Tag Archives: information literacy

Emojis, Symbols and Signs in Literacy and Learning⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

For conveying information quickly we all rely on signs and symbols every day, whether it’s finding toilets, exits, stairs or lifts in unfamiliar public buildings, or signs on roads warning of dangers ahead. We’re used to seeing symbols which convey information such as laundry washing symbols, packaging symbols, or about recycling products. And it might be said that people find information shared in an infographic poster more visually engaging when text and graphics and combined. Images can be recognised quickly regardless of the first language of the reader ensuring that information can be conveyed concisely without high levels of reading skills in any particular language.

Signs and symbols have been used throughout history to convey information so they are not new. The symbols used in ancient civilisations through to the emoticons and emojis of today may be considered to be part of a continuum.

It’s been described as one of the fastest growing languages and many millions of messages are reported to be sent every day using only emojis. Tennis star Andy Murray tweeted about his wedding day solely using emojis!

So what is an Emoji?

Emojis are simply pictures you type on a device, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or computer. Emojis are standardised characters available on different platforms whether running Apple, Android, or Windows operating systems, or different social media platforms (the artwork varies slightly between each but the meaning remains the same).

But I don’t know what each emoji means!!

We all grow up with signs and symbols but for many people there may be a worry that they don’t know what each emoji means – don’t panic, there’s an online encyclopedia/dictionary of emojis: https://emojipedia.org/. Simply type in a word to find the emoji you need.

There’s also a Frequently-Asked-Questions section which answers questions you might have about emojis.

You might also find useful the EmojiTranslate site where you simply type a word, sentence or paragraph to get emojis to copy and paste elsewhere https://emojitranslate.com/

Why might Emojis be used in Education?

Why I use Emoji in Research and Teaching – an article by Jennifer Fane setting out reasons why to consider using emojis in education to support inclusion, to aid communication, and to give voice to all learners.

How Emojis can Help Children Learn and Communicate – another article by Jennifer Fane describing how emojis can aid inclusion for children as well as support children’s learning in areas of health, well-being, safety and diversity.


Ideas and Resources for using Emojis in the Classroom

An Emoji Education – a blogpost by Tony Vincent in his excellent Learning in Hand blog which presents lots of tools and ideas for using emojis in the classroom complemented by visually engaging poster images. Whether it’s simply suggesting use of emojis instead of common bullet-points in reports or presentations for greater impact, or for learners summarizing texts using emojis to demonstrate understanding, or using emojis as prompts for story starts, as well as a range of tools which can aid the use of emojis on a variety of devices.

20+ Emoji Activities and Resources for Teaching Math, Science, and English – a very helpful blogpost by Shelly Terrell with a host of ideas for making use of emojis in education. The ideas can be adapted across many curricular areas. Shelley links to other useful resources and tools, as well as additional posts about how emojis can be used including her “Teaching the Emoji Generation” article which also links to many other articles, resources and tools.

15 Ways to Emoji-fy Your Teaching – a blogpost by teacher Stacy Zeiger with ideas for using emojis in the classroom for supporting reading and writing, for maths and science such as illustrating processes, and to support social and emotional learning to help break down communication barriers for some learners.

Using Emojis to Teach Critical Reading Skills – an article by Marissa King with suggestions for how emojis might be used in a classroom situation as one means of connecting learner experience outwith school to develop skills in other contexts in the classroom.

Cybrary Man’s Educational Website for Emojis – a web page of links to resources about using emojis in education collated on the Cybrary Man website by Jerry Blumengarten.

Be Internet Legends – Google and ParentZone internet safety educational resource⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Primary schools are invited to sign up to receive the new free online safety resource developed by Google with ParentZone for children aged 7-11. This new “Be Internet Legends” curriculum is a free internet safety educational resource for pupils aged 7-11 years-old, created by Google along with Parent Zone, and includes lesson plans and activities, stickers and poster delivering important internet safety messages. It’s all free to order, one per teacher, from this link: https://parentzone.org.uk/be-internet-legends

Google and ParentZone are also offering free “Be Internet Legends” visits from their team to present at school assemblies across the country. If your school would like to have their team visit to deliver a “Be Internet Legends” assembly then simply indicate on the pack order at this link: https://parentzone.org.uk/be-internet-legends

