Kennisnet/Kennisnet and Wikipedia/en

Brainstorming in Zoetermeer july 26, 2005


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Hoi, There was a meeting at Kennisnet in the Netherlands. As a meeting it was a success. You may know that Kennisnet has a portal function for educational content for the Dutch primary, secondary schools and for vocational training. Kennisnet has now been actively involved with the Wikimedia Foundation for over half a year, many activities have resulted from this, including new hosting servers for the Foundation and the Queen Beatrix project.

The character of this meeting was very different; it was about how to use Wiki content and Wiki technology in education. The Queen Beatrix project was the first content squarely aimed to get direct involvement from the students in Dutch education and in a way it was good and in a way it was not. As it was so abundantly clear that this was coming much of the content was created by the nl.Wikipedians before the project even started. From a traffic point of view it is not all that bad, even nl.wiktionary gets attention from the Kennisnet project, its access page is on the 41st place of the frequently requested articles. Kennisnet has its own statistics, and it can inform us how much traffic their project gets and how many people find their way to our content.

Technically, it was discussed if it would be beneficial for schools to have their own wikis. It was discussed if a wiki could/should replace a school website, this idea was basically rejected. It is not relevant as it is up to the school as it sees fit. If it makes for schools to have their own wiki, it will be because it has a place in the curriculum and it is approached as a tool. To get the active participation of schools, educational content needs to be prepared; one of the essential parts of this content will be instructional material on how to use a wiki.

There were several ways a wiki can be used; one is to have some basic content, a framework that is a base for the work that is to be done during the year. Another is to have it as a platform for creating the "School newspaper" as it is great at creating collaborative content. When students are to do their homework, wiki content can be used to inform them what the homework is, it can even be used to have the student do the homework.

The featured articles and articles of the day were considered for translation exercises. Not only has this its application as just a good text but it was also considered to ask students to translate articles from and to the language that is being studied. The existence of interwiki links was considered as a way to know if an article already exists so that the "best" translation could be used for upload. Wiktionary content was considered; as often the meanings translations are missing it may be something that students can be asked to work on. Defining a word is often a difficult exercise.

One technology that is often needed in schools is video material. It was repeated that Kennisnet has the ability to stream content and is willing to use this technology to be used for the Wikimedia Foundation. For the WMF the use of "Open/Free" technology is a requirement; the software will be changed to host ogg video material. Hosting the formats that are in widespread us can already be done.

Waerth did send a mail asking if Kennisnet would be willing to pay for access to statistical content. Kennisnet, the portal organisation it is, cannot fulfil such a request. There was however a discussion on how such data would be best hosted. Localisation and versioning were discussed. When you have statistical content, you want to know the date and the source of the content. アムステルダム, 암스테르담 and Амстердам have the same statistics it makes little sense to store this in many projects. Consequently the possibilities that Wikidata offer for this type of information and the possibilities that the Ultimate Wiktionary offer for localisation need to be considered. Kennisnet might consider helping with the creation of the infrastructure for such a project.

One recurring theme in the discussion was the creation of a Dutch an encyclopaedic project by and for kids. Often the Wikipedia articles are difficult and they do not necessarily inform kids in their own language and address their needs. For Kennisnet, giving an editorial hand in such a project is something that would seriously be considered.

One fun thing was the never-ending need of summaries of novels and poetry. The American “Cliffs notes” are known for these. The strategies of using summaries to fake real expertise were discussed. One of the best strategies is also very time consuming so much so that reading the book was considered an equally good strategy.. Summaries can be part of the Wikipedias however, as the requirement of students is somewhat different, discussing the book etc is rather relevant.. It might be considered to have a Wikisummaries projects..