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News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Posts Tagged ‘education’

Digging for Data: How to Research Beyond Wikimetrics

The next virtual meet-up will point out research tools. Join!!

For Learning & Evaluation, Wikimetrics is a powerful tool for pulling data for wiki project user cohorts, such as edit counts, pages created and bytes added or removed. However, you may still have a variety of other questions, for instance:

How many members of WikiProject Medicine have edited a medicine-related article in the past three months?
How many new editors have played The Wikipedia Adventure?
What are the most-viewed and most-edited articles about Women Scientists?

Questions like these and many others regarding the content of Wikimedia projects and the activities of editors and readers can be answered using tools developed by Wikimedians all over the world. These gadgets, based on publicly available data, rely on databases and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). They are maintained by volunteers and staff within our movement.

On July 16, Jonathan Morgan, research strategist for the Learning and Evaluation team and wiki-research veteran, will begin a three-part series to explore some of the different routes to accessing Wikimedia data. Building off several recent workshops including the Wiki Research Hackathon and a series of Community Data Science Workshops developed at the University of Washington, in Beyond Wikimetrics, Jonathan will guide participants on how to expand their wiki-research capabilities by accessing data directly through these tools.


Wikipedia for Schools Project

Teachers and students in Nyeri, Kenya listening to a tutorial under the Wikipedia for Schools Project.

In 2005, SOS Children, the world’s largest charity for orphan and abandoned children[1] [2] launched the “A World of Learning” project, which handpicks Wikipedia articles and categorizes them by subject for schoolchildren around the world to use. The project focuses on content that is suitable for students between the ages of 8-17 based on the UK education curriculum. In November 2006, the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) endorsed the project, which resulted in its relaunch as “Wikipedia for Schools” and its new web address ( Ever since then, the project continues to enjoy the support of The Wikimedia Foundation. The website went through subsequent revisions in 2008-09 as well as in 2013. The 2013 edition has 6,000 articles, 26 million words and 50,000 images – making it a fairly large project that caters to the needs of school children across the globe. The online Website also contains “download the website” link which enables users to download the material for use without internet connection. [1]

Hole in the Wall Education Ltd (HiWEL) supported the Wikipedia for Schools project in an effort to expand its reach in Learning Stations in India and African countries.[2] The program has received recognition from around the world for its far reaching impact. According to Subir from Nepal’s online learning project E-Pustakalaya, “Wikipedia for Schools has been really useful in public schools in Nepal. The students of remote corners of Nepal, where there is no internet access, now know about the diverse culture, religion, art, science and lifestyles of the countries around the world. All credit goes to the team that built this wonderful repository of information for schools.” [1] Similarly, Patrick of Treverton Schools, South Africa, welcomed the effort as “fantastic resource for schools with little or no bandwidth, of which there are many here in South Africa.”


Israel’s Ministry of Education & Wikimedia Israel Agree On New, Unique Initiative

Rabbi Shai Piron, Israel’s Education Minister, Jan-Bart de Vreede, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, Itzik Edri, Chair of the Wikimedia Israel Board and Michal Lester, Executive Director of Wikimedia Israel

An agreement was met in a meeting between Rabbi Shai Piron, Israel’s Education Minister, Jan-Bart de Vreede, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, Itzik Edri, Chair of the Wikimedia Israel Board and Michal Lester, Executive Director of Wikimedia Israel, regarding a shared cooperation with Wikimedia Israel in the framework of the ministry’s school curricula in the coming years. Through the planned cooperation, history, geography and science teachers will receive special professional training to instruct students on how to contribute to new or incomplete Wikipedia articles for which information is lacking or inadequate.

Rabbi Shai Piron, Israel’s Education Minister, Jan-Bart de Vreede, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

The Education Ministry will also examine the possibility of integrating Wikipedia writing assignments in the teaching of research and community involvement. They will also consider having students who speak additional languages (primarily English and Russian) write Wikipedia articles about Israel in those particular languages.

Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron said, “It is important to us that the education system in Israel leads in innovation and cooperating with Wikipedia is a wonderful opportunity to think outside the box and enable students in Israel to do things that make a difference from which others can also benefit.”

Jan-Bart de Vreede, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees said, “Israel is today among the leading countries in the integration of Wikipedia in the education system and academia. I hope our joint work model will also serve as an example to other education systems around the world.”

In the framework of cooperation that is already in place between Wikimedia Israel and the Ministry of education, several pilot projects are being conducted. The projects involve teacher training in good Wikipedia usage, article composition, Wikipedia article writing by gifted high school students and the teaching of proper Wikipedia usage to elementary schoolchildren. It is worth mentioning that through cooperation with academics in a variety of universities and colleges throughout Israel, hundreds of articles are written each year by students in courses. Thus students write Wikipedia articles as part of their degrees, sometimes even in lieu of exams or final papers. The Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University recently conducted a special 2-credit course on the subject of Wikipedia and medicine.

Survey results published last week as part of Wikipedia Academy 2014 Israel revealed that 84% of the Israeli public relies heavily on Wikipedia and 74% say that it provides all the information they need. Over one third of the population expressed interest in learning to write for Wikipedia.

Itzik Edri, Chair of Wikimedia Israel Board

In Egypt, Ain Shams’ Al-Alsun celebrates four terms of successful work on Wikipedia

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Arabic


Students, ambassadors and professors celebrate as they wrap up the fourth term on Wikipedia.

Two years ago the Wikipedia Education program had its first inception in the Arab world with Egypt’s Cairo Pilot. With such a large number of Arabic speakers (530 million primary and secondary speakers) Arabic Wikipedia needed more support to follow its sister versions of the encyclopedia that have more contributors with fewer native speakers. The Arabic Wikipedia today has about 280,000 articles while the Dutch Wikipedia, for instance, has 1.7 million articles with only 27 million native speakers. Every day thousands of Arabic users visit Wikipedia and many of them edit articles. Unfortunately, most of the new pages and edits created by new users are vandalism and not valid entries. Arabic Wikipedia needed a trusted source to recruit new volunteer editors. This was one of the reasons for launching the education program. The faculty of languages (Al-Alsun) at Ain Shams University joined the program as one of the first three participating institutions. During the first term, Egyptian students contributed 1.1 million bytes of information to the Arabic Wikipedia and created more than a hundred articles, three of them were featured articles. Now, Al-Alsun is still having incredible results, adding 7 million bytes in the fall 2013 term alone!

Everyone is happy with the the amount of female participation and the role they played in helping bridge the gender gap.

About forty students, ambassadors and professors of the Al-Alsun college gathered to celebrate the achievements they had during their fourth term in the program. Dr. Karma Sami, the vice dean of Al-Alsun, opened the celebration with a word about the importance of supporting such initiatives to enrich free content on the internet. The professors supervising the program, Dr. Dalia El-Toukhy, Dr. Radwa Kotait and Dr. Iman Galal followed Dr. Sami with words encouraging their students to continue editing Wikipedia. I had a short presentation about the term results. Students have created more than 2,400 new articles in six months. The average number of active editors jumped to 36 editors/month. Having open discussions about content quality will help us achieve new goals as we continue to grow. It is encouraging to see more than forty featured articles created by students.

Reem Alkashif.

Every term the program brings new active editors to Wikipedia who gradually become “Wiki-addicted.” “I love the thought that somewhere somebody needed a piece of information badly, and then he/she found it and became happy.” Reem says.
Reem Alkashif is a post-graduate student who first edited Wikipedia when Dr. Radwa Kotait selected her to join her translation course in the Wikipedia Education Program. Reem was one of the students with extraordinary contributions during her first semester in the program, she has created new articles including featured articles about the 1972 book about slavery in the American South, The Slave Community, and an article on the History of Mars Observation. Reem continued editing the Arabic Wikipedia, becoming a campus ambassador in an effort to share what she has learned with her fellow students.