There is a frequently-asked-questions page for this at this link: https://parentzone.org.uk/article/be-internet-legends-faqs

The Be Internet Legends scheme of work helps pupils learn the skills they need to be safe and confident online based around four internet safety pillars:

  • Think Before You Share: (Be Internet Sharp);
  • Check it’s for Real: (Be Internet Alert);
  • Protect Your Stuff: (Be Internet Secure);
  • Respect Each Other: (Be Internet Kind);

The fifth pillar brings everything together, providing valuable follow-up discussions to have in class or during a safeguarding discussion: When in Doubt, Discuss (Be Internet Brave)


Fake, Fiction or Fact? How can learners be helped to work out what’s true?⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

There are so many choices for sources of news for learners to find out about what’s going on the world today, whether printed media, online news sites or social media. But how can learners be helped to be able to work out if what they are reading has any substance in fact, how accurate the information is, or what the biases are likely to be?

How can you spot fake news?

howtospotfakenewsinfographicHow to Spot Fake News – the IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), with thanks to www.factcheck.org, created an infographic detailing steps we can all take when trying to work out if what we are reading, hearing or watching is verifiable. This helps teach the skills of critical thinking and media literacy. This describes with visual representation 8 steps to take to help determine the likely authenticity of shared information: to consider the source, to read beyond the headline, the check credibility of the author, to look at linking sources, to check the date to see if current, to research to see if it’s satire, to consider your own biases and the likely ones of the source sharing the information, and to consult fact-checking sites. The infographic is available to download as either an image or in pdf format for printing.


Digital Literacy and “Fake News” – Resources to Help you help your students – many links collated by librarian-turned-technology-specialist Nancy Watson @nancywtech which help teachers guide their learners through ways to spot fake news and techniques to work out the authenticity of the shared information. The links include sites aimed at different age groups, teachers, younger learners, as well as for general public use. They include fact-checking sites as well as tips and advice to determining reliability of what is shared.

nwfakenewsepidemicDigital Literacy and the “Fake News” EpidemicNancy Watson has produced a superb resource for educators sharing a host of advice, tips and resources to support teachers support their learners to better be able to be discerning about the information shared online or in the print media. This includes examples of fake news and outlines the steps anyone can take to determine it to be factually inaccurate.

nprfakeorrealFake or real? How to self-check the news and get the facts – a post by digital news intern Wynne Davis describing the issue of fake news and giving practical advice for all ages about how to help determine whether what you are reading is true or fiction. Tips include checking the domain name (especially similar-sounding names), looking at quotations in the story (and checking up on who they are and anything known about them online), searching the quote itself to see if it properly attributed or taken out of context, check the comments to get a flavour of whether others call out the facts as being untrue and cite sources to back up their claims, reverse image search (right click on an image online and choose to search Google for it to see where else it is used and the context in which it is used).

Internet Archive and Wayback Machine

internetarchiveWouldn’t it be great if, when someone says content has changed on a website, or disappeared completely, that there was a way to look back at what was there beforehand? Well, The Internet Archive saves a huge amount of online content from many sources around the web (several hundred billion webpages!). This relies on the Wayback Machine (which is part of the Internet Archive) trawling on a regular basis for changed content. So if you search for a website and it is no longer available you can pop the weblink into the Wayback Machine (which is part of The Internet Archive) and look back at previous versions just by choosing a specific date. It will only be available for dates on which a trawl was made so is not available for every date but it’s still very impressive to be able to look at a website change over time and to be able to compare and contrast with versions over time.

savepagenowCan you save a web page on Wayback machine so it’s always there for future reference? Yes you can! You can simply capture a web page as it appears now for future use as a trusted citation in the future, or just to ensure it does not disappear when the original website changes or disappears. All you do is paste the weblink when you first find it on the Save Page Now” part of the Internet Archive site.

