Education/News/June 2019/"Won't somebody please think of the children?"

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"Won't somebody please think of the children?"

Author: Galder Gonzalez

Summary: Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. is our motto, but it seems that Wikimedia community is not aware that every single human being includes children. Some proposals have been made inside and outside Wikimedia, but Txikipedia is the first one to be included inside Wikipedia... and the results are astonishing.

Let me title with this sentence by Helen Lovejoy. But we need to think about the children. Since the beginning of Wikimedia there have been attempts to offer specialized content for children. Some have tried it on Wikibooks, others have decided to create their own platforms. Among the latter, Vikidia and Klexikon stand out, but they are not the only ones. A year ago the Basque Wikimedians User Group decided, after consulting the community, to transfer the Basque content that existed in Vikidia to Wikipedia, creating a space for children within the encyclopedia itself. We call it Txikipedia, from txiki, "small" in Basque. That first core of less than 1,000 articles has doubled in a year, and the content, both in quality and quantity has grown remarkably.

Today, many of the projects we carry out in the field of education are aimed at growing Txikipedia. Whether in teacher training schools or secondary schools, many students become familiar with our platforms using this children's encyclopedia. Future teachers develop their ability to explain complex topics to children through articles, and high school students explain what they have learned or know more simply.

What statistics say


It may seem insignificant if you analyse it from the point of view of the majority languages, but the 59,000 visits to Txikipedia's articles, including the Main page, in the last year are a great result for a new project in a minority language such as Basque.

Articles such as "plant reproduction", "solar system", "mammal" or "ecosystem" give us an idea of the interests of the smallest, being the most viewed pages.

This project has only just begun: as we increase the number of articles and improve their contents, Txikipedia will become better known and this will result in more visits and more articles.

How we are working with students to improve it


Within our education program, we receive requests to go to High Schools and work with students to improve Wikipedia articles. Many times this is a difficult task, as the level of writing and references required in a Wikipedia article is complex for students of that age.

That's why Txikipedia is a very good solution: they can write about something they already know, or even adapt the general Wikipedia article for children to understand. And they can do it in the same platform, taking advantage of Commons, getting to know Wikimedia edition in a more relaxed way.

This year several students between the ages of 14 and 17 have worked on this task, and we have news from 10-year-old students who are editing Txikipedia intensively, creating articles about sportswomen from their town.

Teacher's formation


When we begin our educational program at the universities, we approach some of the largest faculties: those of teaching. Most of us get the same answer: our students learn to tell things to children, Wikipedia is too high for the purpose of our classes.

With Txikipedia a new game has begun: several university professors, from all disciplines, have begun to integrate the edition in Txikipedia within their area of didactics. Thus, we have articles on social sciences, mathematics or natural sciences, explained by future teachers, for an audience with whom they will have to work every day.

It is worth mentioning the work being done in the area of mathematics, as it has also integrated the making of videos or illustrations to help children understand this complex area.

Social Media channels or hashtags: @txikipedia