“Wiki Learning” to be adopted at Mexico’s Tec de Monterrey

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Spanish


Project leaders Dr. Lourdes Epstein, Leigh Thelmadatter and Dr. Paola Ricaurte.

Tec de Monterrey has officially adopted Wiki Learning throughout the school system, working with Wikimedia projects as part of its continuing effort to develop a 21st century pedagogy for the institution.

Tec de Monterrey is Mexico’s largest private university system, with 34 campuses throughout Mexico. In 2013, this system, based in Monterrey, Mexico, launched an ambitious program called the Tec 21 Educational Model (Modelo Educativo Tec 21) to redesign teaching and learning methods for all of its programs, from high school to the graduate level. Recognizing that students learn differently in the digital age and that graduates need skills beyond mastery of the subject matter to succeed, the program is part of an effort to encourage and strengthen in students 21st century skills and to improve the universities’s standing among other institutions in Mexico, Latin America and the world.

The earliest assignments with Wikipedia at Tec de Monterrey were in 2007 with advanced English students at the Toluca campus. These assignments were continued at the Mexico City Campus in 2010 and have since developed to include various levels of English, as well as classes in journalism, communication and Spanish for foreigners. The Mexico City Campus’s initiative to have students translate Wikipedia articles (from the language students are studying — English — into their native language: Spanish) came to the attention of the Wikipedia Education Program, which later adopted the model in Egyptian universities in 2012. Since then, translation assignments have become relatively common in schools that use Wikipedia.

Tec students organized Mexico’s first Wikipedia student group, today under the name of Wiki Borregos. Other innovations include assignments involving the uploading of images, creation of sound files and illustrations, using photo descriptions to impart language and cultural knowledge, and Wikipedia work to satisfy community service requirements for both International Baccalaureate and undergraduate students.


Armenian students enjoy editing Wikipedia

Video of participants of the Wikipedia Education Program in Ayb High School, Armenia. Watch the movie with subtitles here.

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.

At AYB High School

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.

Quebec school project improves French Wikipedia

This post is available in 2 languages: français 7% • English 100%

In English

Members of the 2009 edition of the Cégep de Chicoutimi school project. At far left stand fr:Jean-Marie Tremblay, founder of the digital library Les Classiques des sciences sociales, while Simon Villeneuve is at far right.

I am Simon Villeneuve. I have taught physics and astronomy at the Cégep de Chicoutimi, a college in Quebec (Canada), since 2005. Since the 2008 fall semester, I have used the French Wikipedia in my astronomy class and have introduced my students to the commons-based peer production principle of public wikis. I coordinate their work with the Cégep de Chicoutimi pedagogical project.

Like it or not, the free encyclopedia will take an increasing place in the education world[1]. I believe Wikipedia is a wonderful educational tool for learning a lot of stuff like critical thinking, peer production principle, ability to find and evaluate the quality of sources and, especially, production of online libre knowledge that anyone can reuse.

In this post, I discuss some results of my school project and resources we created in order to follow and frame more easily the students assignments.

A work in progress

It took me a long time to evaluate the kind of Wikipedian work I could ask my students. At first, I assigned them two tasks:

  1. Contribute 20 edits in the main space, with a minimum of 10 astronomy-related edits.
  2. In teams, significantly expand an astronomy article of your choice.

I tought the first assignment was sufficient for students to learn the ropes of the encyclopedia, enough to complete the second task. Impressed by the results of the Wikipedia:WikiProject Murder Madness and Mayhem, I wanted to lead my students in the drafting of good and featured articles. It was a disaster, plain and simple.

I came to realize that mastering the basics of MediaWiki and the encyclopedic style are very difficult to the average human being. I overestimated the degree of computer skills from my supposed digital natives digital naives, as well as their ability to master the encyclopedic genre.

