I guess I was not paying attention, I skipped Week 5: Wiki Wiki
16) Try a Wiki and share your thoughts.
This item makes me think it might be time to update the 23 things list. When the ability to create a class wiki or other group wiki space was new, it was a great addition to the classroom collaboration toolkit. But at this point the idea that students will like a wiki because it is cool, or fun is not really worth discussing. What is important in the classroom in terms of what a wiki can do can also be done with tools like Google Docs, or web authoring tools like Weebly. That does not mean some of the things that can be done with a wiki: a course long review space, a student created survey of research, etc. are not good goals, but it is not clear to me that you need a wiki space to create that kind of student writing collaboration.
Wikipedia, however, does need to be part of the classroom. I know that might sound crazy, I know there are plenty of teachers who tell their students never to use Wikipedia. And there are good reasons to have concerns about the information students find there. Saying not to use it, however, misses the chance to have students learn something important. And it is hypocritical. When I need some small basic bit of information, I go right to google, and often the first hit is Wikipedia, I find what I need, and I move on. Why shouldn't I teach students about it? Because the important point is not that I can find many useful things in Wikipedia, but that I have to evaluate what I find, and for any serious research Wikipedia, like ANY encyclopedia, is a starting point. So if I want to know who won the World Series in 1908, I can go to Wikipedia (that answer is the Chicago Cubs) and be done. If I want to explore the role of baseball in American history in the Progressive Era I might find some basic information in Wikipedia, but the most useful part of the article will be the links in the references at the end. This type of analysis is important for students, and should include discussion of other encyclopedias and database sources as well.
The other part of teaching about Wikipedia is authorship. Students need to know people edit the articles, and how the company and other users can express concerns, make changes, revert to older versions, etc. So some exploration of the discussion pages, the ratings, and other clues to help students decide if they want to trust the information is part of any good discussion about research online.