Students should be taught how to use Wikipedia, according to its founder Jimmy Wales, who cited the benefits it can yield as an online encyclopaedia rather than a reference source.
Wales denied the idea that Wikipedia should be banned in schools owing to concerns about inaccuracy, saying that students use the site whether they are permitted to or not.
"A hundred percent of all students are using Wikipedia. This debate that we used to have five years ago about should students use Wikipedia or not is frankly irrelevant. They are using Wikipedia. It's just a fact of reality," he said at the BETT 2015 event in London.
"What we need to do is teach students how to use Wikipedia. It has its strengths and it has its weaknesses. It's really crucial that we educate this next generation on those strengths and those weaknesses."
Wales explained that schools and universities need to teach students to use the site in the same way they would an encyclopaedia. "You don't cite Wikipedia as a source. It's where you go to get started," he said.
He explained that students need to follow the links in Wikipedia to check the original sources, as this will help them to understand how knowledge is created in society.
Wales hopes that this will encourage students to contribute to Wikipedia, thereby helping the website to grow and improve.
"You too can take part in that process. That's an incredibly important lesson and Wikipedia shows [students] how that can happen," he said.
Wikipedia's "greatest impact is yet to come", according to Wales, who pointed out that the site is still unable to provide good quality information in languages beyond English.
Wales said that Wikipedia's translation projects are making information "more democratised" to open up knowledge to more people across the globe.
One example is a medical translation project that helps people to find medical information on the site in their own language.
Wales cited the Ebola crisis, where the project translated Wikipedia's English entry on the virus into African languages to counterbalance large amounts of incorrect information.
However, Wikipedia may need to overcome some of the restrictions imposed by Europe's Right to be Forgotten legislation.
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