Wikiversity:Pre-tertiary portal

As a result of these discussions, a considerable number of new portals were created, comprehensively covering all levels of education and all major school subjects. See Template:Gateways and Wikiversity:Vision 2009 for more recent action and discussion.

Pre-tertiary portal is the working name for a proposed project to create a prominent portal at Wikiversity for pre-primary, primary and secondary education - i.e. all educational sectors before university (tertiary) level. The working name "pre-tertiary portal" has been chosen so as not to prejudice the final choice of name - it's unlikely we're really going to call it "pre-tertiary portal".

This page serves to coordinate discussion of the new portal. Comment on the ideas below is invited.

Scope of the pre-tertiary portal

  • Pre-school education (i.e. anything from toddlers upwards)
  • Primary / elementary education (typically starting at about ages 5-6)
  • Secondary education (typically finishing between about 16 to 18, depending whether pupils leave school at the earliest legal opportunity or continue to prepare themselves for higher education).
  • Introducing major boundaries within the portal for the above three sectors might not make sense, as the boundaries are fluid. Even the boundary between secondary and tertiary is fluid with the expanding offering of AP classes and dual enrollment among gifted/talented students.

Nomenclature notes:

  1. tertiary = university, but also other post-secondary institutions which may offer more vocational or professional training.
  2. higher education: another term for tertiary education.
  3. "pre-tertiary" therefore means: anything before university or its equivalents.

Purposes of the pre-tertiary portal

  1. The purpose of the pre-tertiary portal is to facilitate student-, teacher-, and parent-directed learning below the university level. As such, it will grow to be an equally effective resource for a self-directed secondary student seeking greater understanding of organic chemistry, a primary school teacher searching for an effective experiment to demonstrate the ideal gas equation, and a homeschooling parent trying to explain to their 5-year-old who Julius Caesar was.
  2. Wikiversity has been criticised for appearing too university-orientated, in name, active membership and structure. The criticism runs that teachers (and pupils) from the primary and secondary education systems feel alienated.
    • Is this criticism justified?
  3. The pre-tertiary sector of the education market is much larger than the tertiary sector. Within the open educational resources movement there is a view that this sector has also been insufficiently catered for.
  4. The psychology of the tertiary and pre-tertiary education audiences differs. One could say that teachers (pre-3ary) aim to make their lives simpler with technology (faster, more effective lesson preparation), while professors (3ary) aim to make their lives more complicated (e.g. through research and innovation). There are other psychological differences, which partly stem from the professional expectations and rules in the respective professional fields. School teachers have fixed workloads and little time for experimentation, but a great need for collaborative assistance from their peers. All this affects what an educational website would have to be like in order to cater for the pre-tertiary sector. It means, among other things, that a single concept may not cater adequately for both tertiary and pre-tertiary. The pre-tertiary portal would allow Wikiversity to expand to embrace at least two fundamentally different educational concepts.
  5. The structure of the pre-tertiary sector is different from the tertiary sector. Institutions at pre-tertiary level are usually divided into departments, each of which usually corresponds to one subject in the school curriculum. The list of permissible departments and subjects is fairly strongly canonized (fixed) and much smaller in range than at tertiary level. At tertiary level, by contrast, we find faculties or schools, which cover many subjects, with flexible, developing and overlapping coverage of fields of knowledge. The proposed pre-tertiary portal would adopt a pre-tertiary structure to help teachers and pupils better orientate themselves.
  6. The methods used by the pre-tertiary sector when it comes to web usage are relatively conservative and predictable (e.g. lesson plans, teaching materials, linkfarms, quizzes, web-mediated inter-school projects, various types of synchronous and asynchronous communication), and are at odds with the current emphasis at Wikiversity on experimental forms of education. The pre-tertiary portal would offer tools, templates and structures orientated towards this different set of ways of learning.

Proposed relation of the portal to Wikiversity

  • The pre-tertiary sector is not to be separated from Wikiversity.
  • Wikiversity is not itself to be renamed or reorientated.
  • The portal would be a very prominent sub-section of Wikiversity.
  • For an analogy or model, see the WikiJunior section at Wikibooks.

Yes, but...


