Friday, August 14, 2009

The Wonderful World of WikiPedia!

Wikipedia Encyclopedia is continuously criticised for its shift from the traditional expert driven encyclopedia as it encompasses collaborative articles contributed by volunteers world wide (Wikipedia, 2009). This free web based encyclopedia is a non profit foundation which allows individuals to add or delete information in regards to a particular topic, although issues do arrive as to whether the information added by an individual is viable and accurate (Wikipedia, 2009). This collaborative and multilingual (Wikipedia, 2009) wiki (for more information on wikis is available on a previous blog) can be a useful website within the classroom as it can be a quick and easy reference point for students to obtain knowledge on a specific subject giving them the ability to further research information on the web using other resources.

Throughout my schooling years Wikipedia has been a website we have been told to AVOID AT ALL COSTS! Due to its unreliability many educational institutes do not allow its use as a form of gathering knowledge and using it as an academic reference. Due to this I have unfortunately never had the opportunity to explore this program and I was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of credible information that is on the site. After exploring the many pages on Wikipedia my views have changed in regards to its reliability as a source and its use as an educational tool. If you take the time to check its references to decipher the graffiti from the academic sources you will be pleasantly surprised like myself to find interesting and useful facts and resources that can be incorporated into the classroom.

While on my exploration of the site I came accross some of Wikipedia's sister projects. One sister project in which I thought would be a fantastic tool to incorporate within the classroom would be the Wikibooks. This wikimedia community is just like an online library with over
30 000 books created and edited by the online community (Wikibooks, 2009). Within this you can access a variety of books within different subject areas but my favourite by far is Wikijunior books for children. The books within this area are written by an online community of writers and teachers while being child friendly and reliable (Wikibooks, 2009).

Both Wikipedia and the Wikibooks (wikijunior) can be incorporated as pedagogical tools to help enhance the knowledge and skills of students within the classroom. Within a unit of work such as 'spinning in space' students could use Wikipedia to establish some ground knowledge within the area from here students can direct their own learning by establishing the direction of their learning by choosing what to study. Once this has been established the LM can incorporate the use of the Wikijunior books to enhance student knowledge and assist them within their learning journey, this could also be used as a means to spark brainstorming between the students on the subject. The use of the Wikipedia Encyclopedia and wiki book could be incorporated into learning design under Olivers resource framework (as cited in Australian University Teachers Committee, 2003). This learning design is focused on the Solar system and incorporates resources (Wikipedia and Wikibooks) which are ICT mediated and can be used as an effective pedagogical tool to scaffold the students learning through teacher support.
Wikipedia and its several sister projects (for more information head to the Wikipedia home page) can prove to be an effective tool within the classroom. Although the LM must ensure that these are used meaningfully and are not just 'slapped' into the presentation to make it look effective.


Australian University Teachers Committee. (2003). Learning Design. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from
Wikibooks. (2009). Wikibooks. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from
Wikibooks. (2009). Wikijunior. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from
Wikipedia. (2009). Wikipedia. Retreived August 14, 2009, from


  1. Hi Amanda,
    The wikibooks that you found on Wikipedia sound like a great resource to use within a classroom or lesson. I am definitely going to have a look and explore these to see if i can use them within my classroom.
    Wikijunior sounds amazing as well, I will have to look at this as well.
    Thanks for sharing your findings,

  2. Hi Sarah

    Thanks for your comment! Yes Wikijunior is a fantastic site to visit as it holds so much fantastic information that can be incorporated within classrooms from P-12. Some of these books are written by experts within their fields e.g. the Solar System book is written by NASA employees! Not only can the students learn from these insightful and informative books but with the help of their teacher they could even create their own online wiki book that can help enhance others knowledge. Of course this would need to hold factual and referenced information and must be scaffolded and overseen by the educator!

    Thanks again for your post, look forward to hearing more from you!


  3. Hi Amanda,
    I also was taught to stay far, far away from Wikipedia at school and university. Now after reading your post you have inspired me to explore Wikijuniour books for my preps and to use Wikipedia as a quick and easy starting point for information for myself as a learning manager and for upper primary students. I especially love your idea of a class book, it would be fantastic to publish together as a class, what a great idea!
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful inspiration