Kids should be taught wikis

Firstly IANAEd.D. That out of the way, kids should be taught to use wikis. (Kids meaning way little kids… the ones who can read but can’t change themselves)

Wikis (and super advanced things that are like wikis) are for real the future of the internet as a non-vehicle-for-commerce. Almost all major software projects have them, and of course there are many Wikis for other collections of knowledge, the most famous by far being Wikipedia.

Sure, whatever, I don’t want my kid reading about horse porn on wikis. But y’know, have schools set up wikis, use horse-porn filters and what-not when viewing Wikipedia, have a figure of authority monitor the kids passively.

The real reason kids should learn how to use wikis is to give them a good shot at seeing what is out there. If we set them free in the wonderful world of wikis, they might just learn how to learn things, or even more shockingly, how to share their own knowledge. Remember how exciting it really is for a kid to get a chance to run free through a library? It only gets better.

We don’t live in a world where you just can’t find stuff out anymore. That was called the mid-90s. (tee hee). Most kids are taught that you can get information from teachers, maybe. Some get to use textbooks too. The lucky ones get to use libraries, or even cite news-related sources on the internet. But really, kids are waaay smarter than adults—they just don’t know it yet. If we gave them a head start at being able to learn and contribute to the internet, it might catch on. The most amazing thing about Wikis is how much you end up reading about when you just look up like… “cereal” (I am so serious).

Oh yeah also dont’ worry about Wikipedia being wrong sometimes. It’s not like no kid was ever told something wrong by a teacher or textbook. They’ll recover from the blow, especially if you remind them not to believe everything they read.

I’m not saying replace textbooks, teachers, or libraries, that would be kinda dumb for reasons that are beyond the scope of this blog post.

So find a little kid and show him the article about his favorite TV show on Wikipedia. Tell him how to click on the links. (S)he’ll probably have learned all about DNA, the declaration of independence, and some underground ny rappers before you can say “fun, huh?”.

3 Comments »

  1. Mars Said,

    March 24, 2006 @ 11:39

    This is a new development in the ‘what good is a wiki’ argument.

  2. Mars Said,

    March 24, 2006 @ 11:39

    sorry I meant http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4840340.stm

  3. Jenny Said,

    June 4, 2006 @ 22:42

    Forgot to read your blog for about 2 months (tee hee.) But this is a good post!

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