All of the above is fine, but the fact remains that while Wikiversity is for all age groups the edits made by Wikiversity participants is what controls the actual content. "criticised for appearing too university-orientated" <-- this really amounts to either

  1. criticism of the interests of Wikiversity participants and the editing that they have done, or
  2. criticism of of the name "wikiversity".
    For people who do not like the name "wikiversity", it takes about 10 seconds to tell them that Wikiversity is for all ages and it is not a university.

I suppose there are many people who have no idea how a wiki edited by volunteers works, so they start imagining that decisions have been made to bias Wikiversity towards some types/levels of education and away from others. A fundamental principle of Wikimedia Foundation wikis is that they are what the volunteer editors make them. If most Wikiversity editors are interested in college-level learning resources, then that is the aspect of Wikiversity that is going to develop first. Rather than just criticize Wikiversity for the unavoidable fact that its editors have not given equal attention to all areas/levels of education, more people with different interests need to participate and edit if want to see the less developed parts of Wikiversity become better developed. We can certainly try to create a Wikiversity pre-tertiary portal that might make it more likely for pre-tertiary educators to participate, but ultimately, it is going to be up to people with an interest in pre-tertiary education to participate. "Build it and the will come" might be true, but it is also true that they will only come when they get around to it. (Comment by JWSchmidt)

A response to "yes-but"

  • The bandwagon versus the guiding hand in wiki development. I differ very slightly from your position on how a wiki develops, JWS. I think the original Wikipedia was too simple a project for the problem we face here to emerge. The danger with a project which seeks to cater for multiple audiences is that a bandwagon may be set in motion (quite unintentionally, by the operation of unguided editing) which steers the project in a direction which does not cater for all the originally intended audiences. A natural and unintended bandwagon may privilege one audience above others. In such a case, there is a need for a guiding hand to correct the institutionally generated bias - in other words, an artificially created space to assist a naturally subordinated group to get going on editing as well.
  • On "10 seconds": two responses. I think that 10 seconds may be too long. I also think that in the longer run, when a user gets deeper into Wikiversity, they may find that the structures and psychology of how Wikiversity actually works confirm the bias suggested by the name. In other words, the work of 10 seconds is undone by the work of the next 10 minutes or hours. On the other hand, to undermine my own argument, Wikiversity is, of course, still very emergent so all this might change by itself.
  • Ultimately, we agree. "Build it and they (might) come." Let's create it and see what happens. (Comment by McCormack)

I firstly can't see how there can be a problem with creating a sphere within Wikiversity that caters for pre-tertiary level(s) - it's an idea which makes self-evident sense to me. Also, I'm not sure I fully understand how there can be a problem with edits made by Wikiversity participants controlling the content. If it is about a hypothetical page which starts at an ambiguous level, and which is then brought to an advanced level by, say a group of academics who are interested in that page, then I understand the fear, and it is one that we will have to think through as a general strategy for making Wikiversity content in all areas which is accessible to all learner levels. In this, I think that forking of materials is a good idea - materials can fork into simpler or more advanced versions of existing material. However, this then requires people monitoring and/or developing pages to be aware of the level of the material and the discourse around it, in order to make judgements about when forking would be a good idea in order not to alienate people interested in participating at a certain level, but who don't find their needs being addressed by the current state of the material. Does this address JWSchmidt's point? Cormaggio talk 17:29, 19 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

My problem is that my thoughts are jumping ahead to what will actually be on the new portal page. If k-12 educators just want an easy-to-use online catalog of learning resources and Wikiversity does not have a catalog of online k-12 learning resources then it is going to be a fairly useless portal. --JWSchmidt 18:07, 19 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Sounds like it might become a useful portal to teachers seeking to reduce their workload but of little use to learners seeking to increase their learning via the same bandwagon effect McMormack described above. This may or may not be appropriate for the younger crowd .... say early primary school students. I do not think it appropriate for all 5th and above students. I volunteer to help Wikiversity augment learning opportunities, not to make easier for professional teachers, they have professional management and inhouse budgets for that purpose. I agree that material needs to be structured differently for younger students, better organized, present in fun concise chunks etc. To do this we probably need to attract experienced teachers. So the question becomes after attracting pretertiary tearchers with this dedicated portal how do we encourage them to develop effective online learning modules for learners to use at own discretion vs. only materials which make it easier for them to control and manage their physical classroom? Mirwin 19:47, 24 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Should we have a structurally semi-separate pre-tertiary portal?


