Wikipedia banned in schools?By Justin Mann
Wikipedia has been loved and it has been hated. It has been cited as a huge boon to the sharing and spread of information, and is easily one of the world's largest collaborative projects. It has also been cited as an example of where bias or poor research can lead to inaccurate or outright false information.
It is the latter point that has many school officials feathers all ruffled, with many schools banning or attempting to ban the use of Wikipedia, at least in schools. With an increasing number of students, including college students, relying on Wikipedia as an information source, school officials are "concerned" with the potential for inaccurate or biased information to be presented as valid research. The issue isn't so much that Wikipedia might contain information that isn't factual, but that students are using it as a primary source of information and not extending beyond it - not verifying those facts, simply assuming that what the Wiki says is true.
But is that worth banning the site over? Should the students be responsible for doing further research and verifying the data they find on Wikipedia? Moreover, should the schools be allowed to dictate what research materials students are allowed to use? Considering that part of the Wikipedia culture is relying on third-party sources to find data, it would seem counter-intuitive to prohibit students from using it, at least as a reference point.
In any case, it's an interesting story - and one that is sure to continue as Wikipedia grows in scope and it becomes more readily available, or less available if these schools have their way.