Education/Newsletter/June 2014/Geneva education department produces two films on Wikipedia editing by students

Student editing a Wikipedia article during class.

By Gabriel Thullen (Wikimedia Switzerland)

The Geneva (Switzerland) education department produced two short films on editing Wikipedia articles by students. These are part of a series of films being produced to illustrate innovative ways of using digital technologies in school. These films are in French, and can be seen on the official website:

The first film shows the editing process from a student's point of view, with a few student interviews. It shows how an article is edited or created in class, from start to finish. The film also talks about finding reliable information on the web, about how the encyclopedia works and how each one of us can help keep this important tool free by adding a little bit of free information. Students can now become actors of the information age, and not mere digital consumers.

The second film is an interview of the teacher in charge of the project. He explains how this Wikipedia editing project allows his students to work on many different computer science skills : word processing, basic editing functions like copy & paste, spell checking, researching information on the web, wiki editing and so on. This is a powerful argument for teachers who need to justify the time spent on Wikipedia editing: this activity enables students to master a large variety of skills that go beyond just reading and writing on the computer. This project is also an example of horizontal pedagogy, both where the teachers can learn from their students, and where there is an active exchange between different subject matters like language courses, geography, history, biology... The second films ends with a prediction that with the advent of Wikipedia, huge 20 volume printed encyclopedias are bound to disappear (no pun intended).

The school project is described on the French Wikipedia:

A second project has been started with high school students, also described on the French Wikipedia:

The remaining challenge is to get the film uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, and maybe have the soundtrack dubbed into different languages.