Logic lessons

The Mail has a grumpy story about a local authority paying someone to teach school children how to use Wikipedia.  It’s political correctness gone mad.  Ok so not political correctness.  Err what words can we use to describe the sheer madness and waste of money?

How about “It’s a bloody good idea”?  What will they be complaining about next?  Paying primary teachers that teach our children to read and write?  “Well I can read and write so why can’t they?  Why do we need to pay someone to teach that simple stuff?”.  And the commenters make the point that Wiki isn’t very reliable (err it is, studies HAVE looked at its reliability and they put it as as good as the Encyclopeadia Britannica).

How many people really think that this is about “OK kids what do you want to know about? OK type it into Wikipedia.”

Hopefully not very many.

So what will they be doing?  Hopefully – “You lot are going to be using Wikipedia and other online sources in the next few years of school, college and university.  We’ll now learn how to distinguish between fact and opinion; truth and controversy; bias and minimizing it.  And how do we know that Wikipedia is correct?”

A common school thing may be “Write a thingy about climate change”.  There’s a heck of a lot online about the topic.  There’s an awful lot of factual stuff and more noisy garbage than you can shake a stick at.  Teaching people how to navigate this stuff is going to be absolutely vital in the future.  Note NOT telling people what is true but showing them how to double check references; how to read academic papers; how to spot charlatanism; spotting sources of funding.  And on and on.

But apparently this is a waste of money.  Just no.

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