Discussion is welcome. Or simply write "support".

  • A portal is a door. Portals are to orient readers. (E.g. Somebody who is interested in music may go directly to the music portal instead of the main page. ) One wikiversity (main namespace) can have many doors (wikiversity:naming conventions). The users may collect in the portal, and edit, whatever they want in the main namespace. Then where is the "semi-seperation"? Hillgentleman|Talk
    • Thanks for your comment! Yes - I agree completely. All content within one portal could be shared by others. What we are really talking about here is not any kind of separation, but an additional layer of organisation and a different perceptions and paths for a different audience. The perceptions and the layers of organisation are the critical thing. McCormack 04:29, 19 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
      • Yeah, I think any allusion to "separate" or "semi-separate"-ness are going to be confusing - for me, this portal is about creating a space, which can work within or alongside other spaces. The word I would use here is simply "existent". :-) Cormaggio talk 17:57, 19 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • I think existing portal system is adequate. Merely keep links to external more advanced material limited to bottom or nonexistent forcing learner back to main page if seek something substantialy different. Perhaps we could experiment with a lower age appropriate portal by using some of the educational open source games around to reinforce simple concise lessons. This project, [Self Paced Reading Labs], was intended to help learners with an educational level of junior high school (6-8) or above create typical reading lab materials like that used in U.S. primary schools using archived Wikipedia articles. It might find new life at an appropriate level portal. I have also considered varioations of the project for patcipants at Lunar Boom Town reading online tech papers and summarizing results for entire community. This might be appropriate for high school students and college undergraduates wishing to interact with working professional engineers and scientists. Mirwin 19:58, 24 December 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Alternative structural suggestions


The pre-tertiary portal could (presumably as a more minor portal?) lead off from:

In this case, I think the term "pre-tertiary portal" (or equivalent) is unecessary - portals should be clarified by clear scope (and this is far too unwieldy to be clear). In my opinion, "super-structure" should be kept to a minimum - and then be organised by specific and clear categories and portals within that super-structure. Cormaggio talk 17:57, 19 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Another suggestion: Have a box on the side that says, "See this page in-
  • Elementary
  • Secondary
  • Teritary
  • Et Cetera

that would lead to the same page, but in a format friendly to that level of education. Example: Say you're on the School:Language & Literature page. Then, when you click on "Secondary", you access a page that links to the same courses that the L&L school offers, but at a Secondary-level-friendly level. (If anybody says that nobody would ever use that, I say to them that I most definitely would, and as one of about five non-college students here, I have a right to say that.) -15:52, 19 August 2007 Angelica Klosky

When Wikiversity has multiple pages for a particular subject/topic and those pages only differ in that they are designed for learners of different age levels then it does make sense to have a good network of links connecting those related pages. Beyond that need for linking various main namespace pages, another issue is how to have a system of portal pages (directories of content) that quickly guides people to all the available content (main namespace pages) for a particular age group. We really need both. --JWSchmidt 00:38, 20 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Portals could be based on what we have now. For example, the Portal: Mathematics (Elementary) page would be where all the Elementary level schools and resources for Mathematics would be. -- Angelica Klosky 23:25, 21 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Using a generic link stucture to move between versions of materials forked and tailored to various skill ranges or interests of participants could have another beneficial effect. If my understanding of how google search engine works this would tend to raise the rank of our content pages and deliver greater new participation to our site. It is my suspicion that Wikipedia really took off or hit critical mass once this internal linking started raising their page ranks. Any comments by others more knowledgeable about how Google works are welcome here. This is merely a hypothesis for testing. If restructuring and internal linking does help us in google perhaps that would provide incentive for very active editors to start restructuring some of the content at the larger (by content) or most active schools or portals. 17:04, 28 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

