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ERIC Number: EJ826107
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Wikipedia: Friend, Not Foe
Crovitz, Darren; Smoot, W. Scott
English Journal, v98 n3 p91-97 Jan 2009
As online research has become an increasingly standard activity for middle school and high school students, Wikipedia ( has simultaneously emerged as the bane of many teachers who include research-focused assignments in their courses. An online encyclopedia that allows anyone to edit its entries, Wikipedia has educators fed up with students using the site as a primary resource and citing its content in their essays. For some the site seems to represent the worst of how the Internet has dumbed down the research process, with its easily accessible but unsubstantiated (if not downright false) information on almost any topic, a student's citation of which amounts to a mockery of legitimate inquiry. After all, how can a site that allows "anyone" to add, change, or remove information be credible? Seen in a different light, Wikipedia provides a unique opportunity to get students involved in ongoing conversations about writing for a real audience, meeting genre expectations, establishing credibility, revising for clarity and purpose, and entering public discussions about the nature of truth, accuracy, and neutrality. In this article, the authors collaborate on successful ways to build Wikipedia assignments into English classes.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A