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Opinion: Should students be allowed to use Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is one of the most useful pages for students across the world, and especially for those at M-A. But because Wikipedia allows the public to freely edit pages, should teachers allow their students to use the site to help them with their studies?

History teacher Luca Signore stated, “I think it has good information and it is great for a starting point as it is solid for quickly finding info. I use it myself as a way to look up some sources as they are usually listed at the bottom of each page. However, it still gets edited by random people on a constant basis and these edits could stay up for hours and even days at a time. You have no way of knowing whether something is completely true for certain.”

Students agree that Wikipedia may be the easiest to site to access information and it is especially helpful in history classes. Junior Alison Snyder believes, “You can use it for general background, but as much as I’d like to, we shouldn’t be able to quote Wikipedia. It can be risky.”

Teachers should be able to allow students to use the site on a constant basis as the site is an amazing tool for students to quickly and easily gather information for a class. However, it is clear that students should stray away from using the page to cite sources as some of the information has a chance to be slightly incorrect.

Wikipedia started in 2001 and has quickly risen since then, as they have gone from having just a few pages to having millions of sites with various info. The incredible rise of the online encyclopedia can be accredited to the mass public as a lot of the pages on the site are written by society. Wikipedia is even an ad-free website as they receive their money solely from donations.

Junior Maxine Moss agrees, “Yes, students should be able to use it on a regular basis because it is probably the easiest site to access any sort of information, but it is tough to tell if certain things are totally true.”

The consensus is that students should be allowed to use the website to gather information as pages are, for the most part, fairly accurate. However, citing items are a totally different story as it is just too risky as the pages used on Wikipedia could have incorrect information. There are so many other sources out there with similar information from clear experts on certain subject matters.

Signore concluded, “I think finding a static source that isn’t on Wikipedia is better for citing, but for getting information quickly Wikipedia is a great place to start. This is where I would send my students in the beginning, but unless something changes, there are other options for citing sources.” Without a doubt, this is the way to go.

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