more should use.