Education/News/February 2018/The Multidisciplinary Choices of High School Students: The Arabic Education Program; Wikimedia Israel

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The Multidisciplinary Choices of High School Students: The Arabic Education Program; Wikimedia Israel[edit]

Author: Bekriah S. Mawasi

Students write Wikipedia workshop at the Salvatorian Sister's school, Nazareth

Summary: Workshops and progress with high school students in two schools: (1) Salvatorian Sisters’ School & (2) Al-Battouf High School

Our “Students Write Wikipedia” Arabic program continues for the second year in selected schools. The program is designed to train students (14-17 years old) to become active Wikipedians and Wikipedia Ambassadors, as we aspire to encourage future contributors and to implement the program within each school and expand the outreach to more students and teachers in different disciplines. The activities in both schools, the Salvatorian Sisters’ School in Nazareth (private school) and Al-Battouf High School in Arraba (governmental), are in the lead. The groups were formed at the beginning of the school year in September. Both groups and staff in each school were introduced to the program, the possibilities of contribution to Wikipedia and the work method. Throughout the training workshops, the students learn how to use Wikipedia and its various tools, while we focus on developing research methods, writing skills in classical Arabic (al-fuṣḥá), and digital literacy.

As an initial exercise, the students in both schools created informative articles about successive Israeli governments and Knesset elections which detail the history of formation, the cabinet, dates and elections results. The coordinator instructed them to create a format for each article which includes a descriptive paragraph, a list or a table, and categories. The students uploaded a total of 20 articles by November 2017. Al-Battouf’s group were accompanied by their citizenship teacher who is interested to raise civic awareness in her classes. Building a mutual ground where the school staff and the Wikimedia educator discuss the topics chosen by the students helps reaching better results.

Both groups are currently working on their second round of articles. The students at the Salvatorian Sisters’ School chose to write about various topics: institutions, local geographical sites (in the Negev, Golan heights and Haifa district), notability article on a Palestinian folklore researcher from their hometown, and another notability article on a Palestinian human rights attorney and activist. On the the other hand, the students at Al-Battouf high school are working on enriching articles on flags: Flags of certain countries and ethnic groups that have endured dramatic changes throughout the course of history, and definitions of flag types (i.e. ethnic flags, white flags). The main goal of the exercise is to train students to enrich and improve an existing entry while enhancing their visual reading and analysis skills. The openness in both teams and flexibility regarding the topics suggested by the coordinator opens space for eagerness and more productivity until the end of the school year in June.