The second annual Wikimania conference was held over the weekend at Harvard Law School (much more professional location than last year's conference!) and I'm pleased to report that contributors are stressing quality over quantity. One statistic I found interesting was published in the journal, Nature, which found that there were four errors in Wikipedia for every three errors found in Encyclopedia Britannica. The reputation for inaccuracy may be undeserved after all!
This bodes well for schools. Educators may be more likely to use wikis for their own educational purposes as the reputation for Wikipedia improves.
Two of the significant advantages for the use of wikis over traditional encyclopedias, is first, they are FREE, and second, they can be instantly updated as new information becomes available. In addition, they are a great resource built into the Web 2.0 which allows content creation that is digitally available and accessible to all learners.
Teachers would do well to explore wikis as an instructional tool in their classrooms in the fall. Here are some links to get you started:
Wikis, Ready or Not, by Brian Lamb
Pros and Cons of using a Wiki for Education by Mark Philipson
Wikis by the Encyclopedia of Education Technology
Teachers Share Lessons Learned about Wikis in the Boston Globe, August 4, 2006
(I'm using my wikispace to post articles that I've written.)