The Sky Is Not Falling Currently

The sky fell last week. Or didn’t you notice? Or maybe you realized exactly why the sky fell and you reacted appropriately—with either a “You go, democracy!” or a “Well, it’s time to find a work-around.”

The sky to which I am referring is not the actual sky, that blue blanket across our heads that sometimes gets sticky with cute white hairballs called clouds. No, the sky I am talking about is Wikipedia. Last week, for a day, Wikipedia went black as an overcast sky in the night to protest laws moving through Congress that might restrict Internet freedoms.

Because you are fans of The Mailbox, I think it’s pretty safe for me to say that you did not overreact to the sky falling/Wikipedia going black. Like any great teacher, you had yourself and your resourcefulness to guide you through such difficult times. Even more likely, I’m betting you don’t rely on Wikipedia for lesson planning in the first place.

Great teachers generally plan their lessons ahead of time. Great teachers generally rely on trustworthy resources to enhance their lessons (ahem, like The Mailbox). Great teachers know when and how to use Wikipedia to their advantage.

I like Wikipedia. Much like the Great Encyclopedias of Yore, I can spend hours learning new things as I thumb through/click from one subject to the next. From the Second Boer War to the trial of Boer War soldier Harry “Breaker” Morant to the movie Breaker Morant to Australian cinema of the 1980s to Peter Weir’s World War I movie Gallipoli to the ill-fated Battle of the Nek at Gallipoli, I lost a few hours to Wikipedia this past Sunday. It was wonderful and required no trips to the bookshelf.

Would I plan a lesson or even a unit with this wonderful Internet resource as my only guide? No.

But that left me to wonder what Internet resources—besides, obviously—do you rely on when you plan lessons? Do you use Wikipedia often? More importantly, what resource is missing from the Internet that you wish the next entrepreneur would invent?

Feel free to comment. I promise the sky isn’t falling…at the moment.

2 thoughts on “The Sky Is Not Falling Currently

  1. I don’t necessarily use Wikipedia for lesson plans, but i do use it to gather some spur of the moment information that my students may ask me. Wikipedia has all the information piled into one page so it makes it easy for me to find what I am looking for (ex. Lincoln’s date and place of death).

  2. I don’t use Wikipedia at all. I don’t trust any internet resource that can be edited by anyone. I teach my students to look at the source of the internet information and only trust content backed by an organization with their reputation on the line. Anyone with a computer and a internet can post anything on line. One of the most important skills we can teach students is how to disceen if it can be trusted.

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