Misinformation and Wikipedia
On Friday 16 September 2022, Amanda Lawrence and Pru Mitchell from Wikimedia Australia joined educators and academics to discuss Wikipedia and education in the time of the “Crisis of Information”.
The premise of the symposium was that, while Wikipedia had become more trusted in recent years through positive news coverage, not all education institutions have embraced it as some hold outdated understandings around how Wikipedia content is created or managed.
To address this, participants shared their experiences and discussed what role educational institutions can play in Wikipedia’s potential in a period where information is increasingly volatile or fragmented.
Wikipedia and Misinformation in the news
Ahead of the symposium, Associate Professor Mathieu O’Neil from the University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre spoke with Tom Baddeley on ABC Radio Perth about whether Wikipedia can help in the global fight against misinformation.
Mathieu O’Neil was also quoted in The Age / Sydney Morning Herald discussing misinformation and how some teachers don't trust Wikipedia. “Why teachers don’t like it, I don’t know. I presume it’s because their information [about Wikipedia] is outdated,” he said.
Six Fact-Checking Lessons for Kids
Friday's symposium opened with the launch of Six Fact-Checking Lessons for Kids, a book compiling educational resources developed as part of the Co-Developing a New Approach to Media Literacy in the Attention Economy collaborative project between the University of Canberra and ACT school teachers.
Chapter two of the book asks "Is Wikipedia reliable?" and elsewhere discusses disagreements, bullying, and misinformation in ways to help build discussions between children aged 9–11, teachers, and parents.
Six Fact-Checking Lessons for Kids has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International License, and is available to download here.
Presentations & Discussion
Sessions were held discussing Wikipedia and information literacy in schools, using Wikipedia in teaching, Wikipedia’s content gaps, the need for credible citations, and a guide to getting structured data from Wikidata.
The final session was a discussion including many of the days speakers, with members of the audience also contributing on Zoom.
Presenters and participants included:
- Mathieu O’Neil (NMRC, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra)
- LiAnna Davis (Deputy Director, Wiki Education)
- Thomas Shafee (Swinburne University - Editor, WikiJournal of Science)
- Rachel Cunneen (Faculty of Education, University of Canberra)
- Toby Hudson (Faculty of Science, University of Sydney)
- Amanda Lawrence (ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S), RMIT University)
- Pru Mitchell (Wikimedia Australia)
- James Neill (Faculty of Health, University of Canberra)
For a full list of presentations, including summaries with further information on each presenter, see the University of Canberra's event page here.
Wikimedia Australia would like to thank University of Canberra and all of the presenters who took part in this important session. We look forward to further discussions around Wikimedia's role in education and information literacy taking place in the future.
- University of Canberra event page with works cited and further links
- 'Six fact-checking lessons for kids' book information, with PDF download
- Can Wikipedia help in the global fight against misinformation? - ABC Radio Perth
- Evidence suggests Wikipedia is accurate and reliable. When are we going to start taking it seriously? by Liam Mannix - The Age