Fact-checking sites

There are a number of sites which can be used to verify whether stories (particularly those which appear on social media and spread like wildfire) have any basis in fact or whether they are urban myths, or out and out lies or propaganda. These include Politifact, Snopes, and Factcheck.org

Do you think you read with your bias? What bias does the writer have?

biasesaffectingusallBiases which affect us all – an infographic created by Business Insider which lists and describes 20 biases which we can all have when we read, hear or share information. Whether it’s a tendency to have a reliance on the first piece of information we hear, whether we are influenced by hearing the same information shared by a group, whether the information confirms what we already believed, stereotyping, or information which implies cause and effect, or many more – this infographic provides a useful starting point for discussing with learners the range of influences on us all when we all read or hear information.


Feedback and more with Forms⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

FormsGathering feedback, taking quizzes to reinforce learning, undertaking surveys of views, signing up or registering for an activity – just some of the ways forms can be used by schools. And now there is the option to use Microsoft Forms – available as a free online tool which uses a Microsoft Office 365 account (available to all Glow users) to set up the form either by going to https://forms.office.com or, if already logged into Office 365, via the Forms tile in the office 365 navigation tiles waffle.  Office Forms can be created by either learners or educators.

Forms work nicely on any smartphones, tablets or PCs. Setting up requires the creator to be logged in to Office 365 but those completing the created form can be completed by anyone without requiring any kind of logging in (if that setting is chosen by the form creator), or they can be anonymous (if that is the setting the creator of the form wishes to use), or if they wish to restrict responses to their class and to ensure their identity they can use the login details of office 365 users too (if that’s how the creator of the form wishes the form to be completed). So the form creator gets the choice to suit the purpose and audience of their form.

Feedback is immediate, real-time, to the form creator and the results can be displayed in different ways to suit the need of the form creator.

For Sway users you can embed a form created with office Forms live in a Sway presentation information can be shared about a topic being studied and a quiz included alongside the content.

Creating your form

  1. Office365waffleEither go to https://forms.office.com and log in with your Office 365 account (for Scottish schools that will be your Glow account) or, if already logged into Office 365, choose the Forms tile in the office 365 navigation tiles waffle.
  2. Click on + New to start creating your new form (you can click on the title of any previously created form in order to edit that, and if you wish to base a new form on an existing form you can click on the … ellipsis to the right of the form title and choose copy – then you can edit the copy to create a new version.
  3. addformJust click on “Untitled form” to edit the name of your form, and click on “Enter a description” to add explanatory text as you may wish to include to explain the purpose of the form and perhaps mentioning the intended audience. Then click “+ Add question
  4. questiontypesChoose the type of question.There are five types of answer formats:
    • multiple choice questions (where you can choose to accept only one answer or multiple responses)
    • free-text (and you can choose either short or long text)
    • ratings (you can choose number or star rating)
    • quiz-questions (where you can provide immediate feedback to anyone filling in the form as to whether the respondent gave the correct answer or not (click on the tick icon to indicate which answer would be the correct answer – and just click on the speech-bubble icon to add comments to any response choice, which may give encouraging comments or suggestions for what to do next in response to the answer given, or any kind of feedback you wish to display when a particular choice is chosen)
    • date-input
  5. You can choose whether there can be multiple responses or only one answer accepted, you can require that specific questions have to be answered before a user can complete the form, and by clicking on the  …ellipsis you can choose whether a subtitle (which could provide explanatory text for each question) is displayed, and whether you wish to shuffle the order of questions so that each time someone sees the form the questions are displayed in a random order.
  6. Add as many further questions as you wish. You can re-order the questions by clicking on the upward or downward facing arrows above each question, and you can copy an existing question (and edit that copy), or delete an existing question.

Previewing your form

mobilepreviewformTo see what the form will look like for people about to fill it in you can click on “preview” at the top navigation bar. You can see how the questions will be laid out on a computer, and you can also choose to see how it will look on a mobile device.

Sharing your form

Once the form is complete click on “Send form” – this will open a side panel with various choices. It will provide a link to share with those you wish to respond to the form. It will create a QR code for quick scanning by users using a mobile device, and it will provide html embed code if you wish to embed the form within a website page or blogpost. This screen also gives you the option to choose who will be able to fill out the form – you can choose only people within your organisation (for Scottish schools using Glow that would be Glow users only), and within that you can choose whether or not to record the names of those responding in the results, or you can choose to make the form available to anyone with the link (where no sign-in will be required for people responding to the form).

