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Welcome to the Newsroom! The newsletter is published monthly, at the end of each month. The current deadline for submissions is February 20, 2017. Submissions are welcome from anyone involved with Wikipedia/Wikimedia and education. Submit your news via the input box below! Concerned about your English or your writing skills? We can write your article for you! Click here for help.. Want to take part in the newsletter but don't have an article to submit? Participate in the featured topic discussion here. Thank you for contributing to the Education Newsletter!


Submit an article for This Month in Education![edit]



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Manually Submitted Articles[edit]

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Israel[edit]

  • Title:Medical students' contributions reach 200 articles in an innovative elective course at Tel Aviv University.
  • By: Shani Evenstein
  • Tagline:Wiki-Med, Wikipedia in Higher Education
  • Images / media: (3 media files to illustrate your story)
  • Descriptive text:

On October 2013, an innovative, for-credit, elective course dedicated to Wikipedia opened at Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. The semester-long course (13-14 weeks), called "Wiki-Med", had a simple idea in mind – give students an opportunity to sharpen their academic, digital and collaborative skills, while contributing high quality medical content to Wikipedia; or in other words – ensure students' academic work makes a difference and has a positive impact not only on them, but also on the broader community, by curating their work in Wikipedia and its sister projects.

On January 2017, the 4th iteration of the course was completed. Thus far, 106 medical students participated in the course, almost 50% of them women. The majority of participants were Hebrew native speakers, but many were Arabic native speakers, and some Russian and French native speakers. On average, each student wrote 2 articles during the semester, contributing collectively over 200 medical-related articles in Hebrew Wikipedia (which are about 8% of all medical articles in Hebrew), with page views by the millions. Some of the articles were translated from English as part of the WikiProject Medicine Foundation's extensive translation efforts, some were wanted but missing articles in He-Wiki and some personal initiatives by students. In the last iteration, half of the articles focused on Women's health, as part of the Hebrew"Women in Red" initiative (part of the WikiWomen project).

Despite some labor pains and the course's complex nature (especially compared with other electives at Sackler), the course is considered a success. It continues to evolve yearly (for example, in the past two years it includes a Wikidata session), and students consistently report a positive and meaningful learning experience. Specifically, this includes –

  • Engaging in active learning, which leads to higher-order thinking skills and better retention of material
  • Sharpening academic skills, including academic writing and convergence of different sources into a coherent picture
  • Perfecting digital skills, such as online research and evaluation of sources
  • Learning about encyclopedic writing, including understanding copyrights, writing from a neutral point of view and the importance of references
  • Working collaboratively, including peer-reviewing each other, having to give and receive feedback in a positive and constructive way, rather than a negative and distructive one – a skill students will have to use in their future careers
  • Practicing simplicity, by taking complex medical ideas and having to convey them in a simple way, something students will have to do with future patients
  • Learning about the free-knowledge movement, the power of the community, and the importance of contributing high quality medical information to Wikipedia, which has become the number 1 source of medical information online around the world.
  • Self-belief, teaching the students to take ownership on their learning process from an early stage, as well as on their capacity to do something good with what they already know.

Based on its success, the Vice Rector at Tel Aviv University has given its blessing to adapt the Wiki-Med course model and open a second Wikipedia course. The new course, called "Wikipedia: Skills for producing and consuming knowledge", opened in 2015 and is available to all undergraduate students from every discipline taught on campus. The 2nd iteration of the course just finished, and up till now, over 130 articles were added to Wikipedia.

  • Further Reading: (2 - 3 links)

Argentina[edit]

  • Title: Wikilesa: Working with university students on human rights
  • By: Luisina Ferrante (WMAR)
  • Tagline: Human Rights, Wikilesa, Wikipedia in Higher Education
  • Images / media: (3 media files to illustrate your story)
First Wikilesa in Universidad Nacional de la Plata.
Descriptive text:[edit]

During 2015-2016 we carried out four activities called "Wikilesa", designed to edit existing information on Wikipedia about the Human Rights Violations that took place in Argentina during the last Military Dictatorship (1976-1983). With our partner Cosecha Roja, a specialized news portal about justice and human rights, we train teachers, university students, activists and researchers to learn how to use Wikipedia and how to edit existing information, improve and create new content.

