Education/Newsletter/February 2015/Single

Winter WikiCamp 2015.

By Samir Elsharbaty (WMF)

Snippet: Wikimedia Armenia's new educational project, WikiCamps, engage young students to edit Wikipedia.

Last year, for the first time, Wikimedia Armenia thought of holding extensive training sessions for young students aged 14-20 to train them on editing Wikipedia and make use of their free time and energy in a positive way. That project was WikiCamps. The idea was to work on the younger generation so that they grow a passion for free knowledge.

Campers edited Wikipedia for only 4 hours every day. The rest of their time was spent in doing sports, singing and dancing, etc. Participants wanted to spend more time editing, but the organizers refused. They wanted to keep the young people always active and loving to edit by giving them enough time to rest and to have fun. Another way of supporting and encouraging the young campers was holding a contest for the highest contributor every day and other competitions for fun and leisure activities.

The Armenian chapter spent months preparing for the first event so that mistakes could be avoided. The project exceeded all expectations with stunning results. The first two camps last summer were attended by 135 students who added more than 22 million bytes of content to the Armenian Wikipedia and created 5,425 new articles. 73 students attended the fall camp and the winter camp, adding 997 new articles and more 3 million bytes to Armenian Wikipedia and improving 576 other articles on the Armenian Wiktionary.

Read the post on the Wikimedia Foundation blog here.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Armenia here.

Read more about WikiCamps around the world here.

Skype call with Anna Koval, Wikipedia Education Program Manager.

By Marios Magioladitis (Wikimedia Community User Group Greece)

Snippet: Long-time Wikimedian/educator begins a pilot project on writing Wikipedia articles with adult school students.

The Second Chance School for Adults in Corfu, Greece started a new project to write articles in Greek Wikipedia. It was presented in the Greek school network. The pilot kicked off with a Skype call with Anna Koval, Wikipedia Education Program Manager, who talked to the students about the Wikipedia Education Program and editing Wikipedia.

Approximately 15 students will start editing, in both Greek and English, about the villages of Corfu where they live. They will create new articles for villages that has no article on Wikipedia as well as improving existing ones. They will also take a Wikiexpedition to the villages that they're writing about to take photographs for Wikimedia Commons and to collect source information. Students' contributions will be aggregated on the course page using the Education Program Extension.

The pilot is being led and the class is being taught by long-time Wikimedian and educator Marios Magioladitis, who has been using Wikipedia as a educational tool in adult education for the past few years. He is partnering with a language teacher at the school, who corrects the students' writing (syntax and grammar).

This pilot education program will be evaluated by surveys and personal interviews and will be presented in education conferences next year. The results of this education program will be compared to a similar program organised by educator Kostas Skiadopoulos from Kastellani, a Middle School in Corfu, Greece.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Greece here.

Lazar Simonović at the Seventh Belgrade Gymnasium in 2015.
Lazar Simonović and other students live editing Serbian Wikipedia at the 2014 EduWiki Conference in Belgrade.

By Milica Žarković (WMRS), Ivana Madžarević (WMRS), Anna Koval (WMF)

Snippet: Lazar Simonović, student of VII Belgrade Gymnasium, advocates for education program to continue in his school.

This month, the Education Program in Serbia has developed in a new direction. In contrast to regular practice, which involves WMRS contacting schools about the program, this was the first case where Wikimedia Serbia was invited by a high school student. That student was Lazar Simonović.

For the past tree years, Wikimedia Serbia has had an education program at the VII Belgrade Gymnasium in Karaburma. Their geography teacher, Miroslav Markićević, initiated this project and, after a while, activities were organized for English language classes as well geography classes. Lazar was a student in one of those classes. He asked WMRS to continue the cooperation and offered his support of the program. He also made a formal request to his school principal, who had himself been a teacher in the Wikipedia Education Program.

In addition to participating in the regular Education Program activities which took place in his school, Lazar was also involved with the 2014 EduWiki conference in Belgrade, where he, along with a group of his classmates, wrote articles on the spot, during the conference.

In Lazar's opinion, writing Wikipedia articles is fun and great practice for further education. As a future programmer, he finds using wiki syntax a good way to practice his programming skills. He believes editing Wikipedia is not complicated and that everyone can do it.

Thanks to Lazar, the Wikipedia Education Program is now even more accessible to Serbian high school students, and hopefully, in time, writing Wikipedia articles will become as common practice as paper work for all school subjects - not just some subjects.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Serbia here.

Mia Åsberg, Gunnel Thydell, Jonatan Svensson Glad, and Elisabet Brandberg at Nacka Gymnasium, Sweden.

By Sara Mörtsell (Wikimedia Sverige)

Snippet: In Sweden, the Wikipedia Education Program succeeds with high school students.

One of the classes taking advantage of the new Education Program Extension on Swedish Wikipedia this year is Nacka gymnasium, where teacher Gunnel Thydell has designed assignments for her 18-year-old, senior year students.

Wikipedia Ambassador Jonatan Svensson Glad, 17 years old, and the librarians, Elisabet Brandberg and Mia Åsberg, are the supportive team ensuring that students contributed high quality content.

