Wikipedia announced today a new “visual editor” that will make it much more accessible to contribute to its pages. They’re introducing it slowly, and it doesn’t appear that it will work for most entries for awhile.
I think it will be a great opportunity for students. Wikipedia’s complicated interface has made it problematic for use by “mainstream” users. The Visual Editor will make it extremely easy (you can try it out at the above link) to use, and it’s a great opportunity to write for an authentic audience.
And we all know how critical an authentic audience can be for student motivation. In fact, a study on that topic recently found a direct connection to Wikipedia: Wikipedia Improves Students’ Work: Students Become Much More Concerned With Accuracy When Their Research Is Posted Online, Study Finds.