This led me to develop a learning process involving six, rather than two, assignments and focus their work on brand new articles or stubs.


Here are some results:

Results from the projet pédagogique au Cégep de Chicoutimi (2008-2012)
Year[note 1] N[note 2] Editions[note 3] Creations[note 4] Octets[note 5] Articles[note 6] Octets articles[note 7] Words[note 8] · [2] Assessment[note 9]
Total 155 6,003 157 1,160,933 71 467,840 46,784 29 Start/C, 5 B
2012 36 1,301 68 249,862 14 78,856 7,886 7 Start/C, 1 B
2011 [note 10] 34 1,509 48 390,923 29 164,075 16,408 8 Start/C, 1 B
2010 32 1,356 11 210,145 18 120,563 12,056 10 Start/C, 1 B
2009 34 1,603 11 261,031 [note 11] 10 104,346 10,435 4 Start/C, 2 B
2008 19 234 19 48,972 0

The last four columns show the results of the main assignment in which I asked teams of students to significantly develop one article.[note 12]

Since 2009, I also ask students to fill a short survey at the end of the semester. The survey is far from perfect, but it gives a general idea about the perception of the project by the students, including the gender gap.

Comparison between women (blue) and men (red) for the first 7 replies issues (2009-2012). The gender gap is clear.

You can get a detailed overview of the results on (fr) Wikipédia:Projets pédagogiques/Cégep de Chicoutimi/Résultats.

Other WMF projects

My use of wikis in the classroom is not restricted to Wikipedia. I also introduce the students to other Wikimedia Foundation projects.

Some contributed to Commons[note 13] and participated in the 2012 Wiki Loves Monuments contest.

In the last weeks, the students wrote astronomy and astrophysics news items on Wikinews.[note 14] One article, (fr)fr:Le géocroiseur 2012 DA14 s’approche de la terre” was showcased on the site’s Main Page for several days.

I also introduced my students to Wikisource. One of them has started working on a French translation of the Einstein–Szilárd letter and of Churchill‘s “We shall fight on the beaches” speech.[note 15]


Screenshot of the homepage of the digital library Les Classiques des sciences sociales. The educational project at the Cégep de Chicoutimi allows the coordination of multiple Quebec actors of the free culture movement by creating some activities like (fr) copyleft days.

There are very few French resources and appropriate tools to help teachers to achieve educational activities using Wikipedia.

With the help of Wikipedians like Lilyu and Benoit Rochon, we created several templates and specialized categories to help us identifying students activities as well as articles they worked on. To get an idea of ​​these resources, see the (fr) Catégorie:Projet:Cégep de Chicoutimi.

Over time, I was able to gather a core of education stakeholders interested in creating open educational resources by organizing various activities, such as the (fr) 2011 copyleft day. Thus, with the help of such fellow Wikipedians/Science and Mathematics teachers Cantons-de-l’Est and Letartean, we have created a number of exercises.[note 16]. While still very sketchy at this stage, I believe that this approach can serve as a guide to create a turnkey approach for an educational use of Wikipedia by fellow teachers.

Our latest initiative is the establishment of a partnership with the digital library Les Classiques des sciences sociales with the launch, in February 2013, of a new collection dedicated to natural sciences[3]. We have taken this initiative because the eligibility policy on French WikiSource is much more restrictive than what is acceptable under Canadian law. The new collection, with free texts in 5 formats (.html, .pdf, .doc, .rtf, and .epub), provides access to the French text from renowned scientists such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, René Descartes, Albert Einstein, Gregor Mendel, and Ernest Rutherford.

