Wikipedia is a free, web-based encyclopedia. Wikipedia has millions of articles that have been written by volunteers around the world. Most of its articles can be edited by anyone who wishes to add to the website, which at times makes its information some what unreliable (Wikipedia, 2009).
I have used Wikipedia often as a way of gaining a general understanding of a topic before researching the topic more thoroughly using other resources. The resources that are available in each Wikipedia article are also very useful to both teachers and student. For example, a quick search of the topic 'pets' brings up an article which includes, pictures, tables and also links to many other articles pertaining to the subject matter.
According to Marzano & Pickering (1997) the most effective learners have developed powerful habits of mind that enable them to think critically. This I believe to be of high importance when allowing students to research using Wikipedia. One way to achieve this is to encourage students to seek accuracy, "any time you receive information that appears suspicious or inaccurate, you should take time to check for accuracy" (Marzano & Pickering, 1997).
What do you think? What highs and lows have you had using this technology?
Marzan0, R., Pickering, D., Arredondo, D., Blackburn, G., Brandt, R., Moffett, C., et al. (1997)Dimensions of Learning, Teachers Manual. Aurora: McRel
Wikipedia (2009). Wikipedia. Retrieved, August 19, 2009, from