Won't Be Fooled Again ...

A number of people, myself included, when giving workshops about wikis in education point to the South African Curriculum wiki. In the last 2 months I've met a few South African educators and commented that I thought putting their national curriculum on a wiki was a rather bold thing to do.

After I finished explaining what a wiki is, every one of them expressed disbelief that the government of South Africa was actually behind such a thing. So, I did some digging ...

The South African Curriculum is not on a wiki. Here is the wiki everyone has linked to.

Looking at it a little more closely, it appears to be an initiative started by an individual or small group. It is sparsely populated with content and largely incomplete. I only really looked at the math section from which it is clear that at least that part of the curriculum is incomplete. Note also that it is a project of Wikibooks, "a collection of open content textbooks. This site is a wiki, meaning that anyone, including you, can edit any book ..." (You can learn more about Wikibooks here.)

Here is the Government of South Africa's Department of Education website. There are no direct links to curriculum.

A South African (textbook?) publisher has a summary of the new South African Curriculum implementation from 2004 and lists the curricular outcomes here.

The South African Government has a summary of their new curriculum for 2005 here but there are no detailed descriptions of learning outcomes.

You can register (free) to access all the South African Curriculum resources here but I had a hard time finding a listing of their curricular outcomes. When (if?) you register, do a "keyword search" (top right hand corner of page) for "curriculum" and you'll hit several curriculum documents.

Whenever I talk about wikis in workshops I have given I always emphasize the importance of verifying information from multiple sources. "Wikipedia is just a starting point for inquiry." I have seen, heard and given a number of presentations referencing the South African Curriculum wiki as though it were a credible source. I don't know that it is. I would have to compare the list of specific resources and documents I found on the government site to the wiki to be sure. I haven't done that yet.

I learned something important here. Verifying information on wikis using multiple sources is for everyone. I won't make the same mistake twice. ;-)