If you click on “See all settings” at the foot of this side panel you will get further choices:

Looking at the results of your form


When you wish to look at the responses to a form you have shared then simply open the form and click on the responses tab along the top of the screen. You will get an overview of the number of respondents, the average time taken to complete by respondents, and whether the form is still active or expired 9if you’d set it to have a deadline). There is also the option to download to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (which comes complete with auto-filter drop-downs to easily sort the information generated to suit your needs).

Example forms

FormLearningHow did you get on with your learning this week? – this form is a mock form just to show how a form might be used for a teacher to get feedback from learners in their class to better support them. This example is based on the form created by Fiona Johnson, headteacher at Kilmartin Primary School in Argyll and Bute, but this link is purely an example so anyone can try it. Similarly here is another mock form (also based on the form created by Fiona Johnson as headteacher at Kilmartin Primary School in Argyll and Bute) – “How did you get on with your learning today?” – feel free to give it a try.

So what have people said about Office Forms?

StevenPayneFormsSteven Payne, an educator in Western Australia, shared the results of a mock use Microsoft Forms – showing the results, and the way in which they can be displayed, which the creator of the form can see once respondents have completed the survey.

Jim Federico commented in a tweet that Microsoft Forms being built into Office 365 for Education means no add-ins are required, and includes question types which auto-grade.

TestingWithOfficeFormsKurt Söser, an educator in Austria, has provided a step-by-step guide to his experience setting up a quiz with Microsoft Forms and using it with his learners.

VicentGadeaFormsVicent Gadea, an educator in Spain, described co-assessment using Microsoft Forms “1st time was complicated then was very powerful for us.”


Koen Timmers, an educator in Belgium, has described in a step-by-step guide, illustrated with screenshots, how to set up a form using Office Forms, and shared what the responses look like for a form he created.

Making use of Forms in the classroom

There is a range of online form tools available, each of which can generally be used in similar ways, so it can be helpful to look at how others have used these tools when thinking about how online forms can support classroom activity.

DavidAndradeFormsChad Raid wrote about the use of forms on David Andrade’s Educational Technology Guy blog – some of which may be applicable in different educational scenarios. Obviously in any use of forms the issue of data security is paramount and guidance from school or local education  authority as to what can, and what must not, be requested via a form would clearly be essential.


Share your presentations and documents online with Docs.com⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

DocscomDocs.com from Microsoft provides a free way to share your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Sway and PDF documents.

These shared documents can be viewed by others just by sharing a link (whether in social media, print form or by text or email message). You can embed any shared document on a website or blog. You can choose to keep documents private to you so that you can access them only when signed in to Docs.com, or make them public for anyone to view.

You can upload your files from your computer, tablet or mobile device, or from Sway, Office Mix or OneNote online accounts, or your OneDrive cloud storage.

Documents can be grouped into collections by you – so a teacher in a classroom might group resources according to curricular area/subject, or stage or for a specific group, or for an event. So when you share the link to that collection all of the related files, resources and presentations will be displayed together.

You can create a new account or sign in with a Facebook, a Microsoft account or Office 365 – and importantly for schools works with Glow accounts, meaning that for Glow users it’s just one username and password to access and make use of this tool, as well as all of the other resources and tools within Glow.

Your Docs.com account provides you with analytics to give an overview of which documents have been viewed and how frequently. And you can also add journal entries to describe documents you have shared.

getstarteddocscomGet started with Docs.com in 3 steps – a short Powerpoint presentation, shared with Docs.com which can be viewed online, to show just how easy it is to get started with sharing a document online using Docs.com

Sharing OneNote notebooks is a particularly useful feature of Docs.com. The following video by Darrell Webster shows how useful this feature is for teachers to share with others, and how to use Docs.com to share any OneNote notebook

Personalised Learning for Teachers about Digital Technologies for Learning⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

MicrosoftTeacherTrainingBadgesMicrosoft in Education is a site which provides free on-demand personalised learning for teachers in exploring the use of digital technologies to support learning and teaching – learning at a pace which suits each teacher on the topics they find most useful to them, at the time they need it.

