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Submissions/Engaging the local community in a school project on Commons

From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong

This is a withdrawn submission for Wikimania 2013.

Submission no.
Submission no.
Title of the submission
Engaging the Local Community in a School Project on Commons
Type of submission


Author of the submission

Mina Theofilatou

Country of origin


E-mail address




Personal homepage or blog

Argostoli Evening High School[1], at which I am employed, has been contributing to Wikipedia since 2007. This year we have embarked on two ambitious projects investigating cultural, natural and historical aspects of our island, Kefalonia. All our material is being uploaded to two galleries in Wikimedia Commons (more info in WMF Global blog post here). In spring 2013 we are planning an outdoor presentation of our work, hoping that we will attract the interest of the local community to contribute to our projects - or better yet, join forces with us in Wikimedia editing. My proposal will provide feedback to the WM community on the outcome.

Detailed proposal
Background info

The Greek Ministry of Education introduced mandatory team projects into the curriculum of Upper Secondary school for the first time in school year 2011-12[2];until then, team projects were carried out in the context of optional environmental/cultural/etc. projects run by the respective departments of the education system. The projects I have initiated and supervised at our school since 2007 have involved contributions to Wikipedia/WM Commons, under the rationale: "all the investigation/research/documentation we have carried out in the process of the project should be put to use in the best possible way. By merely publishing the project on a school blog page, or even a dedicated site, it will soon fall into oblivion under the "mass production" of information in our age; moreover, in terms of technology, it will be outdated in a matter of months. We shall contribute our work to Wikipedia for others to share and further develop". Our contributions were generally met with enthusiasm by the Greek Wikipedia community, and often mentioned as an example of "good practice" in integrating Wikipedia into secondary education[3]. Six years later, I (and my students!) are still committed to the ideals of sharing knowledge; this year our activity has shifted to Wikimedia Commons, with two ongoing galleries on aspects of local nature and culture. In the First Grade of Upper Secondary we are investigating the edible species of wild flora on our island[4] and in Second Grade we are documenting the island's villages[5]; both are being carried out in the context of the said mandatory team projects. Extra plus with working on WM Commons: while other schools are brainstorming to find a way to publish their work online AFTER their project has been completed (requirement of the Ministry[6]), our work is online "from day one".

Why involve the locals?

The notorious Greek crisis, for starters... The "365 Villages project" involves a great deal of traveling around the island in order to gather the necessary photos. It is hardly affordable for students to visit areas 20, 30 or even 50 km away (Kefalonia is a large island) on more than one or two occasions for the needs of the project. We need material from as many of the villages as possible to "prove" or "bust" the myth that our island has a village for each day of the year! Our school is located in the capital of the island (Argostoli), and villagers will visit the capital at weekends to shop in the market. We need their input, and we believe they will be happy to offer it. The audience we want to attract is primarily the elderly locals and their "wealth" of knowledge. Why not organize an outdoor event in the marketplace - with traditional music and local food prepared with wild flora ingredients in the context of our project - where we would present our work and explain how the locals can contribute?

Venue - date
The entrance to a pedestrian road off Sitemporon St. (which literally means "Wheat merchants' road") in Argostoli, which will serve as the venue for our event.

We have chosen a spot on a pedestrian road in the centre of town, very near the shops visited by the locals for their weekly supplies; the neighbouring electrical appliances store has kindly agreed to lend us a large TV screen for the presentation. The event will take place on a Saturday, at around 12:00 (most buses from the villages reach the bus station at 11:30 a.m.). Posters will be put up in selected spots, and the event will be communicated on the Internet and possibly radio at least a week before. Although we had originally planned the event for mid-March, we quickly changed mind as the weather is still totally unpredictable (that goes for all the west coast of Greece, and this year is the ultimate manifestation!). We are now thinking of mid to late April (I will return to this page and post the date once it's finalized) The date of the event is Saturday 18 May 2013 at 12 noon. All are welcome to attend, will provide feedback on other Wikimedia "channels":)

The outcome

That is what I intend to share at Wikimania: photos, videos, accounts of the event. Interviews with locals. Reaction of the local press. Did the locals actually follow up on the event and contribute material? Did I gather a sufficient audience for a subsequent editing workshop? It remains to be seen:)

I should mention here that I have already "attracted" two new contributors to the village project: after understanding the guidelines I gave them, two friends grabbed their cameras and brought back 7 villages:)

  1. Argostoli Evening High School on Greek Wikipedia.
  2. Documents pertaining to the introduction of projects in Upper Secondary in 2011-12, Ministry of Education.
  3. For example, our school's work on Wikipedia was mentioned in an article in the national online newspaper "KATHIMERINI":http://news.kathimerini.gr/4dcgi/_w_articles_ell_2_27/11/2011_464333.
  4. Wild Flora of Kefalonia gallery.
  5. Villages in Kefalonia gallery.
  6. See note 2 above.


Cultural and Educational Outreach

Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
Language of presentation/talk
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

Thanks to all interested attendees but unfortunately I will not be attending Wikimania 2013 as I have not been awarded a scholarship.

Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests

Interested attendees

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  1. Simon Villeneuve
  2. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:10, 1 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Slashme (talk) 15:45, 7 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 21:54, 22 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  5. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 08:49, 24 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  6. CT Cooper · talk 23:33, 28 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  7. GastelEtzwane (talk) 15:00, 4 May 2013 (UTC) I also work with 7th grade students on Wikipedia articles, and I am quite interested in other wikipedia related school projects.[reply]
  8. Your name here