Education/Countries/Israel

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Primary Contacts[edit]

  • Itzik Edri, Wikimedia Israel
  • Shani Evenstein, Wikipedia Education Collaborative, Wikimedia Israel
  • Shai Katz, educational coordinator for Hebrew-spaking schools, Wikimedia Israel
  • Mohamad Abu Elhega, educational coordinator for Arabic-spaking schools, Wikimedia Israel

Program Description[edit]

Wikimedia Israel offers several programs for educational institutes, from middle schools to higher education, with the common general goals of promoting Wikipedia literacy, facilitating a better understanding of how to use Wikimedia projects as learning tools and encouraging students and educators to become content contributors and engage in collaborative writing.
A program typically includes training in various aspects of Wikipedia editing and a requirement to write at least one article and sometimes also to review and proofread other articles. The goal is not merely to become a Wikipedia editor or free content contributor, but also, and most importantly, to become acquainted with this kind of writing process, to improve writing skills and to enhance the learning process, with Wikipedia editing serving as a small-scale learning-by-teaching project.

The programs for middle and high schools are designed and implemented in cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Education and the relevant schools (further information is available in this blogpost and here). The programs for academic institutes and universities are carried out in cooperation with the relevant institutes and their academic personnel.

Currently, 20 middle and high schools across Israel have a Wikipedia learning program and 16 academic institutes and universities started courses that involve Wikipedia editing.

Instructional material[edit]

In addition, Wikimedia Israel produces and provides instructional material for middle and high school teachers. This incluses a courseware and an instructional film with basic information about Wikipedia (both are in Hebrew), as well as a guide to writing articles about award winning scientists (in English, available also in Hebrew and Arabic) and a teacher's guide (in Hebrew) with suggested educational activities using Wikipedia in the classroom, e.g. comparing the information on the Hebrew Wikipedia to the information in the pupils' textbooks, comparing Wikipedia articles in different languages (in Israel, foreign languages are part of the corriculum and many students are native bilingual), analyzing talk pages of articles about controversial issues, proofreading articles etc.

Middle and high schools[edit]

Wikimedia Israel works (or worked) with Hebrew- and Arabic-speaking middle and high schools in Haifa, Kiryat Tiv'on, Kfar Kama, Nazareth, Hadera, Kfar Saba, Herzliya, Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Bat Yam, Holon, Beersheba, Hura and Midreshet Ben-Gurion. Some notable examples are detailed below.

  • Beersheba project - A cooperation of Wikimedia Israel, the Ministry of Education and the Education Department at the Municipality of Beersheba, in this project (2014), some 350 9th-grade students from middle schools in Beersheba wrote articles on the Hebrew Wikipedia on geographical, historical and cultural subjects related to their city, as well as on leading public figures in the city’s history. Students were divided into groups, in which they learned how to consult reliable sources and acquired academic writing skills. Guided by Wikimedia Israel's volunteers and their teachers, students toured significant sites in the city and collected research material. Training and tutoring was also offered to the teachers. Editing workshops were led by 10 Wikipedia community volunteers who came to Beersheba from across the country. The project resulted in 30 news articles on the Hebrew Wikipedia. Wikimedia blogpost about the project.
  • Adyghe School of Kfar Kama - In 2012, upon suggestion from the manager of the North District at the Ministry of Education, Wikimedia Israel initiated an educational project at the Circassian Adyghe School of Kfar Kama. This school serves an ethnically and culturally unique community and teaches is four languages: Adyghe (West Circassian), Hebrew, Arabic and English. The school pricipal, who embraced the idea, suggested that 9th-grade students write articles about Circassian heritege in Adyghe and Hebrew. The students were trained im Wikipedia editing skills and added about two dozens of articles were added to the Adyghe Wikipedia, as well as 56 articles about the Circassian culture to the Hebrew Wikipedia. They also added Adyghe entries to Wiktionary and Circassian proverbs to Wikiquote.
  • Ha-Nagid School in Herzliya - During 2014-2015, 7th and 8th grade students from the gifted education program at Ha-Nagid School in Herzlya had special lessons about Wikipedia, in which they learned how to initiate articles and edit them. The lessons were delivered every few weeks by a Wikimedia volunteer. The students were asked to write articles about their hobbies, their home city of Herzlya, female scientists (as part of the effort to increase the representation of women on Wikipedia), a notable person from their family or their family's place of origin. Most of the articles were written in Hebrew and some in English. One of the students became an active editor on the English Wikipedia and received the Editor of the Week award. In May 2015, the students met with the mayor of Herzlya, Moshe Fadlon, and WMF excutive director, Lila Tretikov, and presented the articles they had written about Herzlya.

