Education/Newsletter/June 2015/Wikimedia Armenia New Office, Annual Conference, and WikiCamp 2015

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Wikimedia Armenia New Office, Annual Conference, and WikiCamp 2015

By Lilit Tarkhanyan (WM AM), David Saroyan (WM AM), and Anna Koval (WMF)

Snippet: Wikimedia Armenia opens their new office in Yerevan, hosts their Annual Conference, and kicks off WikiCamp 2015

Wikimedia Armenia has been busy this summer with several major events and activities: the opening of their new office in Yerevan, their annual conference, and the kick off of WikiCamp 2015.

New Chapter Office in Yerevan[edit]

Wikimedia Armenia's new chapter office in Yerevan officially opened on 19 June 2015 with a grand ceremony. The President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, the Minister of Culture Hasmik Poghosyan, and the Minister of Education and Science Armen Ashotyan all attended. Benefactor and Intellectual Renaissance founder Artur Janibekyan, with whom WM AM cooperates, attended as well. Also in attendance were representatives from the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia movement: Jan-Bart de Vreede (Chair of the Board of Trustees), Asaf Bartov (Senior Program Officer, Emerging Wikimedia Communities), Anna Koval (Manager, Wikipedia Education Program), and Liam Wyatt (GLAMwiki Coordinator, Europeana).

The following core issues were discussed in the meeting:

  • To include the study of wiki editing tools in the national school curriculum. Similar programs have been successfully implemented in such countries education curriculum as Israel, Serbia and France. The possibility to make a similar program work in Armenia. Options and obstacles. The ways to solve existing problems.
  • Discussions concerning possible changes in the Copyright and Related rights law of Armenia, in particular, in terms of protection of economic rights of the author (Article 37).
  • Wider cooperation within the GLAMwiki program (cooperation with galleries, libraries, archives, and museums), which aims at digitizing scientific-cultural heritage, its preservation, and expansion and translation into other languages.

All these issues are very important and a possibility was created to raise them at the governmental level, which would enable Wikimedia editors to add more content to the Wikimedia projects, as well as will help involve more editors and volunteers in the wiki movement, and enlarge the scope of Wikimedia Armenia's cooperation with educational, cultural, and scientific institutions nationwide.

This event was widely covered in the Armenian media. 1 2 3 4 It was also covered by Armenian Public Television, Armenia TV, ATV and many other TV channels.

Annual Conference[edit]

WikiConference Yerevan 2015 was the third international conference in Yerevan, Armenia. It was held at the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts on 19-20th June. Its goals were to aid in the development and the promotion of wiki projects, free knowledge and open culture in Armenia and the neighboring region, as well as to bring together new and experienced wiki editors and to provide an environment for them to share their experiences and knowledge with each other.

Among the conference participants, there were experienced Wikipedians, Wikipedia Education Program students, participants from different WM AM projects (Wiki Loves Science, Wikipedia for Teachers, GLAM etc.), representatives from the Ministry of Culture and cultural institutions (including the Deputy Minister of Culture, Arev Samuelyan, museum representatives, etc.), other interested people.

Jan-Bart de Vreede (Chair of the Board of Trustees) presented an overview of the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia Movement. Asaf Bartov (Senior Program Officer, Emerging Wikimedia Communities) shared international inspiration from around the Wikimedia World (slides here). Liam Wyatt (GLAMwiki Coordinator, Europeana) talked about GLAMwiki and the future of heritage (slides here). And Anna Koval (Manager, Wikipedia Education Program) discussed the Wikipedia Education Program in Armenia (slides in English here) (slides in Armenian here).

Wikimedia Armenia's education program is one of the world’s strongest. In May 2015, Armenian students contributed 22 million bytes to Wikipedia and 5.6 million bytes to Wiktionary. And, according to stats.wikimedia.org, as of May 2015, Armenian students have contributed almost a third (29%) of the content on Armenian Wikipedia and almost a third (28%) of the content on Armenian Wiktionary. 5 6 7

WikiCamp 2015[edit]

WikiCamp 2015 is under way now at the Voske Getak resort / rest house in Arzakan village in the Agveran region of Armenia. This event is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation through the Project and Event Grants program (see application here on Meta).

