The Education Expedition is a project to help educators use Wikitravel as a teaching tool.
Creating Wikitravel content can be an extremely useful and satisfying project for students -- both adults and teens. Contributing to Wikitravel exercises students' language and writing skills, photography and illustration, knowledge of history, geography, and business, as well as less traditional skills like collaboration and community development. Students also get the satisfaction of knowing that their work will be a real reference for others for years to come.
From Wikitravel's perspective, we benefit from the work and local knowledge that students can provide. In addition, some students may catch the wiki bug and continue to contribute after their assignment is complete. Finally, students of English as a foreign language can provide valuable translation services between language versions.
- Create best practices for educators
- Create community guidance for interacting with classes and groups of students
Best practices for educators
These are some proposed ideas for educators; maybe they can be incorporated into a Wikitravel:Welcome, teachers and/or Wikitravel:Welcome, students.
- Have definite tasks
- Plan ahead
- Introduce the site in the classroom or with guided navigation
- Have all students sign in as users, so you can track their contributions
- Have students organized in a group in some way (How can we do this? A Group: namespace?)
- Describe your lesson plan on the site (How and where?); any instructions you have for your students can stay on the site
- Have users describe themselves on their user page
- Concentrate on stuff we need for Wikitravel (see Wikitravel:Help wanted)
- Factor communication, collaboration and community into your lesson plan
- Use page history to grade user contributions; don't expect pages to stay untouched while you're grading!
Some things we may want to do to help out students:
- Treat students and teachers with the same respect we'd give to any new contributors
- Encourage students and teachers to use best practices; point them to the appropriate pages
- Highlight good ideas for class projects (How? Where?)
- Create spaces for teacher/student interaction (How? Where?)
For English as a Second/Foreign Language Learners and Teachers
Wikitravel can provide students with the opportunity to write about their hometowns and the attractions. Local input is always wanted. However, there are a number of caveats to keep in mind:
- Wikitravel is not a place to get free English editing advice.
- All students (as well as the teacher) should create a user page so that they have their own space. However, do not use the user page as a personal web page
- Ideally, if Wikitravel is used in ESL classes, a native speaker (or a fluent non-native) teacher should take responsibility to make sure that the student created pages adhere to the Wikitravel guidelines and the style manual and follow community guidelines
- Because editing takes place quickly (sometimes within minutes!) it may be better if students can first create their contributions off of the main pages, utilizing talk pages or their user page as places to create their drafts
- Have your class/students look at other pages to get an idea of what depth of information is considered appropriate. Consider printing up an example so that students can refer to it while they are using their computers
- If you ask students to work outside of class, put the pages that they are working on your watchlist
- Oftentimes, student computer skills, especially when working in a non-native language, may not be what you expect, so printing out the wiki markup page and stepping students through it may be required
- Be on the lookout for students utilizing copyrighted works
- Do not use Wikitravel as a project that starts from zero with each new term. While it is possible to simply delete a page and start over, the principle of Wikitravel is that it is the culmulative collection of information
- The goal is for each section of an article to have 5-10 entries, so don't overload sections with entries
- Get the students to put themselves in the place of a traveller. What information would a traveller like to know?
- If the idea of creating an article from scratch is too daunting, or if something is already there, consider these suggestions to help Wikitravel