Jump to content

Submissions/Are we really an educational tool? Reviewing and improving articles related to the international curricula to serve educational needs and to rebalance information geography on Wikipedia. Pilot in South Africa

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2015 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this July.

Submission no.
Title of the submission

Are we really an educational tool? Reviewing and improving articles related to the international curricula to serve educational needs and to rebalance information geography on Wikipedia. Pilot in South Africa.

Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)


Author of the submission
E-mail address




Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)

Laboratory of visual culture, SUPSI University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland

Personal homepage or blog

The research project Wikipedia Primary School SSAJRP on meta.

Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Wikipedia is indeed an educational tool and it is currently available online, via mobile phones and offline. Experience has shown that, once accessible, Wikipedia does not provide information that responds directly to curriculum-based questions.

Making sure Wikipedia responds to curriculum-based questions is not our mission, but it contributes to a broader use of Wikipedia, it provides a precise scope to small and not-yet fully developed Wikipedia linguistic editions, and it participates in our effort in rebalancing information geography and diversity with a focus on notable and already-consulted articles.

Objective of this presentation
This presentation is meant to describe the current results of a scalable methodology designed to trigger the improvement of Wikipedia as an educational tool and under test on th South African primary school curriculum (pilot). We would like to discuss it with the Wikimedia community to eventually make the relevant changes requested in 2015-2016, and to invite wikipedias, chapters, groups and the Wikimedia Foundation to consider its implementation in other countries.

Short overview of the methodology

  • Identifying relevant national content. The methodology starts from the identification of topics presented in the national curriculum of primary school. “People even study this at primary school” is a simple way to affirm that a topic is “basic” and necessary (and notable). There are topics which are learned everywhere in the world and there are topics in the curriculum specific to the country (i.e. national history, geography, art…). It is important to notice that – even when a topic is learned everywhere – there are specific local elements which are at strike (the continent, hemisphere, climatic zone, the local flora and fauna, relevant local examples…). Identification of the topics of the South African primary school curriculum.
  • Linking topics to Wikipedia articles. If in certain cases the link is obvious (South Africa, History of South Africa, Nelson Mandela...), in other cases it is less obvious (cooking, transport…). We might expect that Wikipedia already present all the “basic" and necessary articles, but in reality – by looking at the primary school curricula in South Africa – we can see that there are still basic topics missing. Another issue is that there are topics which are learned anywhere, but the most general article does not include relevant content for readers anywhere. Linking the South African primary school curriculum to Wikipedia articles.
  • Reviewing Wikipedia articles. The objective of the review is evaluate the state of articles and the gap, to confirm that articles are already good, to collect suggestions on how articles can be improved and to check the quality of new content produced. Differently from other researches, in this case the review is meant to engage relevant people in contributing to Wikipedia (scholars and scientific journals) and to support the community in making articles better. We notify when the review is planned (providing time to eventually make changes), we ask precise suggestions and bibliography to the reviewers and we provide the results of the review openly as a contribution from a scholar.
  • Triggering the production of content. We trigger the production of content by informing the community, by providing hints on how articles can be improved (bibliography, suggestions), by involving scholars in the review process and in the project (with the potential fallout of getting them to contribute directly or to involve colleagues, students and scientific journals) and by making a call for contributions.

Transversal relevance of the approach

  • Responding to the needs of our readers (anywhere).
  • Filling gaps.
  • Working at a national scale (by highlighting content through national curricula and by contributing this way to rebalance Wikipedia geographic information).
  • Triggering the involvement scholars and academics in contributing to Wikipedia (not necessarily as editor but as allies).
  • Reviewing a selection of articles particularly needed in the languages used by the different educational systems (in South Africa only there are 11 languages used in the educational system).

The methodology is developed within the project Wikipedia Primary School SSAJRP (February 2014-January 2017), a joint Swiss-South African research promoted by SUPSI and the University of Cape Town in collaboration with Wikimedia CH and the Africa Centre. This presentation is a follow up of the presentation Wikipedia and Primary School at Wikimania 2013 in Hong Kong. The idea of Wikipedia Primary School was launched in 2012 and started with a feasibility study supported by lettera27 Foundation and the Africa Centre; the topic has been presented on the Wikimedia Foundation blog in August 2013 and no update has followed yet.


WikiCulture & Community
Please note that this presentation is about how to improve Wikipedia content related to education (on Wikipedia); it is not about teaching Wikipedia or using Wikipedia in classrooms.

Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?


Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with a hash and four tildes. (# ~~~~).

  1. Thelmadatter (talk) 12:45, 26 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 02:46, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Orderinchaos (talk) 08:46, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  4. AKoval (WMF) (talk) 18:54, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Correogsk or Gustavo (Editrocito or Heme aquí) 19:27, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Joalpe (talk) 12:17, 1 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Salubrious Toxin (talk) 15:22, 1 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  8. CT Cooper · talk 17:25, 1 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Discott (talk) 13:34, 2 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]