Educational programs are one of the primary programs being addressed by Wikimedia Armenia. To date, they have been implemented in seven high schools and select departments at various universities. Contrary to what we see in other countries, today, the most active contributors within Armenian Wikipedia are high school students, who, to date, have created more than 2,110 articles and continue their active participation well passed their assigned courses.
The high school program started 9 months ago, when the administration of the AYB high school and Wikimedia Armenia volunteers started their partnership by conducting workshops for the AYB students. The students were encouraged to write their first articles based on the Armenian Encyclopedia published during the Soviet Regime, so their initial effort would be towards learning how to create and edit articles, rather than content creation. To help create enthusiasm, the students were divided into three teams. The teams that created the largest number of articles with high quality won a prize. The jury was composed of experienced editors from Armenian Wikipedia.
During the first completion, 14 students participated. Within a month, they created 218 articles. The results were satisfactory and the students were enthusiastic.
Following the success at AYB, other high schools within Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, and two high schools from outside of Yerevan, joined the program. Experienced editors/contributors from the high schools were recruited to train other students within their schools. For example, at AYB, 21 students were trained during the second wave, and subsequently created 800 articles.
Another educational program that grabbed the attention of the youth is the “Translators’ Corner” program. The program identifies existing articles that need improvement, and provides links to well written articles on the same topic but in other languages. Students sign up to edit the articles by updating them with translations from the identified sources. 12 students actively participated in the program, improving 132 articles and adding 520 kilobytes of information.
The Wikimedia Armenia High school program has introduced 120 active high school participants. They have contributed about 2110 articles, 5,385,184 bytes of information and have performed over 5141 edits. The video found at the top of this page was created with the participations of AYB high school students, where the students shared their experiences editing Wikipedia.
Within the universities, we are currently working with psychology and physics majors. Our next targets are biology majors. The goal is to enrich Armenian Wikipedia with scientific articles. The success registered in the Wikipedia education program, encouraged Wikimedia Armenia to initiate the Wikicamp program, at Vanadzor, one of the scenic locations in Armenia (July 6-20, August 12-26). The participants in the camp program will be within the ages of 14 -20, who have shown active participation within Wikipedia education programs. The goal of the camp is to introduce them to tools and capabilities they are currently not familiar with and to help them improve the quality of their output. Campers will also participate in day trips to various cultural and historical sights within the region. This will help them become better contributors to existing and upcoming Wikimedia programs such as Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves Earth and 100 Years of Survival.
Lilit Tarkhanyan, Board Member and Education Program Leader, Wikimedia Armenia