Education/Newsletter/June 2015/Greek adult school graduates learn to edit Wikipedia and inspire their peers

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By Marios Magioladitis (Wikimedia Community User Group Greece) and Anna Koval (WMF)

Snippet: Greek adult school graduates learned to edit Wikipedia and in so doing inspired their peers.

More than 10 adult students and 3 educators from the Second Chance School in Corfu participated in a pilot project that involved writing Wikipedia articles in 2 languages (Greek and English) and uploading photos to Commons about villages in the south of Corfu after a Wikiexpedition.

The project was coordinated by long-time Wikimedian and educator Marios Magioladitis, who cooperated with a teacher of Greek language and a teacher of English language, to teach the students to how to write encyclopedic articles and how to upload photos.

Over the course of 4 months, students created or expanded 9 articles on Greek Wikipedia and 1 on English Wikipedia. They uploaded 100 new photos to Commons about their villages. They also created a 6-minute video in which they recored their experience of contributing to Wikipedia and documenting their villages.

The pilot was showcased during the school's participation in the 5th Panhellenic Digifest, which is an annual event organised by the Ministry of Education where schools present projects that are IT-related. The Second Chance School of Corfu has participated in Digifest for the past 2 years.

Marios collaborated with Anna Koval, the regional education program manager at the Wikimedia Foundation. Anna encouraged the students at the start of the pilot, with a Skype call during the first days of the class. She signed the students' certificates of participation. And she celebrated their accomplishments with a pre-recorded tribute, which was shown during the graduation ceremony at City Hall. Anna said, "In my mind, this project was a great success. Not one student dropped the class. Every student is said to be motivated to continue contributing to Wikipedia. And 4 times as many students want to take the course next term. These students have inspired their peers! And they have contributed to free knowledge. They should be proud of their accomplishments."

The pilot was monitored with the help of the Education Program Extension and was evaluated by surveys and personal interviews with the learners. The results were presented in education conferences to inspire more schools to run similar projects. This project was also presented on many occasions to other students.

Educators hope to repeat the program next year with the participation of more students and more schools in the Ionian Islands. However, given economic uncertainties as a result of the Greek debt crisis, that remains to be seen.

The Second Chance School of Corfu was established in 2007 and has had great success in running inspiring school projects. The students said that this latest collaboration with the Wikipedia Education Program was one of the most interesting in recent years. The students stated that their participation gave them confidence about their lives and motivated them to visit Wikipedia more often.

Watch a Euronews report about the Second Chance School in Corfu here. (Start at 4:11.)

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Greece here.