The slippery slope argument against the portal


An argument produced below against the portal argued that if a portal of this nature was introduced, then it would open up the floodgates to further audience-specific portals (e.g. for homeschoolers). The question with all slippery slope arguments is: are they valid? Some slopes are slippery, some aren't. In the case of homeschoolers, their structure (i.e. subjects and age ranges) are the same as K-12, and I think that content overlaps by >90%. The psychology ("make life easier") is also more similar to K-12. I'm not convinced that the slope here is slippery. McCormack 04:18, 20 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I think we should be encouraging portals for specific people like teachers, and I would have no objections to a Homeschooling or LGBT portal - this would simply be a collaborative workspace, and a recognition of Wikiversity's tolerance for developing resources that come from different epistemological and pedagogical backgrounds. However, there is a big question mark over how tolerant the Wikiversity communuity are to differing worldviews on Wikiversity - do we allow material from any philosophical position and label it under Disclosures, or do we draw a line somewhere? This is, however, a larger question than this particular portal, and perhaps belongs on a separate page. I think McCormack is looking to find ways to bring people together, rather than distinguish themselves, which I find a much more compelling activity. :-) Cormaggio talk 15:13, 20 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
The "argument" at #Existing suggestions was an argument against the proposed name "Wikiversity Junior". It was NOT an argument against having a portal for Homeschooling. The "argument" against the name "Wikiversity Junior" leads to the additional, more fundamental idea, that creating a k-12 portal is really only a half-step towards dealing with the existing dominance of a tertiary education structure at Wikiversity. Maybe instead of having a single "pre-tertiary portal" there should be Preschool · Primary Education · Secondary Education · Tertiary Education · Lifelong Learning ... etc. An elementary school teacher might come to Wikiversity in search of resources for speaking, writing, reading, math, English as a second language, science, history, computer, library, physical education, art, and music. A high school teacher might be looking for a much broader range of subjects that could be organized under a department structure that is not used at elementary schools. Someone involved with preschool-age children might not be concerned with reading, but might want basic tools for number and letter recognition. In the United States, it is now very common to have "middle schools" that are distinct from elementary and high schools. The point is, rather than divide Wikiversity into "pre-tertiary" and "tertiary", maybe we should have more "top level" divisions that better reflect the different types of people who will come to Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 15:39, 20 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
OK :) - I stand corrected on the aim of your argument. However... I think it would be difficult to sustain distinctions between pre-primary, primary and secondary. The age ranges differ wildly, and behind this lies the issue that educational systems typically attempt to blur the distinctions in the interests of smooth progression of the child (the middle-school tactic is widespread). But "difficult to sustain" doesn't mean impossible (to argue against myself). McCormack 17:11, 20 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
"Institutions at pre-tertiary level are usually divided into departments" <-- I think this claim applies to secondary education. Some elementary schools have a few department (for example, maybe music, art and physical education departments), but many elementary school teachers in the USA have to teach a set of subjects that are not organized by department. So I am skeptical that it makes sense to try to organize all pre-tertiary learning materials under one system of departments. I do not think having distinct portals for primary and secondary education is a matter of sustaining artificial distinctions. If there are real differences between the way college-level learning resources are organized and the way secondary school learning resources are organized such that we need to have different portals for these two educational levels then I think we also need to ask if the difference between the structures of elementary and secondary education institutions is also large enough to justify distinct portals for elementary and secondary school learning resources. --JWSchmidt 20:24, 20 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Name of the pre-tertiary portal


Please note that namespace issues are discussed under a separate heading below.

Criteria which a name would have to meet

  • Avoid the ambiguities and misunderstanding which abound within terminology in this sector (e.g. one Wikiversity regular thought K-12 meant up to age 12 only).
  • Comprehensively cover all the intended sectors.
  • Be catchy.
  • Not undermine Wikiversity.
  • Not get confused with any other project (such as rival ones or potentially rival ones).
  • Usability for other Wikiversities (de, fr, es, etc)
  • Not to be biased towards a particular educational system (educational systems, terminologies and structures vary widely by country) - or, at least, be open and adaptable to different systems and structures (perhaps through individual portals, or by disambiguating nationally-specific terms).

Existing suggestions


The following suggestions have been made. Please add more suggestions and/or more comments.

