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Andrew Cates

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About Andrew Cates

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    Cambridge, UK
  1. Schools Wikipedia

    You are right that there is no seperate academic review. The volunteers (who were mainly students or staff at Cambridge University) did two things: they marked passages for deletion where they were vandalised or obviously biased or obviously adult in nature and they choose which version in the article version history should be used as a base for the Schools Wikipedia. The review of Wikipedia by Nature a couple of years ago (which said Wikipedia had a lower error rate than Britannica) found that in almost all cases there were previous versions of the article without the errors, so looking through for the best version by the most credible editor was considered worthwhile. In general on Wikipedia itself main stream articles like WW1 attract a considerable debate and I am not sure that any account can be free of "biased attitude". As John has said, Wikipedia being facts based is a disadvantage in history. However I have just looked back through WW1[/] and cannot see anything obviously wrong with it. There was a lot of debate on some elements of it but it is hard to avoid that.
  2. Schools Wikipedia

    John/ Norman, First may I say I understand fully that the Wikipedia for Schools is nothing like as good as a resource written for the classroom by teachers, like Spartacus, and never could be. We do offer a few lesson plans around geographical topics (they are downloadable here) which are written by teachers who kindly offer their time to us as volunteers. But the prospect of writing 20 volumes like that is another issue altogether. Second, on the selection, the Schools Wikipedia was put together as a collection substantially by volunteers (a few retired teachers, some people working for UCLES which is nearby and some students at the university) . They were given a process to pick the best available version of an article on the English Wikipedia and then edit it by deletion only. We did not get into the much harder task of creating and rewriting content. Some of it like the Somme has a reading age of 16+. However there are some "elementary articles" and at our request Wikipedia themselves created some portal pages on topics coinciding with curriculum topics such as Early Modern Britain and so on. These pages now exist on the main wikipedia site too. We are planning on a "tour bus", running through a series of articles on a topic. Much of the material though is more fodder for project work for older children. All in all though I take comfort from John's comments: if this is free and can be put on a school intranet for children why not? If it just helps a percentage of children who are more self-educated that's already a win and we don't aspire to more than being helpful. Andrew
  3. Schools Wikipedia Science

    Sorry to post this about a resource I developed but I would really like feedback on the Schools Wikipedia (which is checked content from Wikipedia from our UK Children's charity). I am a mathematician not a scientist but the science section here is huge and can be freely copied (the whole 20 million word encyclopaedia can be put on a school intranet for free). Any comments on what we should be doing to improve it? Thanks Andrew Cates
  4. Schools Wikipedia

    I am hesitating a bit because I don't want to post lots of links on a forum I don't contribute much to a website I have been involved in developing but I am going to post this to two topics. We (SOS Children) have spent a lot of time trying to develop a checked schools Wikipedia selection sorted by curriculum subject (so History is here). The resource is huge (more than a million words and thousands of pictures just on the topic of History). Is this a useful resource? If not what should we do with it to make it better? Thanks Andrew Cates
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