Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wiki - 'pedia et al . . .

While the term 'wiki' has been credited to Cunningham (1994, as cited by Augar, Raitman and Zhou, 2004), Wikipedia was created by Wales and Sanger in 2001, to be used as a reference tool.

While I use Wikipedia as a reference guide, I did not realise the other projects the Wikimedia Foundation also hosted - a dictionary/thesaurus, collection of quotations, a directory of species and a source for free textbooks and manuals to name a few.

What I like about Wikipedia is that there is a lot of information readily available at your fingertips, without having to go the heavy encyclopedia of yesteryear. When using Wikipedia, it is to find out a little about a subject, before going to more authoritative sources.

How could I use Wikipedia in the classroom? A common unit theme for Early Childhood is Minibeasts. By using Wikipedia to determine the terminology, I can then search for and find other more authoritative sources to gain information to engage the students in the classroom. Once such example sourced from Wikipedia is from the Victorian Museum. This has information and games for the students to use to research about Minibeasts and confirm their learning. It is also a relevant Australian site with links to other information and activities about Minibeasts.
By using Wikipedia, I found a relevant Australian source of information for my early childhood unit.

Augar, N., Raitman, R. & Zhou, W. (2004). Teaching and learning online with wikis. In R. Atkinson, C. McBeath, D. Jonas-Dwyer & R. Phillips (Eds), Beyond the comfort zone: Proceedings of the 21st ASCILITE Conference (pp. 95-104). Perth, 5-8 December.


Victorian Museum

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