Between 14-15 October, a face to face workshop training was organized in Sivas, Turkey, with the support of the European Union and Bilkent University International Children’s Center. With the project named “There is a Wikipedian in the Village!”; the aim was to increase information literacy among village children in education, to show conscious ways to read content online, and to explain with appropriate methods how to move from a consumer to a producer on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia used as a source for their homework.
We had lunch with the students on the first day of the training, which was organized for children between the ages of 9-18. Then, I showed how to create a Wikipedia account, showing the basics of how to make changes, adding source tools and internal linking methods. During the workshop, a primary and a high school teacher helped us communicate with the students. This was also the first educational event for disadvantaged children countryside in Turkey.
A village in Anatolia was specifically chosen to ensure that children who have to work in agriculture during the summer months can have a nice and quality time. In addition, encouraging them to produce digital content and showing them how to use the internet effectively other than games and social media platforms were among the main goals. The project goals also included:
- To enable children to access create, share, and transform knowledge by using, evaluating, and understanding digital technologies
- To enable students to gain skills in text and visual formatting
- Contributing to online communication skills and encouraging them to enjoy their thoughts and ideas
- To reinforce advanced research skills and to demonstrate accurate and effective use of Wikipedia, which functions as a digital library, as well as traditional printed sources.
- Contributing to the development of the child’s personality and social harmony through multi-participant activity
On the second day, work continued on the articles in the draft status. In addition, stationery items such as crayons and notebooks were given to 20 primary students, and test books were given to high school students. Within the scope of the project, an activity was planned to photograph the plants and living species in nature and natural beauties and upload these outputs to Wikimedia Commons, a sister project of Wikipedia. However, this activity was canceled due to adverse weather conditions.
The feedback was very positive, we received from students the following month. A consensus was reached on the positive impact of increasing such workshops and training activities in countryside regions in the coming years. Additionally, a WhatsApp group was established with participating high school students for any exchange of views on Wikimedia projects.
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