WIKIPEDIA AT PRIMARY SCHOOL: TEACHERS’ USE AND PERCEPTIONS. THE CASE OF SOUTH AFRICA

Botturi, Luca and van Zyl, Izak and Pensa, Iolanda (2017) WIKIPEDIA AT PRIMARY SCHOOL: TEACHERS’ USE AND PERCEPTIONS. THE CASE OF SOUTH AFRICA. UNSPECIFIED. In: Proceedings of ICERI 2017 UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Wikipedia is a major source of information, and is known for its wealth of content, its openness and accessibility. Wikipedia could be a powerful educational tool, especially in countries with little access to educational materials. But is it already so? On the one hand, many educational projects reference Wikipedia for both content learning and information literacy education; on the other, Wikipedia is regarded as a source of uncontrolled misinformation. In this study, we investigated how primary school teachers use and integrate Wikipedia in their practice in a multilingual country like South Africa. Do teachers use Wikipedia and how? What are its perceived affordances and drawbacks? What features or situations influence the integration of Wikipedia in teaching practices? What topics are relevant in relation to national curriculum statements? We surveyed 32 primary education teachers in community schools in the Cape Town area, focusing on their use of Wikipedia in terms of both planning and in- class application. According to the teachers we interviewed, Wikipedia is a promising teaching and learning instrument. The data provide insights about differences between in-service and pre-service teachers, between teachers with different levels of ICT skills, and between teachers that have different home languages. Despite being based on a small sample, the results help to identify pathways for the development and integration of Wikipedia as an educational tool.

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