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.

  1. 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).
  2. Give everyone the same entry and then see who can make the greatest change in message with the least number of changes.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.