Wikilesa became in a year, one of the main WMAR’s education activities. We designed specific trainings with students from different Universities to build, through Wikipedia, a social condemnation and to contribute to the processes of memory, truth and justice in our country. We also took Wikilesa to new institutions that were interested in working on the subject to replicate it in different educational and cultural spaces. This strategy gave it more visibility and installed the Wikilesa project as a reliable activity when it comes to talk about Human Rights in the educational and research community. Our focus is to teach students and specialized researchers in how to edit in Wikipedia. This audience is used to write all the time about this subject, so they are well prepare to create quality content. The editing day that usually last five hours, goes on using an editathon format that includes a main presentation of the subject and the participant’s work on Wikipedia. During these experiences, we realized that involving the educational community in sensitive issues such as the military dictatorship in Argentina generated a challenge to those who participated, and a way to use Wikipedia as a space for social demand. We had the opportunity to organize these edit-a-thons with the participation of human rights specialists, among them, survivors of the last military dictatorship and judges of the trials that are being carried out now in Argentina. This year we will continue expanding the experience of Wikilesa. We will make a special activity in a University on March 24th, meaning the 41st anniversary of the last civil-military coup in Argentina.

Wikilesa Editathon.
Second Wikilesa in "Memory Site"
- Results in terms of Learning[edit]
  • Gifted-students and university teachers become aware of the need to write and to value the recovery of  the historical memory Argentina Students and teachers improve their knowledge and skills in relation  to Wikimedia projects.
- Results in terms of changing action[edit]
  • Improved quality content on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects by giftedstudents.
- Results in terms of changing Conditions[edit]
  • New users: 82 editors participate along this experience and 21 are active in Wikipedia, proposing future activities to further extend the experience in the provinces.
  • 54 articles were improved and 21 articles were created.
  • New quality content in Wikipedia and Wikipedia Commons.
  • New giftedstudents network created, new editors retained.
  • Long term engagement from cultural and educational partners.
Example of articles created and improved during Wikilesa activities[edit]
Further reading:[edit]

-Experience “Wikilesa” in Cosecha Roja News Portal

-A collective and documented memory in Página 12 News Portal

-Wikilesa research presented in International Congress on Memory Policies in Latin America

Armenia[edit]

Christian Ginosyan
  • Descriptive text:

The WikiClubs project is a program of Wikimedia Armenia with the goal to increase the reach of wiki projects in the regions of Armenia by creating special centres where every editor or anyone interested in editing can freely attend and contribute. We constantly work on having more WikiClubs in different regions of Armenia, and very often community members assist us in this. This is the story of the establishment of a WikiClub called Mrgavan WikiClub because it’s located in Mrgavan town, Armenia. This could not happen if a student from the Mrgavan High School - Christian Ginosyan did not propose us to open a WikiClub in his village.

Chris began editing on Armenian Wikipedia soon after one of his teachers - Nelly Ghazaryan, a participant of Wiki Seminar for teachers, introduced him Wikipedia. Being an active editor he was given an opportunity to participate in the Summer WikiCamp which inspired him to first ask his another teacher to participate in the Wikiseminar to learn editing tools and rules, and then to work hard with his teacher on the creation of a WikiClub in their school.

Now, Mrgavan WikiClub is one of the most active WikiClubs which participants edit on Wikipedia, Wiktionary and Wikisource, as well as participate in WikiCamps and other projects of Wikimedia Armenia.

WikiClubs promotional video

For being an active editor on Armenian Wikipedia for more than a year who created 214 articles (one of which - Misery, a novel by Stephen King, has become a good article on Armenian Wikipedia and a number of articles were selected to be represented on the main page of hywiki as Day articles), did more than 2869 edits and for his huge support in engaging new people to the Wiki Movement, Christian was chosen by Wikimedia Armenia to participate in the WikiCamp Portugal on August, 2016 organized by Wikimedia Armenia and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in the framework of the Western Armenian project, as well as in the WM CEE Meeting 2016 Dilijan, Armenia.