Teacher training[edit]

Online Wikipedia course for teachers - In the fall of 2014, Wikimedia Israel and the Center for Educational Technology started an online distance learning course about Wikipedia for K-12 teachers from all different sectors and disciplines. The course forcuses on Wikipedia literacy and principles of Wikipedia editing. Teachers take the course online on their own time and can consult a tutor when needed. The Ministry of Education recognizes the course as part of the teacher education program and coordinates the registration. More than 200 teachers have participated so far and dozens are expected to take the course in the near future. More information is available here.

Wikipedia Academy[edit]

In 2015, the annual conference of Wikipedia Academy Israel was dedicated to the integration of Wikipedia in the local education system. Lila Tretikov, WMF's executive director, Katherine Maher, Chief Communications Officer and Tighe Flanagan, Middle East and Africa Education Fund Program Manager attended the conference. Dozens of teachers and educators took part in the event. More information is available in this blogpost.

Collaborations with Higher Education institutes[edit]

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Wikimedia Israel has collaborations with all major universities and academic institutes in Israel. This includes the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, Haifa Universtiy, Technion, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Bar Ilan University, the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Seminar Hakibuzim College, Levinsky College of Education, Sapir College, Ahva College, Holon Institute of Technology, Shenkar College, the Academic College Kineret, the Academic College Tel-Hai, the Academic College West Galilee, the Academic Center of Law and Science, Minhal College and Minshar School of Art.

  • Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya - In the 2016-17 academic year, ten courses from four different departments of this major academic institute joined Wikimedia Israel's program and integrated a Wikipedia-article writing task. Our team works closely with the academic staff in every stage of the program, including choosing topics for writing, offering advice regarding the desired structure of a Wikipedia article, making contact between the Wikipedian community and the academic staff etc. Librarians at the institute offer guidance on how to use Wikipedia. The program became very popular, with more and more lecturers asking to take part.
  • Bar Ilan University - The first use of Wikipedia as an integral part of an academic course in Israel was in 2005, when a Bar Ilan University professor, who was also a Wikipedian, gave his students an academic assignment to write and expand Wikipedia articles.
  • University of Haifa - 2011 saw the beginning of a large-scale collaboration with the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Haifa. 25 academic courses have added Wikipedia writing assignments to their programs, producing over 230 articles so far, mostly in Hebrew but a few in other languages as well. The participating students come from various sectors of the Israeli society and most of them are women. This collaboration is still ongoing. The university's library opened a special Wikipedia help desk.
  • Wiki-Med at Tel Aviv University - In 2013, the first for-credit elective course dedicated to Wikipedia contributions was opened at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine of the Tel Aviv University and named "Wiki-Med". The course is entirely devoted to training in Wikipedia editing, and the students are required to write an article about a subject in medicine which they study. The course ran three times so far, during one semester every year, and conducted by a Wikipedian who is also a university employee. 26 students participated in the first year. They expanded stubs and initiated new articles, which resulted in 128 new articles in the Hebrew Wikipedia. Further information is available in this blog post.
  • Tel Aviv University - In October 2015, a new for-credit elective course named “Wikipedia: Skills for Producing and Consuming Knowledge”, has begun at Tel Aviv University. This course is available to all undergraduate students at TAU and offers information about Wikipedia and its sister projects and about collaborative writing. The students are requested to expand stubs, initiate new articles and make various kinds of edits to articles on Wikipedia.

See also[edit]

Media Coverage[edit]

Detailed information in Hebrew[edit]