Submissions/7th Grade wikipedia project

From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2013.

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Submission no.
Subject no.
Title of the submission
7th Grade wikipedia project
Type of submission
Author of the submission
Gabriel Thullen
Country of origin
Collège des Colombières, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
E-mail address
GastelEtzwane (talk)
Personal homepage or blog

Wikipedia has become an essential resource for students who use it extensively both at home and at school. This is true at all levels of their studies: university, secondary or primary schools. It is pointless trying to fight this trend, as a lot of teachers still are doing, it is better to teach students to use Wikipedia properly.

I tend to favor a “hands on” approach to learning, and have observed that students learn best how Wikipedia works by actually creating articles themselves. My 7th grade junior high school students have been contributing to Wikipedia since 2006.

Detailed proposal

The Colombières junior high school is located in Versoix, a small town near Geneva, in the French speaking part of Switzerland. I am a math and computer science teacher, and have been working with my students on wikipedia projects as part of their curriculum since 2006.

There is a very large international community in Geneva which means that most students speak at least one other language, and have used wikipedia as a source of information in their mother tongue. Working with wikipedia and understanding how the encyclopedia is structured allows them to see how knowledge can be shared across different cultural divides.

The 7th Grade wikipedia project has the following objectives:

  • enable the students to become familiar with the information technologies (IT) used in education;
  • give students tools that enable them to do autonomous research on subjects that interest them;
  • encourages them to systematically document and reference their information sources;
  • shows the students the advantages and difficulties of collaborative work;

These objectives form a coherent whole and the aim is to enable the students to participate in the writing of an encyclopedia and to increase the sharing of knowledge. Most students use wikipedia on a regular basis for their course work. This activity increases their comprehension of how wikipedia works as well as helping some of them take the step and become contributors.

The project is described on the French Wikipedia, together with links to the contributions made by my students over the years: fr:Projet:Collège_des_Colombières. I also use this project as a case study for the continuing education course which I give in Geneva for Swiss teachers.

The issues that need to be adressed when working with students arise when working with most new contributors:

  • how to get new contributors interested and motivated ;
  • how to avoid having their hard work trashed and rejected after 15 minutes ;
  • how to create a viable article stub ;
  • how to avoid plagarism ;
  • how to provide references and citations.

My presentation will cover the method I use to work with the students, as well as the different changes brought to the procedure over time. I will also talk about the acceptance of the project by the school authorities, as well as the different guidelines public schools have to follow when working, and publishing, with students on the web.

I am bilingual English/French. My school project is run in a French speaking school, but this presentation will be held in English, and all the materials will be provided in both languages.

  • Cultural and Educational Outreach
Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
Language of presentation/talk
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# Simon Villeneuve

  1. Jeromy-Yu Chan, COIC (talk) 12:30, 21 March 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  2. --Saintfevrier (talk) 19:48, 24 March 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Slashme (talk) 15:47, 7 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  4. --Chandres (talk) 12:51, 18 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Ldavis (WMF) (talk) 17:51, 25 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Iopensa (talk) 15:50, 30 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Ijon (talk) 08:13, 2 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Jon Davies WMUK
  9. Graham87 (talk) 10:01, 5 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  10. --SusikMkr (talk) 19:13, 3 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  11. --Dvdgmz (talk) 15:14, 5 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  12. --Ecce Ralgis (háblame) 23:39, 9 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]