Wikipedia

LQ: 9.2

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Brain grade: 9.6
Fun score: 8.8

Platform/Console: LWK Recommended Age: 8+ Thinking Skills Used: , Academic Skills Used:

Wikipedia is a massive online encyclopedia created and maintained through the collaborative efforts of its readers and a small community of editors. Users of the site may create their own entries, make edits to existing articles, or simply browse content anonymously or with a registered account. Wikipedia is free to the public, is presented in over 250 languages, and hosts over four million articles in English alone. Because of its open nature, users should exercise caution when using Wikipedia for research purposes. Though many articles contain numerous citations of more traditional and reliable sources, Wikipedia should only be used as a starting point to more in depth research. This website is an excellent tool for learning about virtually any topic and is recommended to anyone ages 8+.


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this website is good for kids who need help with:

Focus

Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.

While using Wikipedia users must exercise Focus, remaining on task and concentrating on only important or relevant information. Because the website links so many articles together, users may be tempted to follow links from a related article to an interesting, but irrelevant article elsewhere. Users must actively choose which information is important to their research. Additionally, users must be mindful of the original source of the information they are reading. Though Wikipedia is an extremely useful starting point for academic research, information that is not cited properly can be unreliable. Users should be diligent in checking the sources provided by editors of the various articles, as well as independently verify especially important information through more traditional academic means.

Self-Awareness

Understanding our own actions, thoughts and feelings.

Children often identify deeply with specific interests to help build their sense of identity, and Wikipedia's expansive database of knowledge makes it a great way for users to explore topics and deepen their understanding of that which interest them. Whether it be an artistic interest in music or painting, a love of sports, fascination with history or passion for science and engineering, Wikipedia offers an excellent starting point for research on nearly any topic. Users will find a wide breadth of in-depth and insightful articles, and the enormous amount of information on Wikipedia provides an excellent opportunity for users to explore and develop their interests. Many related articles are linked together, making it exceptionally easy to navigate between related topics or acquire more background information. Articles often contain multiple parts including a short introduction followed by sub-sections devoted to important facets of the main topic. The detailed articles encourage users to gain a deeper, more thorough knowledge in the area of their choosing and is an excellent starting point for expanding and building upon one's grasp of a subject.

Reading

Users will find a seemingly endless stockpile of textual information on Wikipedia, providing an excellent opportunity to practice and develop their reading comprehension. Articles will vary in difficulty; however, users will find the website’s system of linking important or unfamiliar terms to related articles a useful tool in assisting them to understanding more difficult terms or concepts. As an added resource, many articles provide an audio recording of the correct pronunciation of the article’s subject.

Wikipedia can be a very useful resource for exercising Focus, Self-Awareness, and Reading.Try some of the suggestions below, and let us know what works for your child in the comment field at the bottom of the page.

Focus

Your child should practice staying on task while researching topics on Wikipedia. For example, while searching for information for a school project, your child should be diligent in noting only relevant information to their work. Because so many articles are linked together on Wikipedia it can sometimes be tempting to follow linked articles outside the scope of the original search.

Before beginning work, encourage your child to make a list of possible search terms, key phrases, people, or places they will be searching for. When searching for articles on Wikipedia, your child should be sure to make note of the article’s citations where possible, keeping them for reference and further research. Wikipedia is an excellent destination for a general overview of a topic, but its sources should be independently vetted before your child uses them for academic purposes.

Self-Awareness

Encourage your child to use Wikipedia for personal passions and curiosities. While the website is an excellent starting point for academic pursuits, it can also be a great resource for acquiring a greater understanding of a personal hobby or interest.

Using Wikipedia to learn more about the history of a favorites sports team or player can be a useful exercise in Self-Awareness. Encourage your child to read about the history of a favorite team, following links in the associated articles to learn more about important dates, players, games, or coaches.

Reading

If your child has difficulty staying interested in more traditional text formats like novels or short stories, try reading Wikipedia articles together about a subject that interests him. Whether the article is about a period in history, a particular person, or a fictional character, the options are virtually endless. Engaging your child in reading about a subject that fascinates him will help keep him engaged and could foster more positive feelings toward reading.

Wikipedia & ADHD

Children with ADHD have trouble focusing on singular topics, due to their need to experience constant stimuli. While Wikipedia seemingly perpetuates this need, it actually can help curb these urges. Children can choose to follow topics they find interesting, and further pursue their interests. They must demonstrate a certain amount of restraint, as the impulse to continually click will eventually reduce a great educational tool into a mindless pastime. A concerted effort to use Wikipedia as a supplementary learning tool can be extremely beneficial for children with ADHD - especially those who are struggling readers.

How to Use Wikipedia for Children with ADHD

  • Children should use the text heavy nature of each Wikipedia page as a way to practice reading, while learning topics they are passionate about. Wikipedia creates a reading environment much unlike a textbook. It is interactive, visual, and gives further clarification to important people, places, and things - well suited for children with ADHD.
  • Children with ADHD should always have a direction when using Wikipedia. Random clicks and haphazard searches will ultimately be a waste of time. By choosing a topic of interest to begin with, children have a framework to work within. Structured searches are extremely important to keep children focused. For example, a search for be-bop jazz will yield a variety of quality results to sift through. Jazz would be too broad and John Coltrane would be too narrow. Establishing the right search parameters will result in proper use of the website.
  • Wikipedia is a great way to prepare children with ADHD for an upcoming lesson. Most students are given a syllabus, which outlines the course of study for the entire year. Weekends are a good time for children to use Wikipedia to introduce a new chapter in history class. Having a pre-existing chronological framework and visual representation of an event in history, will hasten the learning process during class time.

Wikipedia is just one online database of information. Below are a few alternatives for researching on the web. Let us know what works for you in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

Scholarpedia

Scholarpedia is a great alternative to Wikipedia when it is absolutely necessary to have credible and accurate information. All articles are contributed by experts in that particular field, with credible citations and peer reviewed articles. Find out more here.

WikiHow

WikiHow is the ultimate resource for how-to guides, where users can find step-by-step guides on how to do almost anything. You can also edit or upload your own how-to guides to add to this growing resource! Find out more here.

About.com

When searching Google for information, users will likely come across Wikipedia and About.com articles quite frequently. About.com offers plenty of articles, tips, and resources for finding information and help on a variety of topics. Find out more here.

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