The online hub provides a Training and Professional Development section which is divided into Quick Tip Videos,  Courses (which can be filtered by age range of learners, tools, skills to be developed, etc), and Learning Paths which provide a more in-depth look at use of digital technologies compbing different methods of delivering the information and sharing of skills as well as exemplars.

There is a wide range of free instant-access online courses. Some of these are short tool-specific how-to guides to learning the basics of getting started using specific digital technologies such as Sway, Skype, OneNote, Powerpoint, Minecraft, Office Mix or many other tools. Some are just short quick-tip videos highlighting a specific feature of a particular piece of software.

Some courses are longer and look at how digital technologies can best be used to support learning and teaching in different contexts. These combine text guides, video explanations and examples, as well as quizzes to help understanding.

MicrosoftEducatorCommunityAnd by signing up to the free Microsoft in Education Community a teacher can access a wider range of resources shared by other teachers around the globe, and when working through the range of courses on offer a teacher can gain visual recognition through digital badges of their accomplishments. Working through the online resources, with badges to record progress, can provide an extra degree of motivation when there is a tangible record of what skills have been acquired, and perhaps a spur to just complete another one (and another, and another!!).

So whether starting out, or just looking for an illustration of a particular application in a classroom setting, reading about how others are using digital technologies to support learning, an online space to discuss with colleagues worldwide what’s worked (or look for advice when you might be looking for a solution to something which has not worked in your situation), or wanting to further explore how to integrate digital technology to best support learners in your school, there is something here for every teacher.

Sign up for free now at the Microsoft Educator Community at the link below:



Great Writing Challenge 2⤴

from @ Bodies in the Library

For the second Great Writing Challenge, Mrs Macfadyen explained that pupils would have to put their characters into some sort of danger. Their task was to investigate dangerous locations around the world to help them decide where and how their characters … Continue reading

Why Wikis – the wonderful world of wikis in the classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

wikiwordle2What’s a Wiki?

Probably the best know Wiki is Wikipedia, ranked in the top ten of all websites, attracting hundreds of millions of visitors a month to the reference articles by tens of thousands of contributors. And, in a nutshell, that’s an illustration of what sets a wiki apart from other websites, blogs and online spaces – a wiki provides the facility for creation and editing of an online space by multiple users, with a transparent trail of edits for all who visit, making changes (and who made them) visible to all, and providing the facility to set alerts to changes made on the wiki so that anyone can be notified of changes as soon as they are made.

Why Use a Wiki in the Classroom?

Anywhere you might wish to have a collaborative online space for an educational purpose then a wiki can provide the means to support this. Whether it is for an online space to share resources with learners, or somewhere the learners themselves can jointly pool their research findings, links to articles elsewhere online, or with attached documents, presentations, videos, images and more. Not only can the wiki content be modified, but so can the look, feel and structure be manipulated to meet the needs of the group of users. So it might be a piece of creative collaborative writing, or it might be a place to bring together several pieces of writing on the same topic by each pupil in a class.

You can decide with a wiki who is going to be able to see the wiki – perhaps just the individual pupil and teaching staff, or a group of pupils and their teacher, or a whole class or school. Or you can make the wiki public for all to view. And equally you can decide who you wish to be able to modify the wiki – just one person, a small group, a class, the whole school or the entire world!

Here’s just some ideas for using a wiki in the classroom:

  • Outdoor learning or class trip observations, individually or jointly with others.
  • Science experiment planning, the process and record of observations – you can add video, pictures and audio descriptions.
  • Historical project – bringing together different pages perhaps by different learners on their chosen area of a local study, or a combined research topic on a historical theme.
  • Creative writing – individuals can use the revision feature of the tool to demonstrate to their teacher and others how their writing has developed. Other learners can be invited to add comments to encourage and offer suggestions.
  • A teacher can collate all resources on a single topic into one online space, bringing together documents in different formats, video, audio, images and links to related resources elsewhere.
  • Set tasks for learners, and the wiki can also be the space for them to submit their work – the wiki can be set to only be viewable by those in the class, or each pupil can have a space private to them and their teacher, with only the teacher’s main wiki space able to be seen by only the whole class.

