Monday, December 14, 2009

Wikipedia and Critical Literacy

While the term 'wiki' has been credited to Cunningham (1994, as cited by Augar, Raitman and Zhou, 2004), Wikipedia was created by Wales and Sanger in 2001, to be used as a reference tool.

I use Wikipedia as a reference guide, I did not realise the other projects the Wikimedia Foundation also hosted - a dictionary/thesaurus, collection of quotations, a directory of species and a source for free textbooks and manuals to name a few.What I like about Wikipedia is that there is a lot of information readily available at your fingertips, without having to go the heavy encyclopedia of yesteryear. When using Wikipedia, it is to find out a little about a subject, before going to more authoritative sources.

As a Learning Manager/ educator in the classroom This will be a good discussion for older students by comparing source of information through the lens of ‘comparing’ and 'analyzing' which is the more reputable source. Wikipedia has good source to use bearing in mind what is the author’s back ground, reputation, values etc. Again this relates to critical literacy… ( mentioned in my previous postings).
Winch et. al (2004) described Critical Literacy as reading with knowledge of how language works; with an awareness of where the text positions the reader; with perception of ideas and values and attitudes that constitute the implicit framework of the text and out of which the text is generated.
Another way to encourage our students as readers to actively analyze texts and it offers strategies for uncovering underlying messages. Although there are many theories and approaches we can encourage our student to be critical in finding source or information, my favourite, I guess is the questioning approach. According to whom?

Cheers Mary-Ann

Winch G., (2004). Literacy reading and writing and children’s literature (2nd ed.).South Melbourne,Victoria Aus: Oxford University Press.

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