[Foundation-l] Wikikids

Mathias mathias.damour at laposte.net
Tue May 29 17:19:42 UTC 2007


Robert Horning a écrit :
> mathias.damour wrote:
> > Another point is that Wikijunior "only" aims to produce and
> > offer content for children whereas Wikikids.nl and Vikidia
> > want children to be involved in building this content. We want
> > to let them be active with knowledge for pedagogical interest.
> > See this article : http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Writing-to-learn
> I have serious doubts about the ability of children to get involved in
> this process, other than to the extent that they already are involved
> with Wikimedia projects.  There are minors (including some that have
> administrator access... as discussed in some earlier threads) who are
> involved with Wikipedia content (and a few I suspected on Wikibooks as
> well), but these tend to be kids that are exceptionally motivated.  And
> they participate on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects as peers to
> everybody else who is a contributor, with no special distinction.  While
> the idea of having kids write for kids sounds appealing on paper, a
> bunch of 4th graders write like... well... a bunch of 4th graders.  They
> are still trying to learn the basic mechanics of writing, and ought to
> be learning how to write from those who have already mastered the skill,
> not from those who are still apprentices in the subject.  I digress if
> you think some contributors on Wikipedia don't know how to write, but
> that more or less proves my point as well.

It would be nice to have a feed-back from those who are involved in the 
Wikikids.nl project on this point.
I would say a few things :
- We choosed not to make special distinction related to age on Vikidia (no 
more than on Wikipedia). It is just asked that if you tell your age on your
 user page, you shouldn't cheat about it, just as you shouldn't cheat about
 your Diploma/academic degree on Wikipedia. (It's written in the disclaimer
 that a user could be blocked if he cheat about his age, but that you 
shouldn't assumed that it has been checked.)
- 8-13 years is the readers target age. They are welcomed to edit, but 
adults so as - say - 13-18 years are welcomed too. We could guess that 
quite a lot of these (teenagers) could be willing to edit in a wiki, but 
don't feel able to do it on Wikipedia. They can be pleased to do it for 
younger people. That's what happen on Vikidia, where teenage editors are 
quite importants.
- it seems that children are not able to write as much as older people, 
but they could do a quite good job on one subject. Anyway, it's a wiki so 
their articles are to be bettered by others (which can be formative to them).
 They can aslo get involved in maintenance task (internal links...) which 
make them become active readers rather than only content recipient.
Participation of children is nevertheless something like a pillar for 
these wikis.

> What I'm trying to point out is that those who are involved with
> Wikijunior were not even contacted about this idea in the first place
> when the idea was originally brought up on Meta, and suggestions on Meta
> to look at the Wikijunior project as perhaps something to work with were
> met with incredible hostility by those suggesting this Wikikids
> project.  This doesn't have to be an either-or situation, as I believe
> the sum is healthier than the individual parts alone.

I'm not sure I understand well ; "This doesn't have to be an either-or 
situation" do you mean that they can be book for children AND adults on 
Wikibooks, or that they can be wikibooks AND an encyclopedia for children. 
That's what I would say.

> I am presuming that you are writing about this because you want to seek
> input from the Wikimedia community, and would like to enlist support for
> those who might want to get involved with a project of this nature.  I'm
> merely suggesting here that there are individuals who may want to join
> in this sort of project, and you should try to join with these efforts.
> There have been some attempts in the past to move Wikijunior to a
> completely separate project and domain name, including forming
> Wikijunior as a completely independent Wikimedia sister project.  One of
> these proposals, and not rejected by the Wikijunior community, was to
> move to a more Wikipedia-like format of articles rather than the themed
> collections organized into books such as currently exist on Wikibooks.
> Please ask those involved with the development of Wikijunior to at least
> comment on your ideas.  For English Wikijunior, the best place is at
> http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Talk:Wikijunior
> What all this concept is lacking is a very motivated leader who is
> willing to take the next step and demonstrate that there is a large
> concensus among those want to go this route.  And unlike the problems
> that existed with Wikiversity on Wikibooks, there is virtually nobody
> who wants to see Wikijunior "kicked off" of Wikibooks.  Wikijunior
> enjoys a nearly independent existence without having to worry about the
> project overhead of maintaining a separate group of admins, and a
> strongly symbiotic relationship exists as well between Wikibooks and
> Wikijunior to bring new users and contributors to both projects.  I
> think that Wikijunior would struggle with a great many issues if it had
> an independent existence at the moment that it doesn't have to worry
> about right now.

I had a look to the wikijunior pages in english and french. On the english 
talk page, the topic on a separated website is about either a read-only 
website for safe reading for children, or a separate wikibooks. I can 
understand that if wikijunior should still aim to writes books, there is 
no determining utility to make a separate wiki for it.
But the wikikids idea is quite different, since it has a "Wikipedia-like 
format" as you say, and for it aims to let children write on it.

I don't know if wikijunior could (and would like) to move to that, and 
anyway "This doesn't have to be an either-or situation" ;-)

Mathias Damour

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