TeacherGuideWikisThe Teacher’s Guide on the Use of Wikis in Education can be found on the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning blog – this provides many examples of the uses of wikis in a classroom setting and more advice on how wikis can be used in education.

Cybrary Man wikisCybraryman’s Wikis page – a comprehensive page of links by Jerry Blumengarten to hosts of educational wikis, guides to making use of wikis in a classroom setting, advice, examples and much more – worth a visit to be inspired to use a wiki in your classroom.

 What wiki-creation tools are there for classroom use?

wikispacesWikispaces provides a wiki platform for all users, and a specific wiki platform for  educational use, called Wikispaces Classroom. It is described on their site as “A social writing platform for education. We make it incredibly easy to create a classroom workspace where you and your students can communicate and work on writing projects alone or in teams.

GlowWikisGlow Wikis are available to all Glow users in Scotland, and Glow wikis are provided by Wikispaces, giving Glow users all of the functionality of a Wikispaces wiki (including Wikispaces Classroom which gives the option for additional classroom-specific tools) using their Glow username and password. Glow Wiki Help provides step by step guidance to getting started and how to develop a wiki in a classroom setting.

PBWorksPBWorks Education Wikis – free wiki platform for use in education (with premium version available for additional features). Lets you create student accounts without an email address, provides automated notifications of chnages to your wiki, easy to edit, gives you the option to grant access to those within or outwith your school, and of course to share pages, documents and any other content on your wiki – and it all works via mobile devices too.


The Hundreds⤴

from @ Bodies in the Library

The non-fiction section of the Library is arranged in numerical order using the Dewey Decimal Classification system. Dewey has ten sections, each with a different hundred. Sciences are 500s, Literature are 800s and so on. There are signs to mark … Continue reading

Wikipedia in the classroom – do you know all it can do?⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

Wikipedia ranks in the top 10 of all websites and may well be used by learners of all ages who search for information and find a Wikipedia entry one of the first suggested results from a web search on many, many topics. For all that it’s now a well-known encyclopedia, it could be likely that many users will only be aware of a fraction of the resources available via Wikipedia.

Wikipedia has a set of policies and guidelines summed up in its five pillars which all contributors must follow: Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; Wikipedia has a neutral point of view; Wikipedia is free content; Wikipedians should interact in a respectful and civil manner; and Wikipedia does not have firm rules. This requirement for anti-bias, verifiability, and reliable sourcing as well as the worldwide community of contributors can be seen to set Wikipedia apart from print-based published encyclopedia.

From the Wikipedia page about Wikipedia itself can be found the following: “Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference websites, attracting 470 million unique visitors monthly as of February 2012. There are more than 76,000 active contributors working on more than 31,000,000 articles in 285 languages. There are 4,644,653 articles in English. Every day, hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world collectively make tens of thousands of edits and create thousands of new articles to augment the knowledge held by the Wikipedia encyclopedia. People of all ages, cultures and backgrounds can add or edit article prose, references, images and other media here. What is contributed is more important than the expertise or qualifications of the contributor. What will remain depends upon whether the content is free of copyright restrictions and contentious material about living people, and whether it fits within Wikipedia’s policies, including being verifiable against a published reliable source, thereby excluding editors’ opinions and beliefs and unreviewed research. Contributions cannot damage Wikipedia because the software allows easy reversal of mistakes and many experienced editors are watching to help ensure that edits are cumulative improvements.”

Wikipedia is a live collaboration differing from paper-based reference sources in important ways. Unlike printed encyclopedias, Wikipedia is continually created and updated, with articles on historic events appearing within minutes, rather than months or years. There is a Wikipedia page aimed specifically at providing advice for parents/carers or teachers of children and young people, about their use of Wikipedia: ”Wikipedia’s goal is to offer “the sum of all human knowledge” in a format which is legal to copy, modify and redistribute (copyleft, as we call it) to all, at no cost. With this aim in mind, we have grown to become one of the largest collections of information ever assembled, and enjoy a high profile as one of the most popular websites on the internet. We hope you will find huge educational value within this project; and amongst our millions of articles, you will certainly find many relevant to almost all areas of study. No encyclopedia should be the end of the line in any research, however, and we hope you’ll find our articles useful road maps for further exploration across a whole range of subjects. Wikipedia is freely editable by anyone and everyone, but this does not mean that anyone can write anything. Both inaccuracy and sheer vandalism are therefore problems that the project faces on a daily basis. However, a number of safeguards are in effect. These include insisting that editors cite reliable sources, as well as Recent Changes Patrolling for vandalism, and New Page Patrolling for recently created articles with inappropriate content.”

