Wikipedia is a free web-based reference guide. Wikipedia is a learning resource that can support students in completion of activities and tasks (Oliver, 1999), it is quick and simple to access so that students usually use this as there first point of call when investigating. I find Wikipedia a good starting point for discovering new things before I move onto a more academic or authorative source. The pages contain links to other resources and learning materials. Wikipedia is a collaborative encyclopedia, which anyone with access to the internet can edit, add or delete (Wikipedia, 2009), so students must be aware that it is not an authentic reference source.
My year 7 class are studying politics at the moment, and recently conducted group work on the Australian Parlimentary Process. The seekers in the groups searched Parliamentary System and found the relevant links needed for their groups, Commonwealth Government, House of Representatives and the Senate. This information was then reported back to the group for a class presentation.
As every classroom is time poor, Wikipedia is a fast, effective learning resource that can be utilised by both Learning Managers and students. It presents many opportunities for students to collaborate and investigate tasks that are meaningful and worthwhile (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). How often do you or your students use it?
Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999) Engagement Theory. Retrieved July 28 2009, from, http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
Oliver, R. (1999). Learning Design. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from, http://www.learningdesigns.uow.edu.au/project/learn_design.htm
Wikipedia. (2009). Wikipedia. Retrieved August 13 2009, from, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/wikipedia