(Un)Reliability of Wikipedia

April 2, 2008 at 12:15 pm (Cool, Web 2.0, Wikis)

I came across this great lesson idea on FactCheckED.org and had to share it. 


This lesson has students examine wikipedia to determine if it can be a reliable source of information. 

As teachers, how do we feel about allowing students to use wikipedia for research?  Many teachers will not allow it’s use and will give students failing grades for citing it.  I’m confused by this.  Isn’t the point of research to collect information and data from a variety of sources?  As long as students do not use just wikipedia then I don’t see the problem.  If what they read on a wikipedia site matches information read elsewhere, why can’t it not be used?  As educators we need to be more open-minded when students want to use web 2.0 tools in school.  Instead of denying their use, embrace them and make them work for you and your students.  Teach students how to determine the reliability of any website, whether it is a wiki or any other site. 


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“Hate the Player, Not the Game”

March 17, 2008 at 4:45 pm (Blogs, Electonic Devices, Social Bookmarking, Social Media, Web 2.0, Wikis)

I just read a very interesting editorial in this month’s T.H.E. Journal.  Jeff Weinstock explains how “for new technologies to be successfully integrated into schools, we must first fix the users, not the tools”.  After reading his editorial, it became clear.  In education, we are so quick to ban the tools instead of doing what we are meant to do, teach the user. 

I am in the midst of taking an online course on Web 2.0 tools.  Many of the class participants are expressing frustration with many schools blocking tools for instruction, such  as wikis, blogs and social bookmarking sites.  Educators are afraid of misuse and misconduct while using any type of tool where the slightest bit of control is taken away.  Unfortunately, in the 21st Century, more and more options are readily available with electronic devices and online technologies that maintaining control is almost impossible.  If you block one aspect, students are smart enough to go around the block and find another way in.  Instead of just teaching and modeling appropriate behaviors, we are taunting the technologically savvy student to find a way around the system.  We are entering into a new realm where technology leads the way.  Educators need to focus more on teaching what is socially acceptable instead of the quick fix, which is to ban the tool.  

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When Copying a Purchased CD Becomes a Crime

February 4, 2008 at 2:48 pm (Uncategorized)


I came across the article above last week and couldn’t believe what I was reading.  The RIAA is now saying that even though you purchase a CD you do not have the rights to rip the CD to your computer. 

I’m confused.  I was under the impression that if you bought a CD you had bought the right to rip it so that you can listen to the music in other media formats.  Now this is not the case?  There has to be a point when you have paid for the rights to enjoy a song.  And exactly what does this do for education and digital storytelling.  It has been my policy to show students and teachers how to rip a song down to computer format so they can include 30 seconds of it into a digital story.  Copyright allows such a use for the purpose of education.  What will have to happen to the copyright laws once this ridiculous act is passed? 

 I would hope that I am not the only educator upset by this proposed Act.  Unfortunately, until we make a stand as a group of individuals (boycott cd’s, picket music stores, write letters to the editor, etc) the RIAA will keep passing ridiculous acts right below our noses.

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Discover Now Archived!

January 15, 2008 at 4:16 pm (Cool, Resources)

I just realized that one of my favorite magazines, Discover, now has an archive section dating back to 1992.  All of this is available on their website for free.  You don’t even need to subscribe and login to access the information.

“>Discover Archives

This magazine contains many interesting articles on a variety of subjects including Heath & Medicine, Technology, Space, Mind & Brain, Physics, Math, Living World and many others. This site could be in the classroom for student research along with other internet and library resources.

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Ten Most Common Complaints to Social Media Adoption

January 11, 2008 at 2:06 pm (Social Media) (, , , , , , )

I read an interesting article in ReadWriteWeb today on common objections to the use of Social Media.

Link to Article 

While reading this I was constantly comparing what the author was saying to the world of education. Although the article is set up for the business world I hear many of these same objections when I try to convince teachers to use social media to enhance instruction. Below is a brief overview of the ten common objections to social media. Read through them. Do you feel they apply to education? Do you think social media is a good tool to integrate into the curriculum or is it just a waste of time?

1. I suffer from information overload already.

2. So much of what’s discussed online is meaningless. These forms of communication are shallow and make us dumber. We have real work to do

3. I don’t have the time to contribute and moderate, it looks like it takes a lot of time and energy.

4. Our customers don’t use this stuff, the learning curve limits its usefulness to geeks.

5. Communicators [bloggers, tweeters] are so fickle, better to stay unengaged than risk random brand damage. We don’t want hostile comments left about us on any forum we’ve legitimized.6. Traditional media and audiences are still bigger, we’ll do new stuff when they do.       

7. Upper management won’t support it/dedicate resources for it.

8. These startups can’t offer meaningful security, they may not even be around in a year – I’ll wait until Google or our enterprise software vendor starts offering this kind of functionality

9. There are so many tools that are similar, I can’t tell where to invest my time so I don’t use any of it at all.

10. That stuff’s fine for sexy brands, but we sell [insert boring B2B brand] and are known for stability more than chasing the flavor-of-the-month. We’re doing just fine with the tools we’ve got, thanks.

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Students and Electronic Devices

January 3, 2008 at 4:15 pm (Electonic Devices) (, , , , , , )

As the world advances into the 21st Century, educators have to constantly be aware of what changes are taking place.  Many students in this era have cell phones, pda’s, laptops, ipods, psp’s and various other gadgets available to them.  The question for educators is do we fight this gadget war and deny these tools in schools or welcome them  with open arms taking advantage of the technology these toys have to offer.  Many school administrators feel there is more harm in allowing certain electronic devices in the building then there are benefits.  Others, however, advocate the use in school and think of innovative ways these tools could be used to improve upon preexisting classroom strategies. 

I am interested to see what others have to say in regards to these devices. Do you advocate the use of cell phones, ipods, psp’s, pda’s and even laptops in school or are you an opponent?  Let’s hear your thoughts…. 

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