DAY 2: Bangalore – Session 4: Wikipedia & Education


Usha Raman

Usha Raman’s talk „Definitive references and disruptive locations? The wikipedia as a school teaching-learning ressource“ discussed the potential of Wikipedia as a learning resource for both teachers and students. While the internet is entering classrooms it challenges traditional learning processes by introducing a discontinuity in exisiting modes of learning. So Usha is interested in how web-based resources may shape and change existing contexts, conceptions and processes of learning. She claims that WP gives both teachers and students the opportunity to learn about learning: First, with the appropriation of WP in classrooms processes of learning are negotiated. Second, WP allows teachers to gain insight in meaningmaking and uses of information resources. And hence provides an environment for students to develop critical, collaborative and creative literacies.

Nupoor Rawal & Srikiet Tadepalli

Nupoor Rawal’s and Srikiet Tadepalli’s talk on „Problems of authenticity in experiential information on the English Wikipedia“ took off with the popular experiment of TV host Stephen Colbert introducing the concept of ‘wikiality’ (which is worth watching) and adressed the question wether Wikipedia has to produce and represent truth and unified knowledge. Both argue against a prejudiced, static critique on WP, rather processes of knowledge production and the dynamics of this new environment, hence how users shape this space, should be taken into account. Therefore Wikipedia is not to be conceived as a static, complete product but as „an active, organic site of resistance“, as Nupoor stated. Srikiet, who himself is an admin in Englisch Wikipedia, gives insight into some phenomena of organic self-organisation. He claimed a.o. that Wikipedia itself is able to react on criticism through the development of policies and strategies. He also stated that in Wikipedia the wisdom of the masses is nothing else than the wisdom of the expert. Hence expertise and authority play an important role in the collaborative production of arcticles. Furthermore the paradox of NPOV was discussed and the question was raised how to encompass notions of neutrality.

The following discussion covered several issues, amongst them the question of scepsis and resistance to Wikipedia which seems to be caused due to Wikipedia challenging and threatening the existing order of knowledge. It was a clear consensus that determinist point of views and critique on wikipedia has to give way to a differentiated focus on user’s appropriation of the technology in different contexts. The question about best practice experience remained to be unanswered due to very little experiences in Indian classrooms. Furthermore a proposal was made for creating space in Wikipedia for the discussion and exchange of experiences on implementing Wikipedia as a learning resource in classrooms.