Education/Newsletter/May 2015/Single

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By Emna Mizouni (Wikimedia TN User Group) and Samir Elsharbaty (WMF)

Snippet: Students and civil society activists in Tunisia celebrate The Rachidia 80th anniversary by editing articles about it on Wikipedia.

Al-Rachidia is one of the oldest music institutes in Tunisia and the Arab World. In May, the institute celebrated its 80th anniversary in a large event that lasted for 11 days between May 21 and 31. Celebration included musical events, social events and a Wikipedia editathon! Wikimedia TN User Group collaborated with Carthagina, an NGO that aims to keeping history, on organizing this event. The celebration slogan was "80 years of love and art".

The editathon was divided into two workshops, the first one for translating and publishing articles on Wikipedia. This session was led by Yassine Tounsi. And the second one, which was led by Wael Ghabara, was dedicated for editing articles based on research. Participants spent their day editing, listening to music, eating freshly baked Makroudh Keirouan and enjoying the special cultural atmosphere.

The editing session resulted in creating new articles about The Rachidia on Wikipedia in different languages as well as developing the existing ones. Other Wikipedia articles about prominent Tunisian musicians such as Khamis Ternan, Fethi Zghonda, Chafia Rochdi and many other articles have been edited during the editathon. Students in Rachidia consider Wikipedia a means of self-expression using technology in a free space that should be supported. The editathon was attended by Rachidia students, teachers, journalists, social activists and unemployed people.

Reem Azib and Jamel Ben Saidaine, are two Wikipedians from Carthagina were there to support and help in the coordination. One of the success secrets for this group is the collaborative spirit between different non-profit groups that participate in their events.

Visit the Rachidia website to see their their activity schedule.

Read more about Wikipedia Education Program in Tunisia.

By Leigh Thelmadatter (Wiki Learning)

Snippet: March edit-a-thon encourages the use of Wikipedia in new classes at Tec de Monterrey

Until this semester, all of the students contributing to Wikipedia/Wikimedia at Tec de Monterrey belonged to the School of Humanities (university level) at the Mexico City campus. Partially as a result of the massive edit-a-thon sponsored by the Tec de Monterrey last March, five classes decided to pilot working with Wikipedia. Four are from the Mexico City Campus preparatory (high school) division: Biochemistry, taught by Tanya PT, Challenges in contemporary society; taught by Clamaresan; and Introduction to administration and finances and 21st century financial scene taught by InFranco. All four of these classes are “topics” classes, meaning they are first-year university-level courses taught at the preparatory, to give students a head start. These classes have been further encouraged to work with Wikipedia through the efforts of the director of the topics program, Ldelagarzag, who has been an active Wikipedian, contributing content on her own topics of interest. The fifth class to start working with Wikipedia is a university French (I) class at the State of Mexico Campus, taught by Jocelyne Perreard, who did an excellent job in documenting her students’ participation. Jocelyne became involved through the edit-a-thon, and has since been pivotal in promoting Wikipedia on the State of Mexico Campus.

Tallies include six articles created or expanded in Spanish Wikipedia through translation from French, six articles created in Spanish Wikipedia through translation from English and 17 articles expanded in Spanish Wikipedia with new information. The last project was to take information that the students had researched about companies over the semester in the two finance/administration classes and use it to improve existing Wikipedia articles. In addition, 33 photos were uploaded by the Biochemistry classes related to their laboratory work (category on Commons) and 23 other photos were uploaded by the "Challenges in contemporary society" class. Originally both the Biochemistry and Challenges classes were only going to do photo uploads, but the enthusiasm for Wikipedia made them eager to try their hand at some article translation as well.