  • Wikademy
  • Wikiprep
  • K-12 Portal
    • "K-12" is a US-American expression referring to 13 years of education from age 5 to age 18 (approx.). It may not be understood everywhere internationally, and it suggests a US-American bias.
    • It excludes the pre-K sector.
  • Wikiversity Junior
    If we have to go out of our way create a special "Wikiversity Junior" then that seems to imply that Wikiversity itself is biased and not able to provide pre-college learning resources. Next week, homeschoolers will want to have "Wikiversity Homeschooling" because Wikiversity itself is biased and not able to provide learning resources for homeschooling. Then the next week it will be "Wikiversity LGBT". I think the "Portal:" system is flexible enough to provide access to ALL subsections of Wikiversity content, but maybe we need a new "top level" of portal pages that would include: {{Top Portals}}
    Maybe the current Browse system should only be used by those participants who are interested in tertiary education and there could be other "browse" pages for other groups of participants.
    Response added under "slippery slope argument against..." McCormack 04:20, 20 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
    • The word "Junior" can be transferred into many non-English languages without change, allowing consistent naming across the different Wikiversities.
    • The word Junior sounds like 5-14 years old. My secondary students 15-18 don't think they are junior. And teachers don't recognise Junior as relating to older secondary school students.Jeroencl 17:11, 16 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]
  • Wikischool
    • The domain name is already taken by a domain squatter. Although we wouldn't use a separate domain, teachers might try to access the site using, and get very confused.
    • Outside the US, school usually means pre-tertiary, but in the US, it may refer to what non-Americans call faculties or other units of tertiary education. "School" is unfortunately an ambiguous word.
    • Use of a name without "Wikiversity" might weaken the Wikiversity brand or reduce recognisability.
  • Wikimentary
    • A combination of "wiki" and "elementary".
  • Elementary and Secondary Educators
    • Both "elementary" and "primary" are used for pre-secondary, and might differ geographically or cause confusion (?).
    • Sounds as if it excludes the pre-primary sector.
  • Early Learning
    • "Early learning" refers to pre-primary education (toddlers, ages 1 to 5).
  • Pre-tertiary education
    • Rarely used expression (try Googling); possibly not well understood.
  • Portal:for youths, Portal:for kids, portal:for teenagers, portal:for toddlers...Hillgentleman|Talk 11:06, 19 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • Wikiversity: PreK - 12
    • Even though "PreK-12" is a US-American expression referring to all education up through grade 12, if it is translated to a different language it can be whatever they call it in that country.Harriska2 22:37, 11 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Namespace for the pre-tertiary portal


The namespaces Wikiversity: , Portal: and School: have all been suggested. Comment is invited.

A page in the "Portal:" namespace for "pre-tertiary content" would be a user-friendly page mainly devoted to helping browsers find pre-tertiary learning resources on Wikiversity main namespace pages. One question about such a portal page is not if it should exist but rather, should it use the page format that is used by other major Wikiversity portal pages such as Portal:Science? There could also be a School of Pre-tertiary Education that would function as a content development project for the entire area of pre-tertiary learning materials at Wikiversity. However, pre-tertiary education is a very broad area and it is not clear that Wikiversity could find or establish a set of unifying principles for content development that would set a School of Pre-tertiary Education apart from other Wikiversity content development projects. A Pre-tertiary Education Portal page could have a section for content development and simply link to more focused content development projects such as School:Early Learning.

I think part of the problem you're grappling with here, JWS, is the same one as faced in the past by many educational systems when it comes to finding appropriate institutional structures for teacher training. For example, does one integrate teacher training with a normal university (in which case it gets spread out among the various faculties), or does one set up a separate college? One answer is that if the institutions are all located within one geographical campus, courses can be shared between departments and other institutions anyway, so the end result is much the same. As a virtual university, Wikiversity can, of course, go for multiple structures, overlaps and redundancy. Responding to some of your other points, I'll refer back to our subsequent IRC chat: the look-and-feel of the portal would cater for the idiosyncracies of its audience rather then conform to other portals. McCormack 04:45, 19 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Strictly on namespaces - the Wikiversity namespace is most appropriate to developing Wikiversity - through policies, taskforces etc. A portal is a user-friendly place for people to find resources, activities etc easily - I think it's more appropriate for this kind of initative. It seems to me that School and Topic-type pages can be used to organise resources for teaches who want to learn or share experiences about primary teaching. Then, of course, Categories can be used to flag resources not just by theme, but also by the context in which they are appropriate (level, country-specific curriculum etc). All these things can work together but I feel this is best as a portal. On a pre-tertiary portal being "very broad" and hence unwieldy, I agree - and think we need to have portals and/or categories for specific educational systems, broken down by stage, curriculum, learner level etc as appropriate. Cormaggio talk 17:14, 19 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A problem I see which perhaps needs solving here... The pre-tertiary portal would be structured into "departments" corresponding to school subjects, rather like a typical school. Where would these be located, in terms of namespace? For example, where would the "History Department" go, as an immediate child of the pre-tertiary portal? McCormack 17:21, 19 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

