Talk:Wikis for children
 Disposable Encyclopedia
- the initial idea is here.
I agree with Astirmays comments, and hopefully I've tingled some little bug on the idea :)
Maybe the term disposable is not one that best describes or embodies the objectives, but it does call attention to the fact that for each child, in some personal way, the knowledge of previous generations just doesn't exist, and that it's upto him/her to build it. In some way, for every child, knowledge is a green field to build upon. And what better place to build that knowledge but a personal wikipedia-like repository that can be co-edited with other children doing exactly the same thing?
When we are learning about math, we start with a very small piece of all possible math subjects. For starters, we only know about the natual numbers and addition. All our math is based on those two simple (and limited) concepts. We don't learn about subtraction, and when we do, we always do it so that (a - b) > 0 (given that we ignore the existence of negative numbers). At each stage in the learning process we tend to think in absolutes (there is no number such that 5 + x = 3, or more advanced there must be something wrong because x2 = -1 doesn't exist!, etc). And yes, we are lied about math throughout our school years... or rather, there have been omitions... helpful ones that allow us to discover 'better' or more 'complete' truths.
So although the articles cited above in Wikipedia embody a 'greater' truth about maths, it doesn't serve the needs of a child trying to achieve knowledge and understanding on the subject—and every child will need to repeat that learning process.
I haven't really thought out the transition out of this discardable encyclopedia and into the realm of real encyclopedias, but don't see it too different from the way that children outgrow their school textbooks and start doing library research.
Just a final comment, it's not about 'cleaning up' any particular encyclopedia of 'unwanted content'. The idea is to have in a particular school (say grades 1st-9th) you actually have nine editions running in parallel—each grade will have their own. And each started from 'scratch'. In the end, the encyclopedia will also be something like the yearbook as there will be probably many sections not necessarily dedicated to academic subjects, but also to the social and other activites within the school or community (even the school newspaper could be used to edit in this format!) --Xavi 14:15, 4 February 2007 (EST)
- it's not about 'cleaning up' any particular encyclopedia of 'unwanted content' that's exactly what we came to say : you need a totally new written article for children. Then we thought that them being able to write in it would be great, and have a stong educationnal interest, and then the other points are still closed to wikipedia (rules, aim...)
- We think that it's good for children to be able to write in this encyclopedia, but it still has the aim to be a real encyclopedia, not only a place for writing exercices. (Two goals in the same time) by the way, it could help for the motivation to know that your work will stay, be used and bettered... So we want to grow and better it, but we don't plan to restart it several times !
- But why not, I agree that you can make severals things with a wiki : work inside a single school for example.
- Our policy on Vikidia is not to divide it by grades. About the age, we thought that it doesn't matter if 8 years old are quite differents to 13 years old. An encyclopedia is not a school programm, you don't HAVE to read it all. Sometimes it can be usefull to have a overview of things that you are not supposed to study right now. It can help a few years later when you will study it seriously. It's interesting as well that if you are specialy interested in one particular subject, that you can read or even write about it even if it doesn't make part of your grade programm. There is some early teenager making good work on WP, it's a good thing that it isn't forbitten for them to do so ! By the way, announced age for whom Vikidia is (8 - 13) is the Readers target. 14, 15 years old can still edit it and learn by this writing work. (Not to say student in the language as a foreign language !) Astirmays 15:36, 4 February 2007 (EST)
- I think that the effort of Vikidia is totally compatible with the idea, after all 'sources' must exist so that children can explore a subject in a language they feel comfortable with—pedagogically speaking. Also agree that an encyclopedia is not curricula.
- What I don't 'like' about encyclopedias, is that they (usually) exist 'outside' the child's capabilities to make a difference. After a couple year's worth of iterations the text will have outgrown most of them—particularly if the 'best' articles are chosen—and they'll become a passive repository for other people's writings...
- For an external observer, education can be seen as a mechanical process that repeats itself year after year (only the faces at each desk change); but for a child, it's a process of personal discovery... That's the main motivation behind the 'from zero' concept. Their articles will always be at their level of understanding. They can read others words but they'll build their own. And this has to happen every year, in every school, in every grade... --Xavi 08:11, 5 February 2007 (EST)
- I understand what you say, that's a real issue if such an encyclopedia would turn into a passive repository of knowledge. An encyclopedia is not curricula. ; thank you for the word curriculla (or curriculum) which is better than school program. That's true that new children have ever again to learn what others have learned before.
- Nevertheless they can't start from nothing. I beleive that they would more easily work on a wiki which allready has sufficient content than on a really empty one. While discussing the Vikidia project, someone suggested that the only fact to know that you can correct or add to it when you are reading an article, make a big difference in how you read it. I also beleive that children can be quite tolerant in reading things that they don't fully understand at first. (Which doesn't mean that it's useless to have subjects written for them). Of course basic or core article would rather be made first (but would not all be made, and first articles are just partly core article), but one (including children) can still make few correction to them, make some links etc... And they can work from the beginning on special articles as one on their town, on the breed of their dog, on Greenland if they are interested in it... The question might be if one need to write on everything he learns or on some things, and just read about most subject. I would notice as well that even on the biggest wikipédia (in english) every one (or nearly) can still find things to correct and add. I don't know how it will be in 10 years, but while beginning, we might be far from the problem that it would be "finished" ! I agree anyway that it could be a great experience as well to see a wiki growing by your work and the one of children of the same age/grade. Astirmays 15:36, 6 February 2007 (EST)