That’s about all I can tell you for now. If my Wikimania 2013 presentation is accepted, I’ll be able tell you more face to face. Wink.png

Simon Villeneuve, Cégep de Chicoutimi


Wikimedia Argentina’s educational booklet now also in Guarani language

This post is available in 2 languages: Español 7% • English 100%


“Vikipetã mbo’eha kotýpe”, the new Guarani version of Wikipedia in the classroom

Wikimedia Argentina, the first Wikimedia chapter in Latin America to be founded, has a long history of activities related with promoting the use of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in education, mainly in secondary schools and universities.

In 2010, it published a booklet entitled “Wikipedia en el aula” (Wikipedia in the classroom in Spanish), aimed at teachers and other education professionals. A significant number of students in Argentina currently use Wikipedia as their main source of information, so the booklet tries to answer several questions a teacher has about Wikipedia, such as “Is it reliable?” or “What can I do if my students use Wikipedia?”. “Wikipedia en el aula” not only addresses these questions but also presents several cases of teachers who have used Wikipedia as a learning tool within their own classrooms. The booklet presents simple examples illustrating how the online encyclopedia can be used as a place to develop writing and debating abilities and to motivate participation and engagement within a community.

The booklet has been distributed to several schools in Argentina and has inspired the Argentine government to create a space about Wikipedia within its own education portal,

Wikimedia Argentina has organized several workshops and presentations for Argentine students and teachers.

Following other of its own strategic pillars, Wikimedia Argentina developed the first edition of “Wikipedia en el aula” in an indigenous language, with the goal of promoting the usage and development of the historically displaced native languages of the current Argentine territory. In its first edition, “Wikipedia en el aula” was translated into Guarani (“Vikipetã mbo’eha kotýpe”), spoken not only in Northeastern Argentina but also in an area encompassing Southern Brazil, Western Bolivia, and Paraguay, where it is one of the two official languages. Wikimedia Argentina will publish a first edition with 500 printed copies to be distributed in schools and other educational institutions, and it expects to broaden the number of languages in the future.

Yet, Wikimedia Argentina’s Educational activities are not limited to “Wikipedia en el aula”. The chapter has already delivered in the past presentations and workshops to students and teachers. Wikimedia Argentina’s goal for 2013 is to articulate all of these activities in an Educational Master Plan. It will be created together with local and foreign experts on Education and will act as a guide for Wikimedia Argentina’s work in the years to come.

Osmar Valdebenito G.
Executive Director
A. C. Wikimedia Argentina


New Case Studies brochure highlights how professors teach with Wikipedia

Juliana Bastos Marques

Juliana Bastos Marques

A new brochure released by the Wikimedia Foundation on-wiki and in PDF contains case studies of how university instructors around the world have used Wikipedia as a teaching tool. The brochure features 15 professors from 6 different countries, including 9 different assignments professors have used and 5 different ways of grading the assignments.

For example, Professor Juliana Bastos Marques of Brazil shares how she assigns her students to write Wikipedia articles for class. The 13-week assignment encourages students to critically analyze existing Portuguese Wikipedia articles on the course topic, then suggest improvements in a sandbox, with feedback from the professor and Ambassadors, and finally move their articles to the article namespace. More information about Professor Juliana’s assignment is available on the wiki version of the Case Studies brochure.

Dalia Mohamed El Toukhy

Dalia Mohamed El Toukhy

In another assignment featured in the brochure, Professor Dalia Mohamed El Toukhy of Egypt explains how she has used translations successfully in her course. Students are learning to be professional translators for French and Arabic, so she has students select high-quality articles from the French Wikipedia that are not available on the Arabic Wikipedia, and the students translate the French into Arabic. In this assignment, Professor Dalia explains, her students get real-world translation examples while improving the quality of the Arabic Wikipedia. See more information about this idea.

Read more ideas of Wikipedia assignments and how to grade them at

Another aspect of the on-wiki version of the brochure allows any other professor who has done a unique assignment with a Wikimedia project to create his or her own profile on wiki. Using a guided template, professors can include information about what they did with their students and how successful the project was, including rankings of how the assignment met learning objectives. Professors from around the world are encouraged to add yourself to the on-wiki version of the brochure!

