Empowering geography students to make a world of difference on Wikipedia

By on March 29, 2016

Empowering geography students to make a world of difference on Wikipedia

By on March 29, 2016

Empowering geography students to make a world of difference on Wikipedia

Wiki Education Foundation staff members will be attending the American Association of Geographers’ annual meeting this week in San Francisco. We’ll share ways for geography students to connect their learning about the world, with the world.

The Wikipedia Year of Science asks scientists to bring knowledge to the public. Students are researching and writing about geography already. When geography instructors assign students to write Wikipedia articles about course-related topics, it’s a chance to influence public scholarship from the classroom. Writing for Wikipedia is a great chance for geography students to improve their media literacy and writing skills. They also contribute meaningful geography content to the world’s most-visited source of knowledge.

Geographers work to understand relationships between the earth and its people, regions, and cultures. That includes many of the topics that are missing or underrepresented on Wikipedia.

For example, let’s look at Dr. Sara Koopman’s Postcolonial Geography students at York University. This term, they’ve already improved the article on disappeared indigenous women. They’ve added information about the lasting effects of the Canadian Indian residential school system. 45,000 readers have visited those articles since students began working on them. It’s timely. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced his commitment to investigate these missing indigenous women. The reach of these articles should grow as people seek context from a neutral source.

Students have improved Wikipedia by writing about their hometowns. They’ve added demographic and census data, and added graphics about land formations. Students can contribute to articles ranging from physical, regional, and human geography, to spatial analysis, cartography, and geographic information systems.

We look forward to brainstorming high-impact geography assignments at our exhibit booth this week!

Exhibit Hall Details

  • Location:
    • Hilton San Francisco Union Square
    • Booth 117
  • Hours of availability:
    • Wednesday, March 30th, 11:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
    • Thursday, March 31st, 11:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
    • Friday, April 1, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

We hope to see you there!

Photo: Mappemonde par A. Vuillemin publiée par Combette éditeur by Alexandre Aimé Vuillemin – This file was provided to Wikimedia Commons by the Bibliothèque municipale de Toulouse as part of a cooperation project with Wikimédia France. Public Domain. 

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