It's a good question - and I wonder if you were thinking of a namespace analogous to WikiJunior in Wikibooks?. I would think that if we have specific portals, then their departments could be subpages, eg Portal:Pre-Tertiary/History. Then I think that specific resources should be given specific names, eg History for GCSE or History for fifth grade, which would be broken into subpages on different aspects of history taken at that level. However, I just wonder if we should not be tackling this question throughout the namespaces - ie whether we should be allowing people to go into a subject like History and find materials by aspect of history and learner level, like how the French Wikiversity seems to organise their subject departments. Or should we be doing both these things? How to coordinate them best? Cormaggio talk 18:20, 19 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I think you're right that a core structure with a dual category division (subject/level) is appropriate for pre-tertiary education. I think it's not difficult to coordinate these technically, but what is best in terms of policy (e.g. namespace). I tend to agree with Wilimut that making core structural changes later is difficult. Even if "everything is editable", some things are difficult and some things are a pain - better to get it right first time round. McCormack 04:27, 20 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Indeed. I'm going to address the structuring system in another section below. Cormaggio talk 14:48, 20 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Please keep it simple. I had enough problems finding this place for elementary curriculum. Something like Wikiversity: PreK-12 (or whatever expression for different languages). If you want to attract teachers, then you have to use the correct common lingo: PreK-12. Although that is US centric it is what a US teacher would use. I'm finishing up ed school and can honestly attest that the term pre-tertiary is simply NOT used.Harriska2 22:43, 11 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Structure of information and activity in Wikiversity


I think the basic question we must ask is: what are we trying to achieve here? I think all these efforts are to enable people to find resources, and then to organise activity, ie motivate people to contribute, participate etc. - but with the emphasis in this case on finding resources. I wholeheartedly agree with making the best, simplest, and most intuitive structure possible. To this end, I think we should be adapting some of the work that Commons have done in categorising their pages by subject and file-type - this system could be extended to include learner level and curriculum compatibility. This could all be done by categories, as in Commons, and if it is done well, it could be integrated with our browse section, preferably on the front page. This structure could then be replicated throughout each subject field - where someone interested in History could be taken to a portal page which details breakdowns of history-related content by aspects of history, resource types, learner level, curriculum compatibility etc. With a good category system in place (starting from Category:Content), combined with comprehensive and user-friendly subject portals, the question about something like this proposed portal then arises: what is it trying to achieve? Perhaps, with the finding of resources facilitated by something like the above structure, this kind of portal could play a role more in the organising of activity, ie motivating people to add content, give and get feedback, add teaching tips and lesson plans, share experiences, and create shared workspaces - almost like a community portal focused on specific people, which was my intention for something like Portal:Teachers. Cormaggio talk 14:48, 20 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I looked at your link Category:Content. It doesn't seem very categorized. I like your idea of learner level. Not sure what curriculum compatibility is. Can you give specific examples? Harriska2 20:51, 4 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Home vs. School Education


Hi, I'm new here but I happened upon the School:Mathematics/Primary School Mathematics course. As I began work on it and was pointed to this discussion. I thought I'd offer a few of my perceptions to the mix.

Certainly, the minute you get into the high school grades and possibly some of the middle grades for many subjects, there will be a number of motivated learners who will be able to parse the informantion and learn that material themselves. But I can't see much if any audience at the primary levels to learn math. At this level, I think the focus should be on educators, parents of students at school, and home educators. The problem is that the focus of these two types of "courses" (high/middle vs. primary) are entirely different, and as such probably belong in different schools. More specifically, I think there is a need for a separate(d) portal for education. However, because it is fairly common for many core subjects to be taught by non-specialists up until about the 5th and sometimes the 6th grade, it follows that courses of a pedegogical bent could be appreciated and used by more than just professional educators, so the portal to it needs to be named in such a way that it draws more than just educators.

