Education/Newsletter/March 2015/Educator conference successfully concludes teachers' online courses

By Shai Katz (WMIL)

Teachers at the WMIL's conference
A presentation of Naraview, an educational game
A panel discussion with members of the Hebrew Wikipedia community

Snippet: Wikimedia Israel organized an educators' conference together with the Israeli Ministry of Education and the Center for Educational Technology.

Wikimedia Israel (WMIL) together with the Israeli Ministry of Education and the Center for Educational Technology organized an educators' conference dealing with educational use of Wikipedia. The conference was a successful conclusion to the first round of teachers' online courses about the use of Wikipedia in the classroom that was developed by the three organizing bodies.

The conference hosted about 100 teachers who had participated in the course together with senior officials from the Israeli Ministry of Education, WMIL representatives and the Hebrew Wikipedia community.

Various educational applications developed by Israeli educators were presented. A high school history teacher presented a multi-disciplinary project led by both English and history teachers. Students were asked to read articles dealing with historical events on the Hebrew Wikipedia and then compare them to the matching English articles. Then they were invited to discuss the differences and share their insights with the class. The teacher noted that this process encouraged critical reading, development of language skills in Hebrew and English and the demonstration to their peers of the development of a fitting product.

Two high school teachers from another school presented an educational game, Naraview, (based on the game Wikirace) Students compete using their smartphones, and teachers follow their progress on central screens together with the whole class.

Other educators emphasized the relevance of Wikipedia to various elements of the curricula. A teacher of the Rabbinic literature compared the collaborative creation of content in Wikipedia to the traditional Jewish process of learning in which scholars challenge each other.

Michal Lester, WMIL Executive Director, described inspiring educational projects from Armenia, France, Sweden, Argentina and Greece. Later, a panel discussion was held in which members of the Hebrew Wikipedia community responded to educators' questions. The conference ended with a fascinating talk of Lior Tzoref, a lecturer and a strategic consultant in the field of crowd wisdom.

The conference and the courses are part of ongoing collaboration between WMIL and the education system in Israel. As a part of this collaboration, WMIL intends also to launch a project with language teachers who will instruct students in writing entries for the Hebrew Wiktionary.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Israel here.