Piotr Konieczny is a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. He studies the impact of changes in communication technology on evolution of political systems and is interested in applications of Wikipedia as a teaching tool. More details are available on his Wikipedia user page.
Wikis are a very versatile tool and are increasingly finding applications in teaching. Wikipedia is no exception, as Wikipedia:School and university projects and Wikiversity projects are just a beginning of their career, roughly being where Wikipedia was in 2002. Wikipedia can be used for various assignments and various groups: for example, students can be asked to reference an unreferenced article, improve the English language of a poorly written one, translate an article between various Wikis or create a completely new, encyclopedic article for their project. In doing so, students will be introduced to the helpful Wikipedia community, and see that the task of writing an article is not only a 'boring assignment' but something millions of people do 'for fun'. Finally, one of the most important benefits of having students edit the Wiki is that they realize they and everybody else will benefit from their efforts. An incredible amount of creativity is wasted around the world when students' papers are discarded after being graded. By submitting their work to Wiki not only will the students be able to access it from any place, any time, but it will benefit - and be improved upon - by the entire world.