Thursday, July 24, 2008

Google's Knol Launches: who will contribute?

I thought some folks who are readers of this blog might be interested in the launch of Google's online encyclopedia, Knol, which became publicly available yesterday, July 23: knol.google.com. There's a nice overview of the project in Wired magazine online.

Although it seems unlikely that it will ever achieve the scope of wikipedia (?), Google's Knol offers one important difference from wikipedia: the articles in Knol are attributed, and changes to those articles are moderated by the author. There can be competing articles on a given topic, each attributed to a specific author (or a group of authors working in collaboration). You can learn more in the Help section of knol.google.com.

Of course, I felt compelled to contribute an article about Aesop along with an article about a typical fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf. The articles are listed here - each author creates a profile page to establish their credentials, and then the articles you contribute are listed down the side in the right-hand column: Knol Author Page.

So, what do you all think? I personally find wikipedia to a great resource, but I know there are many teachers and professors who feel differently, and even forbid their students from using wikipedia. Well, here is a great opportunity to provide an online alternative to wikipedia - and my idealistic sense says that everybody has something of value to contribute! I know that what I can contribute is material related to Aesop and Aesop's fables. I would urge everybody who also has a sense of what they can contribute to log on and write an article. The interface is easy to use (you can insert links, images, etc.). By sharing our efforts at this nice new online resource, teachers can definitely make a positive contribution to educational resources available to our students online.

What do people think is going to happen with Google's Knol? What would you LIKE to see happen with the Knol?




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