In recent discussions of Wikipedia as a tool, a controversial issue has been whether it should be used as a guideline of teaching, or banned altogether as it predominantly is today. On the one hand, some argue that Wikipedia is a great tool for learning about a certain subject as well as teaching the importance of research and not just searching. The article Search vs. Research brings up the point that Wikipedia can touch upon both of these ideas. Wikipedia is a constant changing source that is able to keep up with changes in history and new information. Though not always factual, this tool can help build a lesson plan for instructors on the importance of researching your source, confirming that what you are writing is in fact from a source that is correct. Research and search as Marc Prensky puts is quite different. Viewing the history of changes on a Wikipedia page and cross referencing important dates and events can secure the credibility of a source. Boyd’s piece on Wikipedia agrees that Wikipedia can be used as a tool that is more than just a source.
Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales argues that students should not cite Wikipedia nor any other encyclopedia for that matter on the same basis of the prior argument. Jimmy Wales in a Business week article from 2005 states that Wikipedia gives a good background knowledge only, and should spark a new idea to research.
My own Idea is that Wikipedia should be a lesson plan in itself. Learning to write a good research paper and confirming the factual evidence is crucial in a learning environment. I do understand the difficulties of teaching differences of searching and researching but the end product of students being able to decipher and filter through information that is readily available in today’s age is important.