March 24, 2012

Women's History Month edit-a-thon at Figueres

Women editing Wikipedia at Museu de l'Empordà, Figueres.  (+ photos here)
WikiWomen's History Month is a wiki-coordinated program of distributed events and editathons focused on WikiProject Women's History, to be held throughout the world in celebration of International Women's Day and Women's History Month in March 2012.  This project is welcoming everyone, especially new Wikipedians and Wikipedian-wannabes looking to contribute on women in history.

In Catalonia, we joined the project, and we prepared a Wikipedia edit-a-thon in order to improve the biography of Ángeles Santos Torroella (Portbou, 1911). She is a living Catalan surrealist painter who is more than 100 year old!. This is what I call alive and kicking, and a good reason for an edit-a-thon. So, on March 24, a little but encouraged group of 8 Wikipedians coming from different cities of Catalonia attended the event. The activity took place in Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí.

Anna Capella, Museu de l'Empordà, Director
Anna Capella, Director of the Museu de l'Empordà (Empordà county Museum), generously helped us at the museum library with loads of documentation and good advises and a keynote about the artist's life. Museum professionals are a needed piece on this kind of projects, as they can give us the best existing resources about their local artists. Museum professionals expertise mixed with Wikipedia reach is the best cocktail to improve local heritage and artists.

We had some newbies, including a Grammar teacher and some art historians, who also came by and helped us. After a whole morning of typing and reading, the Wikipedia entry was 15 times bigger!!! We are now very proud of Ángeles Santos biography in Catalan. We are still working on it, and on the forthcoming weeks we will translate it to English and Spanish. Some French friends already offered themselves for translation, via Twitter. You are also invited to translate it to your own language!

Our edit-a-thon was one of the 2 European activities related to the project coordinated and leaded by the great Sarah Stierch. The other one was held in Warsaw a couple of weeks ago. Let's close the gender gap!

March 09, 2012

Introducing Wikischools 2012 (Viquiescoles)

The 2012 edition of Viquiescoles project  (Wikischools)  is already underway in Catalan language Wikipedia. It is an initiative promoted by Amical Viquipèdia where we teach to several teachers within a basic course which are the basic goods of using Wikipedia and the advantages of using it in their classrooms. This course is later complemented with a competition where students create wikipedia articles in a separated wiki, qualifying for various prizes. Then the best articles are transferred to Catalan Wikipedia.

Wikischools presents peculiarities that make it a unique project: it combines teachers from different parts of the Catalan-speaking territories (and thus encourages the exchange of views and realities), moreover includes elements of reflection beyond a simple technical workshop to make the course an opportunity to discuss issues such as shared knowledge, the role of students in class, the actual use of new technologies in education and the promotion of critical spirit, among others.

In this year's edition, 15 teachers from 15 different High schools are participating in the training. Some teachers are responsible of secondary school students and some of High School students. This is one of our basic projects to increase the number of local Wikipedians within a few months. Last year it was conducted as a test phase to the schools of the Balearic Islands and around 70 articles where included on Wikipedia. This year we expect to exceed these numbers. We will be attentive to the evolution of the newbies and you will soon read their contributions to the Catalan Wikipedia.

Schools are the best place and resource to prepare a forthcoming open-minded Wiki-generation

Video of Viquiescoles 2011 edition (Wikischools)
PS: This post was originally written in Catalan using a CC-BY-SA license

March 05, 2012

Glamwiki workshop inside a train!

Museum Professionals Planning glamwiki educational activities inside a train- Kippelboy- CC-BY-SA

Last week we were in Vilanova i la Geltru, a city situated 40 km south-west of Barcelona, promoting the  educational branch of the glamwiki projects. Our strategy was to organize 2 events: one aimed to educators, teachers, and the other one to museum professionals who work in the educational department.

Previous Workshop with 125 teachers
On Saturday we presented Wikipedia and its related values, and how to use it in the classroom to 125 teachers from the County Educational Resources Center. The presentation emphasized the possibilities offered by this tool in the classroom: education for democratic values, critical thinking, students acting as an active constructor of knowledge, motivation, resources used to work on basic skills, including inclusion issues. Some of the attendees were so impressed that repeated the second day.

The second presentation was held at the Catalonia Railway Museum. Our presentation was the main activity of a seminar called Conversations at the Station, where museum experts from all over Catalonia discuss annually and work together to share common challenges. This year's theme was Wikipedia + museums + education = success. This meeting was specifically focused for museum professionals who works in the education department of museums, but with special interest in local museums. About 60 professionals attended.

First we explained some #glamwiki successful projects that encouraged museum professionals to open the museum to their community, using Internet and Wikipedia as a way to improve their online network. Later during the day, a High School teacher who is also a Wikimedian presented her recommendations about how can museum educational departments incorporate Wikipedia into its catalog of activity proposals for schools.

My child dream came true: I am now an old train driver!

After a break full of questions and rich conversations, we did a Wikipedia projects workshops inside the trains of their permanent exhibit. Using the same system that we did at GLAMcamp DC, participants formed groups of 3-4 people and thought and proposed Wikipedia activities that could be implemented at their museums.

This workshops was very useful, because, apart from Wikipedia, we discussed interesting topics, such as the role of intellectuals, the aesthetic experience of students in a museum, the relationship between experts and disclosure or dissemination of the new tasks of cultural managers. Soon I'll blog with the conclusions of this talk.

Nearly 200 people between the two days, many outcomes and proposals for implementing Wikipedia on their forthcoming projects, so we believe that this week at Vilanova will become a breeding ground for future Wikipedians very motivated, as they arise immediately applicable ideas and keep in touch with them to keep it in good company.