Wikimania 2007 Taipei :: a Globe in Accord
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This page is part of the Proceedings of Wikimania 2007 (Index of presentations)

Taiwanese Students and Wikipedia: A Good Mix

Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: The Mind of Wikipedia

Panelist David Pendery (Independent scholar)
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About the panelist
David Pendery is an American living in Taipei, Taiwan. He teaches and attends the doctoral English Literature program at National Chengchi University. David Pendery has lived in Taipei for six years, and was married to a Taiwanese woman in 2003. They live in Taipei, with no kids, just a cat, Loudmouth. He has proposed two events, both of which have been accepted by the conference. One is a theoretical paper for presentation, entitled "Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: The Mind of Wikipedia," and one is a panel discussion with Taiwanese college students about their use of Wikpedia, and it's value as an educational tool.
I have two presentations at Wikimania:
  • The first, "Taiwanese Students and Wikipedia: A Good Mix," is a round-table discussion with four Taiwanese students studying English, and myself, presenting experiences with Wikipedia, and views on its value (or lack of value). I am an American attending college in Taipei, and have seen many English-speaking Taiwanese students use Wikipedia in their classroom presentations. I know they rely on it, but there is a very negative backlash from many Taiwanese professors who dismiss Wikipedia, and forbid it's usage (for the standard reasons). So this is a good debate, which Taiwanese students have a good role in, and view of Wikipedia. The use of Wikipedia as an English language education and learning tool is also part of this discussion.
  • The second presentation, "Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: The Mind of Wikipedia," is an analysis of Wikipedia as a new facet of human community epistemology and communication. My approach is based on the theory of Dr. Gerald Edelman, who has proposed a unique theory of consciousness (the title of my paper is the title of Edelman's 1992 book). Edelman’s theory, which I will apply to the "mind" of Wikipedia, is that human consciousness stems from neuronal networks in the brain, which are structured in massively parallel formations of overlapping data maps and circuits. These maps and circuits receive huge amounts of independent inputs, which are managed and “interpreted” by way of reentry signaling and feedback looping mechanisms, all of which distills and assembles information, and strengthens conceptual creation, organization and disposition in the human mind. This entire system, from which the fantastic and mysterious perceptivity of human consciousness emerges, is dynamic to the extreme, densely complex, entirely self-organizing and highly adaptive to new inputs, responses and outputs. We see in Edelman’s descriptions a virtual mapping of the Wikipedia system.
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