You know, one of the things that we talk about a lot in education is Inquiry-Based Learning. The basic idea is that when you get students (of any age) to ask questions, then they are driving their own learning, and those questions can take people way past the minimum requirements of a subject into complex (and fascinating) areas where they can excel… because they are motivated to learn through their own questions.
When you are the one asking the questions, you integrate the concepts into your conceptual view of the world instead of popping them into short-term storage for the test, and then dumping that information later. We learn much more about the interrelationship of ideas as we question as well, because we are fitting it all into our heads as the way we understand life.
This is one of the reasons that a place like WikiAnswers is amazing. It provides an area where anyone, from anywhere, can learn. And where anyone, from anywhere can teach… and the labels cease to matter, because we’re all learners and all teachers. I answer someone’s question about a science fiction story, and someone else answers my question about how to replace my broken door handle… and everyone wins, and everyone learns.
Sure, some people ask silly questions… and some people post silly answers. But we get a chuckle out of the first, and supervisors monitor the site trying to ensure that people get quality answers.
The great thing is that, despite the existence of vandals, and despite not always having enough Supervisors to keep the site pristine all the time, we really do have a learning community. People who are dedicated to knowledge… to teaching, to learning, and to helping each other. … that is a great group to be a part of, in my book.