Friday, February 27, 2015

Judging the Quality of Wikis and Non-vetted Sites

As far as Wikipedia goes I do allow my students to use it as a source. I ask them to trey and validate all the information they find by using multiple sources for the information that they include into their projects. I think allowing kids to use all types of sources and then try and validate that information with other sources gives  them a realistic idea of how to find credible information. In my opinion Wikipedia may not be the best source for information but it often one of the first places that people can get information from. This is something that people tend to look for when accessing information. People want the quick easy answer, therefore, I think it’s a good idea to teach students how to get quick correct information.

At my school YouTube is blocked on all student accounts. Teacher do have access to the videos placed on YouTube. I don’t allow students to use youtube videos in their projects but I do use some videos for class. I show the students the Tony Gwynn OTL video from ESPN in my health class.


  1. William,
    I think that's why I love Youtube...I just watched your video and got all teary eyed. Its definitely those visuals and those teaching moments that allow for great impact and instruction. I also use Youtube with my students. I think its a great tool.

    I too agree that Wikipedia can be helpful. Are your students good with finding multiple sources of information?

  2. It's funny I added that video because I remembered watching OTL and think wow that gives a pretty good description of what he had to go through so I added it into my lesson on chewing tobacco.

    I wouldn't say all my students do a good job finding multiple sources but I'd say most of them do well. I think it's the way they would look up information in an outside setting. I can remember many times while out with friends looking up quick answers on my phone to settle arguments. I think its the most realistic way people would look up information.

  3. I agree, I think wikipedia is great place for students to get quick information, and many of my students use it as a starting point for research (among other things). The problem I run into is that my students often find information on wikipedia, but they don't take their research further by verifying with other sources. At times, finding a quick answer on wikipedia seems to be totally appropriate, but other times the students need to dig deeper. I was hoping that as students get older they might not consider wikipedia the "best" source, but it sounds like even your high school students might struggle with finding multiple sources.

  4. I think that with the ease of technology we are use to the quick answer. Wiki gives us this and unless it is something we feel passionate about, that's as far as it goes. Maybe it is the same for students. When being asked to find an answer or to research something, Wiki may be their go to. It’s easy to navigate and understand, depending on the topic there usually is a lot of information provided. In the students’ eyes, it may be enough to get the job done. Many times, deep digging for research is a new concept for them, not many of them have had to generate multi-page research documents with multiple sources and back up. Thinking about it, sources now come from online, not so much archive libraries and books. Maybe it’s about more experience and requirements, not just good vs. bad sources. What do you think?

    1. I definitely agree with the quick answer being the norm in our society. I agree that I think the experience and requirements are what motivates the students to find multiple sources

  5. I like that idea Mallory! Maybe it is more about requirements and experiences than about good/bad sources. It really isn't natural for students (especially younger ones) to automatically think..."I should probably double or triple check the source I am using."

  6. Questioning our beliefs is never something we're inclined to do. It's one of the reasons I try to challenge your assumptions, like the credibility of Wikipedia. I'm by no means a Wikipedia disciple, but I provided counterarguments to challenge the pervasive notion that Wikipedia = sloppy research.

    So, perhaps the challenge is to have students research multiple perspectives about an issue, critique the quality of the information, and state which side they fall on and why.
    (note, this is what we do for the research paper/bib assignment in 6140)