Thursday, January 17, 2019

Four UIS Teacher Education majors write peer reviewed article for Wikipedia

Four University of Illinois Springfield Teacher Education majors recently had their research article published on the website Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia. The students wrote an article on “Mainstreaming” in education as part of an optional final project in Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Jennifer Martin’s TEP 315 class.

Students Ashley Brown and Kelly Mast of Jacksonville, Lauren Reichert of Winchester and Cassidy Yates of Springfield wrote the article, which was peer reviewed by Wikipedia.

“The Wikipedia Student Program is a formalized exercise,” said Martin. “Students must complete a series of training modules, and any writing they do goes through a serious vetting process.”

According to their Wikipedia article, “Mainstreaming” in education is “the practice of placing students with special education services in a general education classroom during specific time periods based on their skills.”

“This assignment allowed me to focus on an area of the education field that I feel passionate about, as well as challenged me to go above and beyond to create something that others would learn from,” said Brown.

“I really enjoyed this project because it gave my research for our course an actual purpose - it motivated me to work at a higher level, because I knew that it would be accessed by anyone wanting to find out more information on the topic,” said Reichert.

Yates added, “It was great to be a part of the process that occurs between the publication of academic journals and the creation of Wikipedia articles.”

Martin became aware of the Wikipedia Student Program two years ago when she attended a conference featuring representatives from the website.

“I learned that writers for Wikipedia tend to reflect dominant/hegemonic narratives. In other words, there are fewer articles on women and people of color, issues of equity, etc,” she said. “At the training, I learned that Wikipedia was looking for more diverse authors of content, and for new authors to rewrite some articles that were told only from a dominant perspective.”

Martin decided to offer the optional final project as a way to promote education equality on the website.

“I am glad that Dr. Martin gave us this option and very grateful that she motivated us and assisted us in the process,” said Mast. “It is rewarding to know that the hard work put forth by my group will be seen by many.”

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