Their project is encouraging others to continue outreach activities for the Education Program beyond the traditional setting of higher education.

Read the teacher's account of the project, including students' voices (Swedish).

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Sweden here.

Wikipedia sunrise in Arevatsag WikiClub

By Lilit Tarkhanyan (WM AM)

Snippet: Armenian students contribute more than 300,000 bytes of content to Armenian Wiktionary in under a month!

Many workshops are organized through the Wikipedia Education Program in Armenian high schools to involve more students in editing Wikimedia projects. During the program, Wikimedia Armenia noticed that not all of the students easily learn Wikipedia editing techniques or are able to write an article that meets the project's rules (encyclopedic style, etc.). As their wish to edit Wikipedia and its sister projects is enormous, we decided to involve these students in Wiktionary instead because it's easier to edit it for a newbie. After the students gain enough skills, then they can move on to Wikipedia. With this project, we were able to make editing Wikimedia projects available to any Armenian student.

The Wikisun rose in the village of Arevatsag, which is translated as "sunrise". Why Arevatsag village? Arpine is one of Armenian Wikipedia editors who live there and she is an Armenian language and literature teacher in the village school. With WM AM support, a WikiClub was opened in January in Arevatsag where Arpine gathered her students to teach them how to edit Wiktionary. We had only about 3,000 Armenian words in Wiktionary and we decided to improve them first and then create new ones. The students began editing with great enthusiasm!

The Sunrise WikiClub (in Armenian: Արևածագի վիքիակումբ) in under 1 month, between January 12 and February 5 2015, has contributed a remarkable amount of content to Armenian Wiktionary through this WikiClub! 36 students improved 256 articles, made 745 edits, and added 308 038 bytes of content to Armenian Wiktionary through this Education program. Statistics for the project so far are shown here.

View photos from the Arevatsag WikiClub on Wikimedia Commons here.

Read more about Wikimedia Armenia's Wiktionary education project here.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Armenia here.

Share ideas from your WikiClubs here.

Nada, the new Wikipedia Ambassador receiving her certificate in the last celebration conference

By May Hachem (Wikipedia Education Program Egypt)

Snippet: Chinese language department in Egypt's Al-Alsun joins the Wikipedia Education Program with a new translation course supported by a new Wikipedia Ambassador.

The Department of Chinese Language in the Languages School (Al-Alsun) at Ain Shams University in Cairo, starts its first translation course since the program launched in Egypt to share the great success that the program witnessed in its five consecutive terms. Until now, 100% of the applicants, in this group, are female.

Students will be assigned to translate featured and good articles from the Chinese Wikipedia about the world’s influential female figures. The selected biographies do not give special attention to a specific race, religion, country or category, but rather focus on women worldwide.

Students have begun translating and creating their accounts on the Arabic Wikipedia. In the coming few weeks, they will be taught how to edit Wikipedia.

A new Wikipedia Ambassador has joined our volunteer team to help the new students, since she is well acquainted with the editing skills on Wikipedia. Nada Samir is a former Turkish Language Department course student who made special contributions last term.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Egypt here.

Read more about Wikimedia Ambassadors here.

Eduction toolkit banner and navbar.
Education toolkit introductory slidedeck.

By Samir Elsharbaty (WMF) and Anna Koval (WMF)

Snippet: The first program toolkit has been launched to help program leaders start, develop, and grow their education programs.

the Learning & Evaluation team and the Education team at the Wikimedia Foundation, together with the Wikipedia Education Collaborative launched the first program toolkit: the Education Program Toolkit.

Using knowledge shared and collected over the past decade, the education toolkit contains resources and strategies that volunteers have tested and refined through their practice.

The education toolkit aims at helping program leaders find the best practices when designing and implementing a new idea. The tips were gleaned from the experiences and expertise of education program leaders around the world.

Walking the reader through the process step-by-step, the toolkit tackles the common issues that a program initiator would face: from the beginning, when planning a program and looking for partnerships to help with implementing ideas, through finding resources and strategies to help with assignment design and program management.

Efforts made earlier in 2014 by the WMF's global education team to study the existing education programs around the world in 66 countries revealed several facts that paved the way for the development of this toolkit, which would be a repository of new solutions to help program leaders. 71% of content added by students went to Wikipedia while almost a third, 29%, was added to other sister projects. 60% of participants are in fact university students, but the remaining third are secondary school students (20%) and teacher training programs (13%). This mapping was shared in the team’s Quarterly Review and on the program's public dashboard.

Communicating with other programs around the world by sharing your experiences in a blog post, a newsletter post or a learning pattern, and learning from other experiences shared by the same ways, helps ideas travel from one country to another and get developed by new volunteers. This collaborative movement is always open and looking forward to your participation.

Visit the Education Toolkit on Meta wiki here.

Learn about the Education Toolkit on Outreach wiki here.

Watch the Education Toolkit launch on Youtube here.

Read about the toolkit project on the Wikimedia blog here.


By Samir Elsharbaty (WMF)

Snippet: New education learning patterns answer many how-to questions for program leaders.

