Wikimedia blog

News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Archive for July 17, 2013

The humming teachers

At the annual meeting of Wikimedia Sweden, we decided that a video should be created about education and Wikipedia. The task of creating this video was assigned the Education Manager as a high priority. As the Education Manager then, I thought what a bliss to have such a creative task where possibilities are endless as a priority! I called up my previous drama teacher who quite recently had started up a production company with the dancing teacher and a few old pupils. They were happily to help. I was in charge of the fun (I do of course realize that we all differ in the aspect of what’s fun) aspects, such as writing a script, finding clothes to wear and playing parts.

But what was it going to be about?! Okay, I thought, people wanted it to be instructional. But all I could see blinking before my eyes was ‘BORING’. So no, no instructional video with someone simply talking or showing some Wikipedia pages (not to say that such a video may not be useful). So I began with characters. Who was going to take part in this little video? A teacher of course. And what would she be like? Ah, like someone I met at a conference who yelled at me for asking her to support the terrible Wikipedia which she knew made so much money whilst asking her poor pupils to contribute. So she was my role model.

But she also needed a savior. Someone to take her away from that negativity and to see the light and the greatness of Wikipedia. So there came the woman coming from above, and well, also in the trash can. She was just everywhere, and you couldn’t ignore her, just like Wikipedia! But then I thought, there should be something that teachers can hum, and say to each other as a jingle as to remember what to look for on Wikipedia with their pupils, and there was KÄ DI HI, which are the two first letters for references, discussion and history in Swedish. I saw in my little head a group of teachers, not totally unlike the singing von Trapp family in Sound of Music doing the Do Re Me, which had now turned into Kä, Di, Hi.

And this was the result.

We now have subtitles in English, Chinese and Portuguese for the video, with many more to come I hope. I look forward to the day when teachers and their pupils all around the world can joint the family of Wikimedia singing Kä, Di, Hi (or perhaps in English Re, Di, Hi).

Sophie Österberg, Wikipedia Education Program

Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Day: Smoo Cave

The second chamber of the Smoo Cave near Durness, Scotland.

Florian Fuchs has been an avid contributor to Wikimedia Commons for over 5 years. The amateur photographer is from Carinthia, Austria, and is the Chief Technical Officer at the rescue coordination center for the Austrian Red Cross,

On a recent trip to the majestic Scottish Highlands, he shot this photo above of Smoo Cave, a salt and freshwater cave near Durness. As he explained, the photo would be useful for expanding the Smoo Cave article on English Wikipedia, which he had been interested in for some time.

The photo would also impress his peers on the free knowledge Commons database and become the Picture of the Day for July 17, 2013.

“My wife and I went on a trip to Scotland at the end of May. We stayed at Tongue for two nights; the village is very small and remote, without any tourist attractions beside the beautiful landscape,” Fuchs explained. “When we checked out our travel guide for interesting points in the vicinity we found Smoo Cave. Immediately, I wanted to try and take the shot myself and donate it to the Commons community.”

So, Fuchs became an amateur spelunker. But there’s hardly anything amateur about his efforts. Initially, it was difficult to even get the shot. The only way inside the cave’s second chamber was via a narrow, wooden platform. Once upon it, he set up the shot using his travel tripod and his camera, a Nikon D7000.

“At a lucky moment where no one was on the runway, I took a few shots with an exposure time of one minute. During the exposure, I did not dare to move at all because the runway was quite shaky.”

Fuchs’ brilliant photo is a nice illustration for the caverns’ Wikipedia page, but it can also be used for nearly any purpose beyond the Wikimedia projects, given its free license.

Fuchs said it made him happy when people enjoy his photos and he hoped it would encourage them to visit themselves. people enjoy them. “Sometimes, people tell me that the pictures are ‘stunning’ or just ‘wow’ and those are the moments when I feel really rewarded for taking all the time and effort to get a really good picture,” he said.