Education/News/March 2020/How collaborations and perseverance contributed to an especially impactful educational project

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How collaborations and perseverance contributed to an especially impactful educational project


Author: Dr. Ruth Alster





Summary:

Wikimedia Israel lead a particularly successful and impactful project, in which 11th grade students wrote 40 particularly interesting, long, rich and high quality entries! This was all possible thanks to two things: diverse collaborations and a lot of perseverance and investment.


Let's start from the end: In this project, students from four classes of the same high school in Holon (Israel), wrote almost 40 interesting, long, rich and high quality entries! The project distinguished itself in many ways:

  • This project involved all the four 11th grade classes of the school, including the class designed for students who need extra support.
  • The project focused on the World War II era but offered students a variety of topics, according to the following categories: Nazi killers, Germans who opposed Nazism, Righteous Among the Nations, Jews who headed the Judenrat, Jews who fought Nazis and strategic bombings. And so they learned in depth about different point of views on this era, through the prism of one character or one event.
  • Students relied on high-quality references.
  • They wrote long, clear and particularly interesting entries. The text they wrote shows that they underwent a significant learning process that included research, reading, organizing information and writing, all with a deep understanding of the historical processes and of the background in which the characters they wrote about them lived.

I wondered why this project was particularly successful and impactful and I think it was all possible thanks to two things: diverse collaborations and a lot of perseverance and investment.

Collaborations:

Collaborations characterized all stages of the project: in the planning phase, the leading teachers contacted the Yad Vashem Institute and its pedagogical center team and presented them two requests: to prepare a list of topics adapted for Wikipedia, and to find references about these topics. This collaboration enabled an interesting and diverse topics list, and helped the students to access many high-quality references. In addition, teachers collaborated with Wikimedia Israel and asked to be guided in all the project phases. There was also a fruitful cooperation between the two staff teachers, who have mutually supported and helped each other.

Investment and perseverance:

The process was not easy for students and required a lot of tenacity from the teachers. They invested a lot of time in reviewing drafts, encouraging students and even recruiting parents for help while striving for a clear goal: writing a new entry in Wikipedia. Teachers and students worked very hard, but they also saw results for their investment and at the end of the process, they expressed particularly high satisfaction.

The project ended with a festive event, to which all parents, and all project partners, were invited. The students organized an exhibition with the written Wikipedia entries. At the ceremony itself, several students presented their work in a creative way, including reading parts of the diary written by the character they wrote about, and sharing with the audience their emotions in researching and writing on this topic. They said that the project was very significant, because of both their pride in contributing a good article to Wikipedia and the skills they acquired during the process.




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