Case in point is the course I am working on here. A quick look at the Overview should give you an idea of how I am approaching the course. While I am attempting to avoid any alignment with specific published curriculum, I have to admit that I am not setting up the course with the old school drill and kill mind set. Rather, I am aligning the course to be in step with current research that addresses the the way students learn, the learning environment, and the various techniques that are to be found in classrooms that drawn on this cutting edge this research. There are many hurdles that I will need to negotiate to accomplish this. Reconciling students' forward progress with differentiate learning styles is an example of the one of the more complicated and even controversial of these hurdles. Putting this in language that is accessible to a broad audience is my goal. My approach has to write primarily with homeschoolers in mind, as I think this groups interests lie somewhere between (non-specialized) professional educators and parents who want to understand what their kids are learning.

My inclination is to suggest some kind of Education departmentportal, where at the upper levels content is more focused on specialized educators (because that's what they are at that level), but include a Primary Education School - designed for parents, non-specialized teachers, and homeschoolers, which broadly addresses the needs and concerns of the various disciplines at those grade levels. I could see, for instance, a collection of cross-curricular activities in an area within the school that links to the various subjects that may be involved. Leightwing 14:10, 29 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Leightwing: I think everyone is in basic agreement along the lines you outlined, above. Rather than continue to wring hands over the best name for the portal(s), I think it is time to just start creating some portals that will serve as directories for the non-college-level learning resources of Wikiversity. If we use this format for a new portal, there will be a prominent place to list related content development projects. As a start, I'm ready to help set up the portal that you want for the Primary School Mathematics" resources. If you like, you can select your favorite name for such a portal and I'll start it.

Keeping resources open and interconnected


As I read through this whole page, I kept thinking of the same thing: We need ways to ensure that all the pages and learning resources involved in this project are connected to relevant pages. Here's my suggestions:

  • We use the aforementioned navigation box (see "alternative structure suggestions" above) that offers you versions of the page you're looking at aimed at different ages. I see this tool as being used for schools, departments, and portals mainly.
  • Each learning resource could include a box that says "Wikiversity has related learning resources on the following subjects:" For example, if you are looking at a basic American History course for 4th graders, the box would then list available resources that are related: Native American history and culture, Labor history in America, the Civil Rights moevement, ect. all geared towards that age group.
  • The learning resources could also have a navigation box saying "Is this page above/below you or your students' level? Wikiversity has similar resources at the tertiary and elementary levels" or similar.
  • We should try to keep the boundaries between subjects fluid to a certain extent. For example, an Ornithology resource could breifly cover physics topics as it seeks to explain flight. It could cover acoustics as it explains how birds sing. At the end of a segment like this where the resources has moved awya from its main topic a little, it could link to a page that would explain in greater detail or talk about another related subject (for example, after explaining how birds sing, the Ornithology resource could link to a guide to an acoustics experiment).
  • We should try to provide learning resources that can be used by individuals to teach themselves, by educators to teach classes, and by homeschoolers or parents, with only minimal modifications. Remembering that different students have different learning styles, we should try to include directions for activities that will involve all the learning styles- audial, visual, kinesthetic, tactile. We should guide educators towards videos, books, and other related media that will enhance their students' learning experiences.

Anyway, that's my two cents. --Luai lashire 18:01, 2 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

There are three main tools that are routinely used to link related wiki pages: portals (directory pages), categories (use categories like "tags") and "navigation boxes". These are all discussed at Intermediate Wikiversity. In my view, you are not doing a good job of linking related wiki pages unless you make use of all three of these methods. A fourth method often goes without mention because it is part of all good webpage design: embedding a rich collection conventional hypertext links within the wiki pages. This page is about trying to figure out how to name some major portal pages that will serve as directories for non-college-level content. --JWSchmidt 18:35, 2 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not sure things should be interconnected. What happens if someone wants to create curriculum that is traditional, and also create worksheets, videos, and activities that adhere to a methodology (ie Direct Instruction)? Harriska2 17:10, 1 February 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Educational resources