September 20, 2010
I am very enthusiastic about the concept of wikibooks as yet another tool for expanding open source teaching, learning and research.
I have serious concerns about the lack of in-line citations even in featured wiki books (2010-09). A necessary step in establishing legitimacy in knowledge claims is the ability to verify sources. At this stage wiki articles which are constantly updated, provide more in-line citations, references and footnotes.
Most textbooks are already out-of-date by the time they are published as the latest research provides new data that unsettles previously held knowledge claims. Peer-reviewed academic journal articles become “dated” rapidly providing interesting histories of science but not necessarily the most current, objective and accurate representation of reality.
Wikibooks could allow for the most current research to be at least introduced if not included as an integral part of a chapter.
I also share concerns put forward by Garfinkel (2008-12) in his article entitled “Wikipedia and the Meaning of Truth” in MIT’s Technology Review. Garfinkel claimed that “wikitruth” is true enough for most readers including journalists who use “wikiclaims” as background material. Garfinkel distinguishes between the epistemological standards used in mathematics and science where legitimization of objective truth-claims are based on laws and observability in contrast to Wikipedia epistemology where “wikitruth”-claims are included as long as they are “verifiable.” “The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth.” He raises a number of key issues about the dangers of a consensus view of knowledge-claims-about-a-thing.
But these are fundamentally the same issues that anyone seriously wanting greater clarity on any topic would consider.
Wikipedia articles on any subject come up first in search engines and are not surprisingly already a primary resource for many Canadian primary, junior and high school students doing ‘research’ for written assignments, in-class presentations (often as PowerPoint presentations. Wiki environments require learning a new way to eRead with much more attention paid to critically examining and evaluating sources.
See also my October 24, 2008 post entitled “Wiki-ontology, wiki-epistemology: is it Really Real?“
March 11, 2008
Thanks to Corey Beaman for his stunning photography and video clip shown above which he made available via the Creative Commons license in Flickr. He also recommends the www.audi.com/ironman on his blog http://oneighturbo.com/. Billionaire technophile, Tony Stark is Iron Man, who directs a major industrial complex, wearing either his indestructible, hi-tech suit of armor or driving in his invincible Audi R8 which is oddly similar to his armour right down to details like Stark’s artificial heart which resembles the Audi’s mid-engine (http://oneighturbo.com/).The Audi R-8 was chosen by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada as the “2008 Canadian Car of the Year, ” a 420 horsepower, 250 km/hr, two-seat sports car.As Quirks & Quarks’ Bob McDonald wrote in his blog, “Now there’s a clean, efficient car for you, perfect for a country with speed limits of 100km/hr and snow deep enough to ground this low rider on the first turn.” McDonald used the Audi R-8 as an example of what might happen when publicly funded science is limited to one kind of science: applied science driven by building, nurturing and protecting investment climate and the economic environment See Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage . He argued,“Take clean cars for example. Scientists have been working for decades on emission controls, fuel efficiency, fuel cells and alternative ways of making wheels go around. But until regulations are in place that force automakers to use these technologies, they often don’t make it to the road. [. . .] It seems the automakers and the journalists who write about them still think it’s 1969. So if the government is going to invest in new technologies, then regulations, penalties and tax incentives must also be in place to help those technologies get out of the laboratories and really make a difference. Here’s the other danger of focusing on applied science: it doesn’t really develop anything new; it just improves on what’s already out there.”
Bernier, Maxime. 2007. Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage Corporate Publications. Industry Canada. (May 2007) http://www.ic.gc.ca/cmb/welcomeic.nsf/vRTF/PublicationST/$file/S&Tstrategy.pdf
McDonald, Bob. 2008-03 http://www.cbc.ca/technology/quirks-blog/2008/03/new_government_adds_insult_to.html
McDonald, Bob. 2008-01-25 http://www.cbc.ca/technology/quirks-blog/2008/01/no_science_in_the_pms_ear.html
McDonald, Bob. 2008. Budget for science, or at least one kind of science quirks Friday, February 29, 2008.
February 29, 2008
A revised improved version of “Creative Commons” Adobe Photoshop layered image combining elements from M.C. Escher’s print, Davidhazy’s photo of ripples and a Google generated circumpolar globe. The previous version on Flickr was viewed 22,033 times by 2008-02 (uploaded 2006-10).