Student feedback from the activities was mostly quite positive, with the greatest effect on students being motivation, the idea of creating something what was theirs and would be seen possibly all over the world. Teachers reported the interaction with Wikipedia and with each other during the activities to be dynamic, with Clamaresan noting that it "demystified" Wikipedia for the students. While most knew anyone could contribute, the constant admonition against Wikipedia in previous classes countered just about any inclinations to participate. One last motivating factor was they appreciated the need to have information available in Spanish, and they were now empowered to do something about it. Two teachers from the preparatory have already committed to working with Wikipedia again in the fall, and have already started considering how to more fully integrate these activities with coursework.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program at ITESM here.

By Walaa Abdel Monem (Egypt Wikimedians user group)

Walaa AbdelMonem. Program leader, Cairo University.
Reem Alkashif. Program leader, Ain Shams University.

Snippet: Education sessions at WikiArabia 2015 introduce the program to the Arabic Wikipedia community and help new programs learn from their experience.

Representatives of Wikipedia Education Program participated in WikiArabia 2015 in Monastir, Tunisia, the first regional conference for the Arabic Wikipedia community. Contributions ranged from a presentation about the history of Wikipedia Education program since its beginning in the world with suggestions, solutions and potential encouraging activities. That was followed by another presentation of a more specific topic which is Wikipedia Education program in Egypt and how it worked since February 2012 till the sixth edition that ended last March. The session discussed how the program worked and what were the motivations keeping it going. The program helped increasing gender diversity and supported the featured content on Wikipedia. Egypt Wikimedians user group had a prominent role in enhancing the program. Wikipedia Education Program, like any other initiative, has achievements and dark sides, for that reason, the representatives had to locate both of them and how they influence the Arabic community and how the community interact with this phenomenon.

Proceeding from here, another presentation tackled some of the success stories and experiences from non-humanities student editors and applied sciences in enriching the content on Wikipedia alongside with Humanities students. This corrects the common belief that editing Wikipedia is a humanities-student and social studies-student job. The sessions were followed by a panel discussion with Wikipedia Education program volunteers as they gave advice to those interested in launching the program in their countries and universities.

Read more about WikiArabia Conference 2015 on the Wikimedia Foundation blog here.

Read more about Wikipedia Education Program in Egypt here.

By Addis Wang (Wikimedia User Group China) and Anna Koval (WMF)

Snippet: Chinese students honor deceased philanthropist in a photo campaign.

Wikimedia User Group China organized a photo campaign to honor the memory of deceased philanthropist Sir Run Run Shaw and used the opportunity to teach a new generation of young people about his legacy. The participants were Chinese students -- mostly university level but also some from secondary schools. They photographed monuments -- some of the 6,013 schools and university buildings, public hospitals, and public theaters that Shaw donated during his lifetime.[1]

Run Run Shaw was, by all accounts, a great man. He was an advocate for and financial sponsor of both education and the arts.[2] Called "a colorful media mogul" by the New York Times, Shaw's name was synonymous with action movies and horror films, especially of the kung fu genre, which is is widely credited with inventing.[3] He used his influence and his ample wealth to better his world, his homeland, and his people. He was a very generous philanthropist. According to China News, he donated over 4.7 billion Hong Kong dollars to education.[1] Shaw passed away at the age of 106 last year.

The photo campaign ran for one month from 13 January through 15 February 2014. It was an online event only. It was the intention of the organizers to make this campaign a contest with prizes. However, because of limitations on volunteer time and capacity, it was not possible to do that this year. Nevertheless, the contributions were impressive! 81 participants from 24 provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions and special administrative regions uploaded 293 high quality photos to Wikimedia Commons. The photos can be seen at Commons:Category:Shaw Memory Campaign.

This small sized photo campaign was easy to organize. And it was effective at recruiting new content contributors. Wikimedia User Group China plans to do other similar projects like this one in the future.

Read more about the photo campaign on Chinese Wikipedia here.

View the students' photos on Wikimedia Commons here.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in China here.

  1. 1.0 1.1 "教育界缅怀邵逸夫 全国共建逸夫楼6013个." China News. 21 February 2015. <>.
  2. "Run Run Shaw." Wikipedia. 2015. <>.
  3. "Run Run Shaw, Chinese-Movie Giant of the Kung Fu Genre, Dies at 106." New York Times. 6 January 2014.<>.

