Education/News/September 2017/Klexikon

Klexikon: the German 'childrens' Wikipedia' in Montréal edit

Author: Ziko van Dijk

Summary: In 2014, Wikimedia Deutschland supported the creation of a new wiki. The 'Klexikon' is a wiki encyclopedia with children as readers. At the 2017 Wikimania in Montréal, Canada, I presented the Klexikon in several ways and am happy about the response. The future will show whether people in other countries will follow the concept.

For more than 10 years, the fans of Wikipedia meet annually at a different place in the world. This time, they came to the Francophone part of Canada. 'Wikimania' united Wikipedia authors with educators, museum collaborators, computer scientists but also representants from novel and strange wikis. The Wikimedia movement is open and curious enough to welcome new initiatives, luckily.

The journalist Michael Schulte and I started the Klexikon as a wiki on December 1st, 2014. After a long 'career' in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia wikis, I was interested in a new encyclopedia that could learn from the Wikipedia experience. Our idea became the Klexikon, with 'K' coming from the German words Kinder (children) and Lexikon (encyclopedia). We had a look at already existing childrens' encyclopedias in Dutch and French, learned from search engines for children, and met the people from ZUM e.V. ZUM (Zentrale für Unterrichtsmedien im Internet) is a German association of teachers and activists for Open Educational Resources. It became the host of the Klexikon, as it already runs some successful wikis in the educational sector.

A wiki encyclopedia for children must differ from an encyclopedia for grown-ups, such as Wikipedia. The Klexikon is editable only with an account under the real name. The most important feature is the readability for children from 6 to 12. Writing for children seems to be quite difficult, we saw in many workshops, but not impossible.

In Montréal, at Wikimania, I had a poster session and presented the Klexikon at the lunch table of the Wikimedia & Education User Group. The people found the Klexikon interesting because you can reach different target groups than with Wikipedia, visit different educational institutions and so on. Of course, until now it exists only in German. A gentleman from a different linguistic community told me that we has going to see wether he can find support for a Klexikon in his language.

Tags:Elementary school, children, enyclopedia, wiki