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Education/News/March 2023/Wikimarathon is an opportunity to involve students and teachers in creating and editing articles in Wikipedia

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Wikimarathon is an opportunity to involve students and teachers in creating and editing articles in Wikipedia.

Summary: Wikimedia Ukraine organized a traditional Wikimarathon in January this year to recruit new volunteers in the article writing process.
Zavodske, Poltava region

From January 26 to February 1, a traditional Wikimarathon was held in Ukraine to celebrate the birthday of the Ukrainian language section. Wikimedia Ukraine has been organizing Wikimarathon every year for almost a decade; its goal is to attract more volunteers to write articles.

This year, 346 users who wrote almost 1900 articles took part in the Wikimarathon. 35 offline meetings were held in Ukraine and abroad, in which more than 500 people took part.

Most such meetings took place in educational institutions and libraries. Experienced Wikipedians shared their knowledge and helped participants create their first Wikipedia articles. The main audience of such events were students of senior classes of lyceums, schools, and universities. These young people actively use Wikipedia in their studies but often have never tried editing and writing articles. They don't necessarily write articles on science topics, Wikipedia also requires articles about sports, movies, and games, and students do well on these tasks.

“The Novoprylut library has traditionally been the base for Wiki training. This time, the event was in danger of being disrupted, as an air raid alert had been announced shortly before, and the time was chosen according to the power outage schedule. Fortunately, the air alert ended quickly, so we could start the event on time. This time the theme choice of Wikimarathon participants was sports-based. They wrote articles about a football player, a basketball player, a volleyball player, and a Paralympic climber who conquered the world's highest peaks. Interestingly, the last article was translated from Korean, although there are quite a few translations from Korean in the Ukrainian Wikipedia,” says local organizer Visem

Wikimarathon 2023 in Nova Pryluka

Visem talks about one of the events: “The organization of the event was adjusted to the electricity schedule. Because of the current conditions, we had to work on laptops with mobile Internet. Despite the quality of the equipment, as well as other technical issues and time constraints, the participants still managed to familiarize themselves with the basics of editing Wikipedia and start new ones, and also tried to upload their own photos.”

Separate events were held for teachers. We actively involve teachers and maintain contact with them, because teachers are also our audience. We teach new teachers not to be afraid of Wikipedia, but to learn to use it properly in their teaching, to encourage students to learn, and to teach them to check information and use authoritative sources. Next month, we will start a course for teachers on using Wikipedia in education, and we expect that it will interest them. For experienced teachers, every year we hold a “Wikipedia for school” competition, where teachers write articles on the subject of the school curriculum.

We try to work with various workers in the educational field, and one of the events was for school library workers. The team of experienced trainers of the library helped the participants master wiki markup, use editing panels, explained wiki technologies for creating new and editing existing articles or their sections, and also substantiated the criteria of notability, according to which information content for Wikipedia should be created.

During the training, the participants learned why people write Wikipedia, how to independently create articles for it, and familiarized themselves with the contests and campaigns currently taking place. They tried to register independently and practiced text editing skills.

gymnasium students and teachers of gymnasium No. 6 named after I. V. Zhitnichenko in the city of Berdychev

Also, 7 offline events took place abroad. Due to the Russian invasion, many Ukrainians had to leave the country and seek refuge abroad, but they still wanted to participate in the Wikimarathon.

This year, due to the war, offline events in Ukraine had to follow extensive security protocols as they were threatened by shelling and air strikes. Online events were limited due to the fact that Russia regularly bombarded infrastructure facilities, and because of this, there were massive power and Internet blackouts when the power could be out for more than a day. However, Wikimarathon took place, and more than 30 volunteers organized offline events in their schools and libraries so that students and teachers could participate and contribute to the creation of Wikipedia articles. We hope that next year we will be able to hold all events calmly.

You can learn more about Wikimarathon at the link Вікімарафон 2023

  • Author is the Manager of the "Increasing Participation" Direction, Wikimedia Ukraine