Did you know you can see the history of contributions or editing of a wikipedia entry? This lets you see what was changed, who added, edited or changed it as well as a summary of what the reasons for the change were. Look for the “view history” tab along the top of a Wikipedia page. On that page you can also find out more about contributors to a page. So if your learners are looking at digital literacy in the context of study or research on any topic this is a useful tool to provide sources of information, authors/contributors and to give an indication of how reliable and up to date the information provided on the Wikipedia entry is.

Did you know there is a Wikipedia for schools? This is a selection of articles from Wikipedia to support the school curriculum (specifically aimed at schools in the UK though can be accessed worldwide) and aimed at use by pupils. 6000 articles, 26 million words and 50,000 images which have been checked for use by schools, and are also categorised by school subject. You can even download Wikipedia for Schools from www.sos-schools.org/wikipedia-for-schools. You can also get a copy on USB memory stick.

Did you know there is a section on Wikipedia “Guidance for Young Editors – this gives advice aimed at young people creating or editing content. While this may not be seen as something which many young people will be looking to do, there are many who have particular interests where this would be useful to provide guidance aimed at them. For all younger users the guidance also provides a useful starting point, written in more accessible language aimed specifically at younger readers, about how Wikipedia as a joint collaborative research tool works.

Did you know there is a Wikipedia WikiProject Schools site? This provides space, templates and guidance specifically for schools to provide information about their school.

Did you know there is a Wikipedia:Student Assignments section? Occasionally teachers may have learning situations where it would be appropriate to have learners collaborate together on a joint project as an assignment using Wikipedia as the tool – it may be for specific areas local to the school or on specific topics where Wikipedia does not have a wealth of information. In that case the extensive guidance for teachers is essential reading for the teacher.

Did you know there is a Wikipedia List of Historical Anniversaries? For any day of the year, in any year, for any month, you will find an entry listing events on that day, births, deaths, holidays or observances. And of course, as with any entry in Wikipedia, there are links to the Wikipedia pages providing more information on any of these entries, whether individuals, groups or events. So in a classroom situation if you are going to be teaching about a particular topic it’s likely you will find something relating to that context on the particular day on which you are teaching that topic. And that can provide a form of engagement for learners to the topic about which they will be learning.

Did you know that, although you will often find using a search engine of your choice will bring up a Wikipedia page in one of the top returns, Wikipedia also has its own search box – just enter what you’re looking for into the Wikipedia Search box on any page and it will search only Wikipedia. Wikipedia also has a very useful Wikipedia Help page - this provides guidance about how to better target your searching to find exactly what you are looking for; it provides answers to commonly asked questions about Wikipedia itself; it provides links to guidance about how to go about editing Wikipedia pages; and how to report an issue with any Wikipedia page.

Did you know there is a Wikipedia Community Portal where you can see what’s needing to be done, whether adding an image to accompany an article, whether checking spelling, whether adding links to related material. This page provides a list of the elements needing attention, and may provide a useful way into using Wikipedia as a contributor for learners of all ages, rather than as simply consumers.

Did you know there is a Scots Language version of Wikipedia? This comprises many tens of thousands of articles written in Scots, which provides a rich source of material for all Scottish schools looking at the Scots language.

Did you know there is a Simple English Wikipedia? This has the “stated aim of providing an encyclopedia for people with different needs, such as students, children, adults with learning difficulties and people who are trying to learn English” and contains over 100,000 content pages. Not only do the articles use a simplified English, the tabs and menus also use simplified terms, making this ideal for use in the classroom with younger learners.

This article only scratches the surface of all that Wikipedia offers for schools – explore and see how it can help in your classroom