Teachers are hypocrites when it comes to Wikipedia

By and large, the teachers had a fairly dismissive attitude toward research conducted on the Internet, but that hasn't stopped them from consulting Wikipedia. 

When it comes to Wikipedia, educators are mighty hypocrites, according to a new Pew research study

The researchers surveyed 2,462 middle and high school teachers to learn how they're using new technologies in the classrooms. By and large, the teachers had a fairly dismissive attitude toward research conducted on the Internet: 76 percent "strongly agree" that search engines have conditioned kids to believe research should be quick and easy and that they "equate research with Googling."

Meanwhile, 60 percent also agree that "today’s digital technologies make it harder for students to find and use credible sources of information”

That hand-wringing over digital technologies hasn't stopped teachers from using Wikipedia—a lot. The Pew study found that rates of Wikipedia usage among teachers was actually much higher than among the population at large: 87 percent versus 53 percent. And 99 percent said they used search engines.

And who wouldn't? Search engines do make some research quick and easy. In fact, by taking the chore out of mundane queries, sites like Google and Wikipedia create a lot more opportunities for truly in-depth research, both online and off.

Teachers should stop worrying about the fact that kids use the Internet for research, and instead just teach them how to use it well.

Photo by msrsdkrebs/Flickr

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