Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wikipedia vs. Britannica?

Do you think Wikipedia, as an encyclopedia, is as accurate and up to date as Britannica? Or, stated another way, is collective knowledge = paid editors?

As I was reviewing material for my class on Wikis tomorrow, I ran across this in an article by Karl Kapp, Embracing Informal Learning: Understanding the tools of informal learning and their impact on organizations. On page 8 he shares this:
The British journal Nature—a reputable scientific journal first published
in 1869—published a peer-reviewed article examining a range of scientific entries in both the Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia through a rigorous peer review process and found few differences in accuracy. "The average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies; Britannica, about three [21]." The researchers found eight serious errors such as misinterpretations of important concepts in 42 reviews, there were four such errors found in each encyclopedia. Additionally, the reviewers found factual errors, omissions or
misleading statements in both. Wikipedia had 162 of these types of errors. The Encyclopedia Britannica had 123.

Essentially, the accuracy of the paper-based encyclopedia created by
paid editors and researchers was about the same as the collective encyclopedia created by visitors to the Wikipedia site—volunteer writers and editors [22] The implication? Collective knowledge is as accurate, reliable and helpful as edited and carefully reviewed knowledge. The openness of Wikipedia and wikis in general
helps to ensure accuracy. When a person browsing the site sees something they believe is wrong, they update it. The openness of the information ensures its accuracy. The concept of freedom of the press taken to the nth degree and it works.

It got me thinking. Am I telling my students to only trust people who are well paid to share information?

Just Sayin'
Lee Anne

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Online Professional Development Opportunities

While it is true that the Eighth Floor is primarily thought of as a technology learning center for educators, there is more to us than may meet the eye. There is an "AND" in there! We are a technology AND learning center for educators.

So, where is the AND, you may be asking? Well, check it out:

We have made available some pretty cool online professional development courses. Most of them have nothing at all to do with technology -- there's the AND. The Eighth Floor, in partnership with Knowledge Delivery Systems (KDS), has put together a customizable list of online professional development courses with our area educators in mind.

Why are YOU interested in these online courses?
1. They are available 24/7/365. (That means over holiday breaks, too)
2. You set your own schedule.
3. KDS has developed a wide variety of timely topics of interest to all educators.
4. While some classes dealing with tech integration are available, that's not the only focus.
5. You get a lot of learning for your dollar.
6. Group rates are available.
7. Proven quality course content.
8. Proven quality online facilitation.
9. We've done all the "leg" work; only the "clicking" is left to you.
10. Your continued professional development is as important to us as it is to you.

Sample Courses:
Classroom Management
Differentiated Instruction
Aiding Students with Learning Disabilities
English Language Learners & Cultural Awareness
Teaching Diverse Learners
Preparing Students for High-Stakes Tests
Coaching & Mentoring to Improve Student Learning
Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools
Anger Management & Effective Discipline to Prevent Violence
Hands-On, Discovery-Based Mathematics
(New courses are currently being developed)

Take a moment to look at this PDF that details all the classes and lays out course content:

If you have any questions at all about these courses or group rates, please feel free to contact
Dr. Lisa Cole at