Using Wikipedia and EVIL to Further Education
So a really smart guy, Virgil Griffith, came up with a way to scan the anonymous edits to Wikipedia articles and tie the IP addresses of various companies and government entities etc. to those edits. He then built a searchable database using the information so you can search by companies, locations or page titles. Wired even has a digg style “best of” list of edits. That’s all relatively old news but it does open some interesting writing and history options for teachers.
- You could assign different novel or historical characters and then the student’s goal is to figure out which article they’d edit/create and why. You could go as far as having the students do the writing/editing as the character (on their own wiki or document of course).
- Give everyone the same entry and then see who can make the greatest change in message with the least number of changes.
- The history version would be to create an entry on a historical even that is entirely factual but slants things entirely towards one side of the conflict. That’d be a great way to show how much things can be slanted while still being “just the facts.”
- It opens up all sorts of civics options depending on the topics you’re focusing on. You’d discuss motivations and the edits made. The fact that these companies/organizations are even bothering to edit Wikipedia also makes and interesting statement about the power and influence Wikipedia may have.