Classroom Activities: Once-scorned Wikipedia now embraced in school | California Watch

Several years ago, the Linguistic Society of America decided to embrace the old motto of “if you can’t beat them, join them” by organizing trained linguists to create and revise Wikipedia entries about languages and linguistics.  It was a great idea, since many of our students tend to believe things they see in print–even on Wikipedia–before they believe the person standing in front of them.  As  result, I now tell my students that it is okay for them to *cautiously* use Wikipedia for research on linguistic subjects.

Other educators are also beginning to embrace the use of Wikipedia in the classroom, including those described in the following link, who are using it as an opportunity to teach research and writing skills:  Once-scorned Wikipedia now embraced in school | California Watch.  

That is, they are assigning students to research and re-write Wikipedia entries.  It’s a great assignment: one that teaches students at all levels about information handling, framing, and source documentation.  And, it allows students the opportunity to publish their work–which often inspires greater attention to detail.


About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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One Response to Classroom Activities: Once-scorned Wikipedia now embraced in school | California Watch

  1. Pingback: Embracing change « Malcolm Bellamy's Lifelong Learning Blog

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