Thanks for getting in touch. Once we have gathered more evidence it would be really useful
to liaise with Wikimedia Australia, so if you could facilitate that in any way that would
Re school libraries we don't have any contact with them at this stage. We have to be a
little bit careful about who we contact as we need to operate within the parameters
outlined in our project description, so this may be something we explore in a later
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2021 19:22:15 +1000
From: Pru Mitchell <pru.mitchell(a)gmail.com>
Subject: [Wiki-research-l] Re: Negative views of Wikipedia in schools
[was: Re: Wiki-research-l Digest, Vol 193, Issue 5
To: Research into Wikimedia content and communities
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
It is good to hear about your University of Canberra research project, and
I would definitely be interested in responses to your question from other
Based on experience over several years in the Wikimedia Australia
chapter I can report that while we have presented to school library
staff in online professional learning sessions and conferences, we have
been involved in only a handful of secondary school programs and no primary
In order to reach classroom teachers we would rely on teacher education
faculty and teacher librarians in schools to update teachers on media
literacy and fact checking techniques. Noting that many ACT primary schools
do not have qualified library staff (an issue in a number of Australian
states) this would need a multipronged attack.
Perhaps a survey of attitudes of teacher educators and teacher librarians
could be a starting point. There is an email list for ACT school library
staff that I can provide to you directly.
All the best, Pru
On Wed, 15 Sept 2021 at 18:25, Mathieu O'Neil <mathieu.oneil(a)anu.edu.au>
Apologies if this has been covered previously on the list. I was inspired
to write by the reference in the post below to the Wiki Ed Program.
I am about to launch with an education scholar colleague a funded research
project aiming to develop fact-checking techniques with Y5, Y6 and Y7
schoolchildren in three Canberra schools (Australian Capital Territory). We
are basing our approach to fact-checking on concepts developed by education
scholars in the US such as "civic online reasoning" and "lateral
look away from the (potentially dubious) content; check the source. The
easiest and most effective way to "check the source" is to look at a
Wikipedia entry and check the reference list.
In parallel, I am convening a first-year communication course on media
literacy at the University of Canberra with 140+ students. A couple of
weeks ago we did a group activity on Wikipedia, where students were asked
to review and discuss a Wiki Ed Program / Wikimedia brochure ("Instructor
Basics: How to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool") which clearly outlines
editorial and behavioral policies such as NPOV, Reliable Sources, Assume
Good Faith, etc.
We then asked whether any prior assumptions had been challenged. It became
clear that when they were in high-school, these students had been
forcefully and repeatedly instructed by their teachers to NEVER use
Wikipedia ("unreliable"). After completing the activity, students
overwhelmingly expressed amazement about the existence of quality controls
on Wikipedia and said their opinion of its reliability had changed.
We also have anecdotal evidence that primary and secondary school teachers
hold similar negative opinions about WP.
It would be helpful for us to find out if this negative image is specific
to the Canberra education system, or has been encountered elsewhere. To
that end, I would very much appreciate it if anyone could point me to any
studies or projects which explore this issue, or who could share their
experiences of how teachers perceive Wikipedia.
If you want to get in touch off-list I usually respond quickest to email
sent at my primary address: mathieu.oneil(a)canberra.edu.au
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