"You can't imagine what an incredible honor it was to attend the WM CEE Meeting 2016, to be among so many clever and influential people. It isn't only the WikiCamps that motivate me to be active on Wikipedia but the knowledge I get and share while editing each line. Both WikiCamps and Wikipedia have changed my whole life for the better. I won't stop editing Wikipedia because I want to have my contribution in the development of Armenian science and education", once told us Christian when speaking about his experience in the Wiki Movement.

This year Christian is going to enter the university choosing the profession of a journalist. Wikimedia Armenia is sure that after becoming a student, Christian will continue involving, motivating and inspiring his fellow students to join the world of free knowledge.

See more photos of Mrgavan WikiClub on Wikimedia Commons.

Greece[edit]

  • Title: Citizen Science and biodiversity in school projects on Wikispecies, Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons
  • By: Mina Theofilatou
  • Tagline:Wikispecies, Wikidata, Wikipedia Education Program in Greece
Students Spyros, Giorgos, Maria, their instructor Mina, Rodamanthi, Evangelia and Katerina in the Argostoli Evening School computer lab.


  • Descriptive text:

In February 2013 the Argostoli Evening High School communicated its projects for school year 2012-13 on the Wikimedia Blog. The international community reacted with enthusiasm, suggesting that the wild flora project in particular displayed interesting scope for applying Citizen Science principles to school projects and exploring biodiversity in the Mediterranean region. The project was titled “Wild flora of Kefalonia: Survival and Relish” and its goal was to record as many edible plant species growing wild on the island as possible.

Maria added the vernacular names of wild flora species in Greek to Wikispecies.

The tenth-grade students of the Evening School decided for semester one of school year 2016-17 to pick up on the same subject, and expand it into new directions by enriching the existing gallery on Commons and entering related data on Wikispecies and Wikidata. This was our first time ever on the latter WM projects and despite lacking experience and time – all edits were performed in one seventy-minute session per week for twelve weeks – we can proudly announce that we have entered the Greek vernacular names of twenty plant species to Wikispecies and twenty-five edits (Greek labels and aliases) to existing entries on Wikidata. Our field work involved taking photos of more species to add to the gallery. Finally, we tried to complete as many “photo sets” as possible in the existing gallery in the format “plant species in nature – edible part(s) – processed food product” (16 species now have a full set of photos - “from the field to the table” - and more will follow)

Shai Katz (Israel) and Mina Theofilatou (Greece) meet at Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario, Italy.

In December 2016 Shai Katz extended Mina Theofilatou an invitation to speak to an audience of twenty Israeli elementary school teachers about her projects at the Evening School in the context of a teacher course, led by Wikimedia Israel together with the Israeli Center for Educational Technology and the Israeli Ministry of Education. The video-conference session was held on December 27 and the teachers were primarily interested in the wild flora project: Israel is also situated in the Mediterranean basin and their primary school students could embark on a similar project involving field work in their own natural settings. Several schools could then join forces to extract conclusions on biodiversity.

For semester two the students of Argostoli Evening School have ambitious plans: following the success of last year's semester two project on App Inventor, they plan to build an app with the data they collected on the wild flora of their island. The result of our first brainstorming session was to design a guide indicating which wild plants are in season depending on the month of the year, using the gallery photos (offline version for field use, as many users do not have mobile data plans) and linking to existing articles in Wikipedia for further information (online version). With the positive feedback from the Israeli community, it would be a good idea if we designed the app to work in English as well: the Israeli students could use it as a tool in their own endeavor. What's more, App Inventor is licensed under CC-BY-SA and code can be shared in the gallery, thus facilitating the development of an app in Hebrew, or in any other language. The possibilities are endless when the international community works together in harmony to explore similarities and share the most precious resource of all: KNOWLEDGE.

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program at the Argostoli Evening School in Greece here.

"In the News" submissions[edit]