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The Wonderful World of Wikipedia

Through out all my years in school Wikipedia was one of those “forbidden sites.” I never used Wikipedia for any research papers because if I did, I wouldn’t get credit for the assignment. This morning I was telling my Barre class about what I was doing today and I mentioned that I was working on an assignment about Wikipedia. One of my students, a high school girl, said that Wikipedia was actually a blocked website at her school and was not allowed to access it at school. I didn’t go to high school when everyone was very tech savy, so I was surprised that high schools could block websites that could be so helpful to students if they utilize it the right way. Her comment made me think that educators might not be very well versed in how Wikipedia works, it has almost become an education taboo.

Getting Started

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this Wikipedia assignment. To be completely honest, I thought you just made a Wikipedia account and could go in and just edit any pages you wanted to. Boy was that far from the truth! To start off, Wikipedia is NOT easy to navigate. Of course, it’s easy to just search and read articles but it is not easy to get around on the back end. I thought maybe because I am new to the site and editing, it seems a hard to do… But it just got progressively harder to use and navigate.

I did enjoy learning about the platform itself and how everything must be cited in the correct way. It was also interesting to learn that you are able to edit certain pages and others are a lot more protected and require “prerequisites” to edit the bigger pages (like this one), which I think really protects the information being published.

ARUBA TODAY

For the News on Wiki Project I chose the online newspaper, Aruba Today. Aruba Today is Aruba’s only english newspaper.

The assignment started out pretty smooth. Once I was able to start my page in the Sandbox it started to make a little more sense. But again, the back end of Wikipedia is a whole other world. I had a hard time navigating all the tools in the Sandbox. I found myself looking up other Wikipedia pages to look at the layouts, but I eventually figured out my layout. Check out my page here!

After I got the layout down, it was time to add my content. This was the hardest part by far. I looked far and wide for references for my newspaper and they were VERY few and far between. Google gave me a few great links, but since they were social media accounts, Wikipedia would not consider then references so I added them to my external links. I eventually gave up on Google and headed to the ASU library to see if I could find anything there. From there I found two resources.

I felt very defeated by the end of this assignment. This project was a huge learning opportunity for me. Like I said, I was never allowed to use Wikipedia on any of my papers in school, but this assignment taught me that there is real work that goes into each and every page. It take a lot of work to dig around the internet for references to each piece of information that is published to Wikipedia.

I learned that contributing to Wikipedia may not be the gig for me, but I applaud all of the amazing individuals that make the Wikipedia world go round.

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