Do you want to launch a new education program in your country or at your educational institution or have you already begun but you face many challenges? Do you need consultation, advice, or ideas on how to do things and how to overcome certain troubles that others went through before? If your answer is yes, then you should pay a visit to the Learning Pattern Library; a place where you can find answers to most of the important questions you may have when planning and implementing an education program and many other Wikimedia-related projects.

A learning pattern is a method to share a successful strategy previously used to execute or evaluate an activity or to solve a problem so that others may benefit in the future. Recently, many new learning patterns have been created to give advice and tips to help with education projects. The new learning patterns troubleshoot many of the basic issues everyone has when designing and running their programs, from how to reach out to new educators and how to bring students to editathons to improving the quality of articles by new users, etc. Like everything in the wiki world, the learning patterns are editable, translatable and anyone can write new ones at any time.

Browse education learning patterns in the Learning Pattern Library or create a new one.

Browse all learning patterns in the Learning Pattern Library or create a new one.

Read more about learning patterns and this project on the Wikimedia blog.


By Samir Elsharbaty (WMF)

Snippet: The global education program is joining Facebook for the first time with new global education group. Join us!

Since the beginning of the Wikipedia Education Program, volunteers around the world have been in contact with each other and with the education team at the Wikimedia Foundation using various ways including the Wikimedia Education mailing list, email, IRC and GChat, face-to-face meetings such as the Wikipedia Education Collaborative meetings, and social media website accounts for local and regional programs like the Arab World Education Program, the Czech Republic Education program accounts on different social media websites, Wikimedia Armenia's WikiCamps, the Wiki Education Foundation and other similar examples. Meanwhile, the global education program stayed away from social media websites until now.

There was a growing need for an easier method of communication for program leaders, professors, students, staff and everyone involved to discuss their ideas, chat, brainstorm, problem solve and work virtually on their new programs. Social media websites are believed to be a quicker, easier way to talk from mobile and tablet devices than talkpages and mailing lists. This new Facebook group will not replace the existing mailing list and other contact options. It will work alongside with them trying to reach out to everyone who is involved or interested in Wikipedia in Education.

Join us in the new Facebook group and meet the people who brought success to Wikipedia Education Program around the world. Discuss, collaborate and ask questions and get answers from elder program leaders and the WMF education team. We all look forward to connecting with you there!

Visit and join the new Wikipedia Education Program Facebook group.

Find other options of communicating with Wikipedia Education Program.

Wikipedia not destroying life as we know it


A study by Monash University's professor Neil Selwyn found that Wikipedia shouldn't be excluded from academia. Seven of eight students, including high-achieving ­students, use Wikipedia regularly, but it is not their primary reference and does not replace libraries and other online resources. Selwyn believes that universities should find ways to integrate Wikipedia into accepted student research methods as well as using their own research to contribute to Wikipedia. The author suggests that professors are forced to edit Wikipedia for a while by the Australian government in order to understand a prominent source of information they totally ignore.

Read the full article here.

Howard University Fills in Wikipedia’s Gaps in Black History

James Hare, President of Wikimedia DC

In this article, The New York Times covers the editathons held at Howard University to bridge the gap in black history. Students gathered at Howard's research center, which is one of the world's biggest information repositories for African-American history, for the editathons and utilized those resources to reinforce the black history articles on English Wikipedia. James Hare, President of Wikimedia DC, considers the stereotype of a Wikipedia editor being a 30 year-old white man who only shares the interests of men like him is what led to many gaps in the content of the free encyclopedia in the first place. In February, students and professors of Howard University exerted great efforts to narrow these gaps.

Read the full article here.

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales among 2015 Dan David Prize winners

File photo

In May, Tel Aviv University awards its Dan David Prize for 2015. Three annual prizes each of one million dollars go to "proven, exceptional and distinct excellence in the sciences, arts, and humanities that have made an outstanding contribution to humanity." On February 10, the university announced the winners of this year. Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, has been named for the this year's prize for information revolution for creating an encyclopedia for everyone to use and contribute to. This article in Eurekalert calls Wikipedia, an encyclopedia that nearly all internet users read, is a great achievement for humanity to appreciate.

Read the full article here.

Wikipedia editing class to build knowledge of Irish role in WWI


The Irish Times covers recent editahons organized by Wikimedia Community Ireland at the National Museum of Ireland and the National University of Ireland, Galway, which aimed at creating and developing articles about Ireland and its role in World War I. Ireland played a great role in the first World War, as around 250,000 fought there and 35,000 were killed, yet Wikipedia still lacks detailed information about this role.

Read the full article here.

College of Arts and Architecture to host ‘Edit-a-Thon’ to improve Wikipedia Cove


Saturday March 7, 2015 from 12 PM to 5 PM, the College of Arts and Architecture will be holding an editathon for scholars, educators and artists aiming at increasing gender diversity on Wikipedia by adding more content about women. The event is scheduled to synchronize with the International Women’s Day weekend, March 7–8, in New York City. The editathon will be coordinated by Karen Keifer-Boyd, a professor of art education and women’s studies, who believes that these efforts are complementing earlier efforts made in the 1970s to acknowledge women's participation in making history.

Read the full article here.