Reading & Literacy

The Creator of Wikipedia Turns to Education Videos

By Sean Cavanagh — November 17, 2009 1 min read
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The co-founder of Wikipedia has launched a Web site designed to offer free access to thousands of education-related videos for students ages 3-18.

Larry Sanger, who helped create Wikipedia and has since left the organization, says the new site, www.watchknow.org, will allow students and teachers to sort through a library of online videos by content, and pick out what they need. Topics range from math and science to history. The site is meant to house and organize videos that are free and available online, yet which most people don’t know how to find.

The site was launched in October. So far it offers 11,000 videos in 2,000 categories. The contributions have come from National Geographic and Google Videos, among many other sources.

Sanger describes it as “YouTube meets Wikipedia.” He adds in a statement: “WatchKnow.org links together content from traditional sites, and also allows users of the site to improve the organization of the video categories, which makes finding the video you need much easier.”

I suppose there’s no more appropriate way to sum up Sanger’s background than by sending you to this page. His bio says he left Wikipedia seven years and has since been critical of the online encyclopedia. Wikis have become popular in K-12 classrooms over the years, despite educators’ and others’ worries about who is writing and controlling the content, and how it can be verified.

The project is funded the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, whose officials hope to have more than 50,000 videos on the site by the end of 2010. What will this site contribute, if anything, to the nation’s classrooms?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.


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