Wikipedia | English homework help

Americans believe childhood is a distinct time of life, and that schools have a responsibility to protect children from physical and emotional danger, exposure to disturbing information, as well as from the “undesirable” elements of society.

Americans make age requirements for exposure to adult situations and risks: movies are rated to exclude children under a certain age, there are minimum age requirements to purchase cigarettes, alcohol, and pornography. Similarly, the responsibilities of driving, signing contracts, getting married, or serving in the military are all limited by age.

In schools, the expectation that children should be protected from some information is most evident in the use of textbooks and the control of the school library. But wait. A SmartPhone can access any digital information in the world, translate it to your language, and read it to you. Infants play with their parents’ SmartPhones; a two or three year old can use an iPad, and a four year old can use many SmartPhone apps before he or she can read.

Will schoolbooks, textbooks and school libraries be replaced by Wikipedia?

Textbooks were not prevalent in American schools until the mid-1800s, when William McGuffey wrote the first series of readers. Prior to the rise of the textbook, children studied

sources — newspapers, authentic literature, correspondence with relatives, compendia of information in history or science, and other treatises written for adults. And the Bible, of course. With the definition of childhood as a special stage in human development that should be protected, and with the rise of the public schools, textbooks became more prevalent.

Textbooks offer standardization of content, as well as standardization of instruction. However, the content of textbooks is always an area of controversy, almost as much as the Internet is an area of controversy. At times the controversy concerns content that is “appropriate” for children, such as including human reproduction in biology textbooks, or including The Scarlet Letter in literature anthologies.

At other times, textbooks are defended because competitive media, such as some software and the Internet, are not edited especially for children. When everyone has access to everything, how can it matter what’s in a textbook? This is a conflict of values that the growing influence of the Internet, smart phones, and hand-held devices causes us to examine.


· Wales, J. TED Talk: The birth of Wikipedia.

· Cortez, M. B. “Should you use wikipedia as a reliable source? Scientists think so.” Ed Tech Magazine. December 14, 2017

· Sahut, G., Tricot, A. Wikipedia: an opportunity to rethink the links between sources’ credibility, trust and authority. First Monday, University of Illinois at Chicago Library, 2018, 22 (11), page 10 to end.

· Jona, K., Penza, T.M., Gutmann, J., Muehlich, S., Zolk, O., Wojnowski, L. Renke Maas, Stefan Engelhardt, Antonio Sarikas. Accuracy and completeness of drug information in wikipedia: A comparison with standard textbooks of pharmacology.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106930

· Jemielniak, D. (2019, December 8). Wikipedia: Why is the common knowledge resource still neglected by academics? PubMed Central.

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a brief essay describing Wikipedia’s reputation and credibility. Imagine Wikipedia in comparison to other encyclopedias, not to peer-reviewed scientific literature. Address three perspectives:

· Your personal experience. What is your initial opinion of Wikipedia’s credibility? What is your experience with Wikipedia? What have people told you? What is your surface opinion?

· Wikipedia’s stated purpose. What is the purpose of Wikipedia? What is Wikipedia’s expectation for accuracy? What is Wikipedia’s statement concerning validity? How does Wikipedia judge itself? How does it select the writers?

· Research. Now dive in and consider the expert evaluations and opinions on Wikipedia’s validity. Dive into the research. Cite at least two experts or research studies. What is community-based credibility? Has the credibility of Wikipedia changed over time?

an essay, not short answers as if this is a quiz. Consider my questions as you respond in essay format. Include at least two citations to these or other references.

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