Wikipedia for Schools
Type of site
|Created by||SOS Children|
Wikipedia for Schools is a selection of articles from Wikipedia produced by international children's charity SOS Children and most recently updated in 2013. It was originally produced as a learning resource for schools in countries where internet access is limited, though it has also enjoyed significant success in the developed world. While previous version have been released onto CD and then DVD, the current version is available online as well as by download and on USB memory stick. When the first version was released in April 2006, it was the only version of Wikipedia available offline on CD.
The 2013 edition of Wikipedia for Schools contains 6,000 articles comprising 26 million words, as well as 50,000 images. Taking the UK National Curriculum as its starting point, articles are organised by school subject, from Art and Citizenship, to Geography and Mathematics. All pages were selected from the English Wikipedia by staff and volunteers at SOS Children, before being checked to ensure suitability for children, and any inappropriate content removed before release. This additional step was designed to remove a key problem with Wikipedia as perceived by many teachers and parents.
When Wikipedia for Schools was first released in April 2006, copies were distributed on CD. Distribution was largely carried out by SOS Children with the help of its umbrella organisation, SOS Children's Villages international. However, in South Africa and India, SOS Children benefited from the help of partners such as the Shuttleworth Foundation and the Hole in the Wall. The 2013 version of Wikipedia for Schools was released onto USB memory stick, to accommodate the increased size of the new edition, as well as to improve durability and portability.
Wikipedia for Schools can also be accessed at http://schools-wikipedia.org. This online version gets around 7,000 unique IP visitors a day rising to over 20,000 in the run up to new editions. A Plucker database version of the 2007 can be carried on SD card for Palm Pilot.
History of the project
Because this distribution was not initially an official Wikimedia project, some changes had to be made for legal reasons.
SOS Children did not have permission to use the Wikipedia puzzle-globe logo in the 2006 version. However, when the Wikimedia Foundation endorsed the project roughly one year later, the puzzle-globe was adopted for the 2007 edition as well as the 2008/9 release.
The 2013 version uses a new logo designed by SOS Children, which can be seen above.
Wikipedia content remains substantially the same, although material deemed unsuitable for school-age children during checking is removed. This includes strong language and sexual references which are not justified by the context. Though editing may seem conservative to some users, SOS Children attempts to bear in mind the various cultural settings in which Wikipedia for Schools is intended for use. As far as is reasonable in an educational resource, Wikipedia for Schools endeavours to accommodate all of these preferences.