The 85 campers are between the ages of 9 and 20. They are from various Armenian villages, and some live very far away. For example, Arevatsag village is situated 170 km from Yerevan; it has poor infrastructure and little connection to the closest city. Campers can come from other neighboring countries, including Lebanon, Georgia, and possibly even Estonia.

The campers are a mix of experienced and new editors. Experienced editors help new ones. Newcomers learn collaborating with their experienced teammates in a competitive but friendly atmosphere. New editors learn more not only from their expert wiki trainers but also from their experienced friends. A number of WikiClubs and school programs sent students to WikiCamp this summer. 6 WikiClubs has representative, including Lernapat, Aparan, Ashtarak, Gyumri, Arevatsag, and Yeghvard. Each WikiClub has about 12 participants at Wikicamp. 2 schools -- Mkhitar Sebastatsi Education Complex and AYB High School -- sent many students, and 9 other schools sent students as well. 11 schools on the whole were represented at WikiCamp 2015.

I like WikiCamp because I get to meet new friends and learn how to edit Wikipedia. When editing, I learn new things, get new interesting ideas, and do difficult things on my own.
Emilia Simonyan, newcomer from Mkhitar Sebastasti Education Complex, 14 years.

WikiCamp is coordinated by Arsen Harutyunyan. Arsen is an experienced wiki editor, leader, coordinator of previous WikiCamps (2014 Summer WikiCamp & 2015 Winter WikiCamp). He shares the love of all campers.

The campers are led by their group leaders. There are 7 group leaders, 5 of them were group leaders in previous camps, and 1 group leader was formerly a wiki camper himself. 3 group leaders are coordinators of WikiClubs. Other WikiClub coordinators are among wiki trainers. Group leaders were chosen based on their capability and experience working with children previously and their on wiki skills and ideas.

Already the on-wiki impact of WikiCamp 2015 is impressive! In the first days (22-24 June 2015), students contributed massive amounts of content to Wikimedia projects, according to Wikimetrics!

Armenian Wikipedia:

  • 961 edits
  • 416 pages created
  • 1.6M bytes added
  • 18K bytes removed

Armenian Wiktionary:

  • 3,393 edits
  • 2,760 pages created
  • 1.6M bytes added
  • 8.2K bytes removed

Mher Bekaryan is one of the wiki trainers at the camp. He is a WM AM co-founder and board member and an admin on Armenian Wikipedia and Armenian Wiktionary. During camps, he updates the "Latest Word" (in Armenian: Օրվա բառ) section of the main page of Armenian Wiktionary. This word "երկաթ" by User:Margarita2000 was featured on 25 June 2015. He is helping campers to record pronunciations of words and soon will upload over 1,000 recorded pronunciations to Wiktionary for use on articles.

The wiki team oversees the students' contributions and assures that they are of the highest quality. The wiki team includes chapter staff, project admins, and experienced editors. One wiki team member is Armenuhi Voskanyan. She is the coordinator of the Lernapat WikiClub, and she was the winner of the 2015 CEE Spring contest for Armenia. At the end of each day, the wiki team reviews all the articles created and improved by the campers and gives them points based on quality. As a result, each day they select the best editors of that day from Wikipedia and Wiktionary, the best articles, and the best team.

Honestly, I never edit Wikipedia to have high points and to come to Wikicamp. I edit to make articles available in Armenian, for people who share the same interests as me. This is what motivates me when I edit.
Arthur Mirzoyan, AYB High School, 16 years.

This marks the 4th WikiCamp that WMAM has hosted to date. The 5th camp is scheduled for August 2015. WMAM previously hosted 2 WikiCamps in summer 2014 and 1 WikiCamp in winter 2015. No other country/community has hosted a WikiCamp for children yet.

One news report was produced by tv.am. WMAM produced their own video, too.

Read more about WikiCamp in Armenia here

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Armenia here.