Thank You/Chanitra Bishop

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Chanitra Bishop

For a long time, professors told their students "Don't use Wikipedia." But now, tech-savvy teachers are challenging that idea. They're turning to Wikipedia to help their students research and write more effectively.

I work at a university as an Emerging Technologies Librarian, connecting people with the information they need and exploring new technologies to enhance library services. It's the perfect career for me, because I’ve always been interested in the way that technology engages people. I enjoy teaching people how to use new technologies, and how to do research. Wikipedia allows me to do both.

Everyone uses Wikipedia. When I mention it, people say, "Oh, yeah. I go there all of the time." Wikipedia is a cultural force… and it's here to stay. So it's important for students to learn how to use Wikipedia, and how to assess the quality of information they find online.

That's where I come in. At the library, I work with both professors and students. I show professors how Wikipedia really works — and how they can integrate it with their lesson plans. I show students how to use Wikipedia as a jumping-off point to locate trustworthy sources of information. And I teach anyone who wants to learn how they can edit Wikipedia, too.

I tell them: If you see something that's inaccurate on Wikipedia, you don't have to wait for someone else to fix it. You can fix it yourself. You don't even need an account; all you have to do is click "edit."

Not every article on Wikipedia is perfect. Some people see that as a flaw; I see it as an opportunity to educate. I teach people how to evaluate the quality of a Wikipedia article. And I help them understand how information is constructed for a global audience by a community of people — and how they can be part of the creation of knowledge by editing Wikipedia.

The imperfections on Wikipedia mean there's always more work to do, and that's what empowers people like you and me.

The community is really what drives Wikipedia. It's something that anyone can be involved in. Whether you have thousands of edits or you're just getting started, you’re a Wikipedian, and you're part of that community, too.

Thank you,

Chanitra Bishop

Chanitra Bishop began editing Wikipedia in 2010, when she was recruited for a project to help professors bring technology into the classroom. Like many librarians, she loves learning; her spare time is spent reading and researching online. She comes from Chicago, Illinois.

Image Attribution: Chanitra Bishop by Karen Sayre, under CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported, from Wikimedia Commons.

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