Wicked Tricks in Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a free, web-based encyclopedia that is sometimes misunderstood. Its content is built through a collaborative community of authors. Some may feel that this makes it susceptible to unverified content. However, the information available through Wikipedia is generally accurate with many articles having several references and links to supporting material. If inaccuracies do occur, they are soon corrected as the site has approximately 90,000 active contributors.

Students often find themselves at the Wikipedia website when they are doing online research. There are some built in features that Wikipedia has to make the content more student friendly and accessible to struggling readers. In this post we will specifically look at "Simple English" and "Download as a PDF" within Wikipedia.

Simple English

The entries in Wikipedia are able to be translated into several different languages. One of these options is "Simple English". When articles are translated using "Simple English" the vocabulary and sentence structure is modified to a "simpler" format. This makes the articles more accessible to students. Below is a short video that explains how to use the "Simple English" feature in Wikipedia.

Download as PDF   

Creating a PDF of an article can serve many purposes. As a teacher, you may want to direct student research, especially for those just beginning to develop research skills. The PDF option allows you to create a library of articles that students can access through the G: Common Drive. When the article is rendered as a PDF it maintains the images, but removes the links. This makes it easier to navigate, and eliminates the potential of navigating away from the article.

This PDF option can also be used in conjunction with the new "Worksheet Wizard" tool in Premier Tools. This new tool allows for the import of any PDF, and makes it possible to not only read the PDF, but also write on the PDF.

The video below takes you through the process of creating a PDF of a Wikipedia article through the "Create a Book" feature (this will be discussed in more detail in a later post). The same process can be followed using the "Download as PDF" option that is part of the "Print/Export" menu.

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