Jump to content

Submissions/Adyghe Wikipedia development by Middle School Students

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2014 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no. 3003
Title of the submission
Adyghe Wikipedia development by Middle School Students
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Deror Avi, Amir E. Aharoni
E-mail address
Deror Avi, Amire80
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Wikimedia Israel
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

In this lecture we will describe a project of Wikimedia Israel in which Middle School students were taught how to use and how to edit Wikipedia – both the Hebrew Wikipedia and the Adyghe Wikipedia (still in incubator), what lessons were learnt from this project (ongoing for the past two years), what were the difficulties faced, and how were the challenges met. We shall present the project and the best practices learnt from it. Among the difficulties faced was lack of motivation of the high school students, discipline problems, language barriers, technical difficulties (no Adyghe keyboards) and time constraints. But the results were exceeding expectations – about 80 students participating, writing 4 articles in Hebrew Wikipedia and 75 stubs at the Adyghe Wikipedia, increasing its size by 100%.


A small Circassian community of about 4,000 people live in Israel, 3,000 of them live in a small town - Kfar Kama, in the north of Israel. There are about 8 million Circassians world wide, speaking one of two Circassian languages: Adyghe (also known as West Circassian) and Kabardian (also known as East Circassian). The community in Kfar Kama speaks Adyghe as its native tongue, and the street signs in the village are in Adyghe. However, Adyghe is not an official language in Israel, and the students, when they go to school study in Hebrew and Arabic, and also learn English, resulting in them being able to read and write these three languages, but being mostly illiterate in their native spoken tongue.

The Project

Wikimedia Israel has undertaken to increase the use of Wikipedia at school and to challenge biases of teachers against Wikipedia. In order to do that, lectures were given to officials at the Ministry of Education and to high school managers, telling them that Wikipedia may be used as a tool to teach students. The headmaster of the middle school of Kfar Kama heard about this and approached us, requesting that the students be taught how to edit Wikipedia, hoping that they will learn more about their own culture by writing articles about it in the Hebrew Wikipedia, and learn their language by writing articles in the Adyghe Wikipedia.

The project had to face several difficult challenges:

  • Distance – Kfar Kama is a small town in the north of Israel, with no Wikipedians in the area able to volunteer and participate.
  • Discipline – Putting twenty five 8th and 9th grade students in a computer room meant usually that they prefer updating their facebook accounts and play computer games, and not to do their assignments. It is not for the Wikipedians to handle discipline issues.
  • Technical difficulties – No Adyghe keyboards available.
  • Language barriers – while the students spoke Hebrew (and the lectures and workshops were given in Hebrew by Hebrew Wikipedians), they had difficulties writing in Adyghe, and as to the teachers – one spoke only Hebrew, one only Arabic, and one only Adyghe and Russian (the school headmaster spoke all three).
  • Financial difficulties – costs of travel.

After several sessions we have managed to overcome the difficulties, and these lessons learnt will be presented at the lecture.

Education Outreach
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 Minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests
Not on Shabbat

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with four tildes. (~~~~).

  1. --MF-Warburg (talk) 22:48, 2 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 19:09, 19 March 2014 (UTC) [reply]
  3. LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 20:23, 1 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  4. FKoudijs (WMF) (talk) 22:33, 7 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  5. SarahStierch (talk) 20:40, 13 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Tflanagan (WMF) (talk) 15:05, 14 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Your name here!