Full Circle Resource Kits

Getting StartedDatabase ChoicesQuestion to QueryOperatorsHoming InBrowsingWeb 2.0EvaluationEthical Use

Just Added

Home > Web 2.0 > Curriculum

Using Wikipedia In Your ClassroomWiki Globe Jumpshot


Wikipedia is a collaboratively edited online encyclopedia with well over a 1.5 million entries. As we’ve seen in Doug Johnson’s article Wikipedia Ban It or Boost It?, this collaboratively written online encyclopedia is a valuable resource, especially if you understand the Wiki process and keep an open (if somewhat skeptical) mindset.

This is also the right frame of mind for using Wikipedia in your school setting.  The web is a wonderful place to find lesson plans. While many lesson plans reference Wikipedia as a source, not many focus directly on how to participate in the writing environment provided by the world’s widest Wiki. Not surprisingly the best source of advice on how to use Wikipedia in the classroom comes from Wikipedia itself.  Here’s a quick introduction to using Wikipedia in your classroom.

School and University Projects:

This extensive article provides a template for success. It will certainly give you a structured starting place as you begin to wrap your ideas around the wiki way of work.

Wikipedia’s instructor orientation will help you plan your strategy and lessons. Wikipedia provides you with an overview, list of  suggested activities, and a list of current projects using Wikipedia as part of their curriculum.  Although the projects are mainly being run by universities, this work can also be adapted for middle and high school projects.

Overview / Guidelines

9 common sense steps to running your wikipedia project.

Be sure to read these guidelines: "No original research" and "What Wikipedia is not". 

Educational Template: School and university projects/ educational boilerplate: 

This template page provides you with an introduction, exercises for students, and a follow up paper.  By customizing this form and publishing it on your website you have the start of a well organized lesson that takes advantage of Wikipedia’s collaborative editing features.

Suggested Exercises

There are plenty of housekeeping tasks that students can do as they build the skill set to become Wiki editors.  Or consider having bilingual students translate an article from their native language into English.  Wikipedia’s program to combat systematic bias provides opportunities to those interested in filling gaps and dealing with omissions in the entries. Wikipedia also needs volunteers to provide research citations to back up existing articles.

Instructions for Students

These instructions for students provide both an Editing FAQ and Contributing FAQ .

In addition to instructions on how to write new articles, students are encouraged to expand and revise ‘stubs’  which are short partial entries that need revision. 

Finally, students will find links to help http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Help which offer detailed explanations on many topics.

Users can also set up talk pages, which provide a personalized webpage dedicated to all topics wiki.

Learning to Think Like Fact Checkers: 6-12 Introductory Lesson Plan Skeptical teacher considers Wikipedia


Not everyone will be willing to jump right into the complexities of Wiki Editing.  If you’d like to start by building the critical mindset needed to work with community generated information consider using Learning to Think Like Fact Checkers, a lesson plan offered by the New York Times Learning Network.

This excellent plan focuses on distinguishing fact vs opinion and applies the lesson along with a cautionary tale of what happens when Wikipedia goes wrong.  The companion article for this plan is Snared in the Web of a Wikipedia Liar by Katharine Q. Seelye.

This would be a great way to introduce a Wikipedia editing project. You and your students would learn the Wiki process while thinking critically about how to create the best possible Wiki product!


Back to Resource Kit