High School Research and Critical Literacy: Social Studies With and Despite Wikipedia

Fall 2009

Source: Harvard Educational Review, Fall 2009.

Drawing on experiences in his social studies classroom, the author evaluates both the challenges and possibilities of helping high school students develop critical research skills. The author describes how he used Wikipedia to design classroom activities that address issues of authorship, neutrality, and reliability in information gathering. The online encyclopedia is often lamented by teachers, scholars, and librarians, but its widespread use necessitates a new approach to teaching research.
In describing his experience, the author concludes that teaching research skills in the contemporary context requires ongoing observations of the research strategies and practices students already employ as well as the active engagement of student interest and background knowledge.

Updated: Oct. 19, 2009