By Giselle Bordoy (WM AR) and Samir Elsharbaty (WMF)

Snippet: Young students in La Plata, Argentina attend an editathon to write Wikipedia articles about the history of their school.

Wikimedia Argentina, Rafael Hernandez National College and the University of La Plata had the first initiative to organize an editathon for young school students with the goal of writing articles about the school on Wikipedia. The Hernandez students of fourteen and fifteen years old met at their school which hosted the event on May 11 and 12, 2015. In two days, the event was attended by around 120 students who enjoyed exploring the heritage of their school, finding sources and updating Wikipedia entries about it.

The history of Rafael Hernandez National college dates back to late nineteenth century when the city of La Plata was established as the school started as a boy-only school. One of the main reasons for holding this event was to get young students introduced to the history of the institution in which they study, and share what they learn with the world via Wikipedia. When students searched their school archives they were able to make great discoveries. Students made a list of students who disappeared during the last military dictatorship. They also found that their school had an anthem.

Students and organizers enjoyed the day they spent expressing their love to the school and being able to share this love with the world using Wikipedia which will be helpful for anyone looking for information about the school and the history of La Plata.

Wikimedia Argentina always tried to connect the education programs goals with the goals of GLAM projects. Taking the archives to the classroom to improve the development of the work carried out by the students and empower them in their local contexts

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Argentina here.

Summary by Leigh Thelmadatter (Wiki Learning)

Selfie of Maria while working at the university laboratory

Snippet: Maria writes about her social service that turned into a pleasant editing experience.

By law, Mexican university students are required to complete a certain number of community service hours before they can graduate. This requirement is called servicio social, and its purpose is to give students the opportunity to take the skills and knowledge from their classes and give back to the community. Since 2014, one of the options to complete servicio social hours is creating content on Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia and its sister websites) through the Wikimedia affiliate Wiki Learning at Mexico’s private institution the Tecnológico de Monterrey.

María José Felgueres Planells is a biotechnology student at this university. She contributed to Wikipedia for two semesters with much enthusiasm. One reason is that she shares the ideals of the free and open knowledge movement, as she considers education a public utility that should be accessible to everyone. Mexico is not a rich country and quality education is scarce. This makes online, freely available information extremely important. Most of Maria's work has been translating biology and medical articles from English to Spanish, so that those who do not have my English reading ability can also access the information. This also correlates to the objective of servicio social, which is to create a link between students and their social environment, which today is as much global as it is national.

Read the full post on the Wikimedia Foundation blog.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program at Tec de Monterrey here.

By Samir Elsharbaty (WMF)

Attendees enjoying a session at Wikimania Education Pre-Conference 2014 in London.

Snippet: Wikimania Education Pre-Conference is a two day educational event preceding Wikimania 2015 in Mexico City.

Wikimania, the annual conference of the Wikimedia movement, will take place this year from July 15 to July 19 at Hilton Mexico City Reforma in Mexico. The Education Program Pre-Conference is scheduled to take place during the first two days of the conference. It will be at the same time as the Wikimania Hackathon, where the hackathon attendees will spend their time working on wiki-related technical stuff. If you are interested in learning about the use of Wikipedia in an educational setting, we invite you to participate in the Wikimania Education Pre-Conference.

You are invited to explore the idea of integrating Wikipedia into education in a two-day virtual trip to several countries around the world where the Wikipedia Education Program is active without having the usual jet lag of traveling. Meet the people behind successful programs in different countries around the world all together in one place where they can tell you about their experiences using Wikipedia in their classrooms. You can attend workshops, listen to presentations, learn how to become a Wikipedia Ambassador or Wikipedia Educator, and get involved in discussions with education program experts while having your morning coffee or experiencing an authentic Mexican Burrito.