LiAnna Davis, Wikipedia Education Program Communications Manager

Wikipedia Education Program pilot kicks off in Brazilian universities

Even before the Wikimedia Foundation launched its pilot Wikipedia Education Program in Brazil, professor Juliana Bastos Marques, together with Campus Ambassador Otavio Louvem, demonstrated successful work using Wikipedia inside a university. Through their work, they engaged more than 20 students and considerably improved the quality of articles about Roman history. This course was a example of a successful group working together with Online Ambassadors and with students in a university to improve Portuguese Wikipedia articles.

The quality contributions made by Juliana’s students, along with the lessons we learned from other Wikipedia in higher education programs around the world, led us to a few questions for the Brazilian community: Should we scale the Wikipedia Education Program throughout Brazil? And if so, how can we do in a sustainable and community-driven way?

Professors and ambassadors training

Professors and Wikipedia Ambassadors at an orientation for pilot program participants.

To begin answering these questions, we decided to run a pilot education program in Brazil, customizing the model of classroom incorporation that has been used globally by professors. At the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, we talked to professors from universities in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with the hopes of forming a small pilot. Overall, professors had a positive response about the idea of using Wikipedia as a pedagogical tool in their classes. After much thinking on the best way to create a good pilot, we opted to keep it small for a better understanding of how to expand the program in the second semester. We also agreed to work with five carefully selected professors from traditional universities in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (see the detailed Brazil pilot program plan). History, sociology, physics, and public policy are the fields of knowledge that will be covered, with about 150 students working to improve existing articles, or create new ones.

Professors have been creative in deciding what sort of a classroom model would work best to meet the purposes of their specific coursework and students’ abilities and interests, and we will be closely following the outcome of the different models.

At the University of São Paulo (USP), the largest university in South America and one of the most traditional in Brazil, professor Pablo Ortellado has asked his students to form groups and collaboratively write encyclopedic articles on Cultural Policy. From the 11 proposed articles, only one already exists. At Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), professor Edivaldo Moura, a particle physics researcher, has adopted another strategy for his students studying electromagnetism. Each of his thirteen students has chosen an article related to electromagnetism, from Gauss Law to Maxwell Equations. Another USP physicist joining the program, Professor Vera Henriques, will have her graduate students of biological systems improving Wikipedia. Professor Heloisa Pait, from UNESP, is giving tasks on Wikipedia for her sociology students explore their cultural memories. Finally, Professor Juliana Bastos Marques will encourage her 60 freshman students to explore concepts around Wikipedia in her history class, and they can attend an extension program she has created together with Federal University of Rio de Janeiro State (UNIRIO), where she teaches.

In addition to professors, we also began to recruit Ambassadors, a complex task considering the geographic logistics of all classes that joined the program. Wikipedians who are already involved with Wikipedia Education Program were incredibly helpful in recruiting new Ambassadors, and the local Wikimedia Brasil meet-ups were essential to spread awareness about the project and explain opportunities for involvement. In addition, Wikipedians from Portugal stepped up to help support the Brazilian classes virtually and they are helping also organize the project page. They have even started outreach about the program in their country!

These Brazilian Wikimedians and Portuguese language Wikipedians from around the world have asked tough questions, strategized about implementation and volunteered to serve as Online and Campus Ambassadors. We are thrilled to be working with a great group of Ambassador volunteers alongside the professors.

We are eagerly anticipating the outcomes of this semester! These different models will provide ample opportunity for reflection at the end of semester, and we will be tracking student contributions and motivations to gauge the effectiveness of the program. If you are interested in supporting the program, please reach out and introduce yourself on the Ambassador page or send an email to wu-suporte AT googlegroups DOT com!

Everton Zanella Alvarenga (also known as Tom)
Consultant for the Wikipedia Education Program in Brazil and Wikimedia Brasil volunteer