I love Wikipedia and the collaborative approach to creation that it represents, but as with any information resource, Wikipedia is not all things to all people. One area where it is problematic for schools is that it contains some content that is not child appropriate. Also, as an “open environment” it is always changing…which is potentially both good and bad.
To address this, SOS Children and a group of dedicated volunteers have now launched Wikipedia for Schools. This is a subset of the best Wikipedia articles that are child-friendly and educationally-oriented and have been correlated to the UK National Curriculum. It is “frozen” so that vandalism, etc. are not concerns, and you can even download it as a DVD. What a great project!
With the increasing wealth of “copyleft” and Open Source content that’s out there, I’ve been thinking about a variety of potential projects like this. Examples include adapting Wiktionary for student use (especially on mobile devices), creating a CD of Open Source art, photos, video and music for student project creation, organizing a list of public domain ebooks by reading level, and more.
There is so much value in this content and providing it in a monitored, safe environment and format would help speed its adoption. It would definitely take a big group of volunteers to work on it though. Would free screened resources like this be of interest to your school? Would you be interested in helping put it together?
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