The Education Pre-Conference is open to everyone involved in the Wikipedia Education Program or anyone interested in using Wikipedia in an academic setting. The cost to attend is free to one and all. You will benefit from this workshop the most if you are a Wikimedia volunteer, a teacher, a librarian, an educational technologist, a policymaker, a student, or if you are simply curious about the idea of using Wikimedia projects in education.

Read more about the Wikimania Education Pre-Conference in Mexico.

Register here (for free) as places are limited.

By Kacie Harold (WMF) and Samir Elsharbaty (WMF)

Snippet: Wikipedia Education Program sessions at Wikimedia conference discuss program tools that can help develop it around the world.

This May, Berlin, Germany was the meeting place for Wikimedians looking for understanding and collaboration. Representatives from Wikimedia chapters, user groups, thematic organizations and the Wikimedia Foundation met between May 13 and 17 for their annual Wikimedia Conference. The goal of this meetup was to discuss the future of the Wikimedia movement and to exchange ideas around the development of Wikimedia projects. Wikipedia Education Program is one of the main activities that the Wikimedia affiliates around the world support. The conference confirmed this idea by providing space for those who are interested in the education program to discover the program and for others with more experience to develop it further.

The Wikipedia Education Program was a prominent theme in several evaluation pre-conference sessions. Anna Koval’s pre-conference tools talk on the power of the Education Program Extension was a crowd favorite. Keep your eye on Outreach wiki for a subtitled video in the coming months. 24 experienced education program leaders used the Education Toolkit for the first time in a session dedicated to program toolkits, led by Kacie Harold. Several participants contributed to the toolkit by adding their insights and experiences to learning patterns. Many others contributed feedback on how to make the toolkit easier to use.

Wikimedia Conferencia 2015 was an important step on the path towards working together more effectively in the future. Participants shared the excitement to continue to get better over the next few years.

See the education program extension slide deck on Wikimedia Commons here.

See the education toolkit workshop slide deck on Wikimedia Commons here.

Read more about the annual Wikimedia Conference here.

Edit-a-thons team up Wikipedia users and archivists to fix wiki mistakes[edit]

File photo

Aiming to improve the online content about labor history, an editathon was held in Hornbake Library in the University of Maryland on the International Workers’ Day. The editathon was a joint effort from the Wikipedia community and institutional archives. The event had unexpected number of participants from volunteers, students and faculty staff from the history department and University Libraries who began creating and adding information to the articles related to labor history and labor movement. Moreover, the event was also of a great benefit to university’s collection of archive as it brought attention to this important historical collection.

Read the full article here.

Researchers Use Wikipedia Page Views To Track Seasonal Flu Activity[edit]

File photo

A study published this month in Public Library of Science reports suggests that researchers could use the Wikipedia page views tool to locate the activity of seasonal influenza. Researchers compared the numbers taken from Wikipedia page views in 2013/2014 flu season with the reports done by the CDC. Results were very close!

Read the full article here.

Jimmy Wales receives Dan David Prize at Tel Aviv University[edit]

On May 17, Tel Aviv University witnessed the Dan David Prize Ceremony. Dan David Prize is one of the most reputable prizes in the academic world. The prize is awarded to those achieved exceptional efforts in Arts, science and humanities around the world. Three prizes of 1 million dollars are given every year to those with extraordinary achievements. The prize committee considers Wales an exceptional initiator has a great contribution to humanity by introducing the first, top, and only free encyclopedia on the internet.

Read the full article here.

Aboriginal language Wikipedia faces cultural hurdles and a university professor tries to save it[edit]

This article in The Guardian covers the efforts of Clint Bracknell who is a Nyungar lecturer at the University of Sydney with other academics trying to see a Wikipedia in their native language. University of Western Australia and Curtin University in Australia are also involved in these efforts. While Wikipedia is now available in 288 languages, there is no Wikipedia in any Indigenous Australian language till this moment.

Read the full article here.

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