The IT@School programme is readying to launch ‘School Wiki’—modelled on the Wikipedia—as part of its attempt to foster the culture of collaborative learning in Kerala’s schools.

From November 1 schools can register at ‘www.schoolwiki.in’ and enter a variety of details including their location, number of students, facilities, academic achievements, clubs, school magazines, details of alumni and an unlimited number of photographs, videos and even Google maps. School wiki—which would be in Malayalam—would be ready for launch on January 1, 2010. This, however, would be just the first part of this new venture.

As School Wiki matures, the IT@School expects students to start posting learning resources including the findings of school projects. “School Wiki can be used by students, teachers, alumni and by the public at large as a repository of resources. We would have ‘corners’ for each subject,” the executive director of the IT@School programme Anvar Sadath told The Hindu. The importance of fostering the culture of collaborative learning was repeatedly pointed out by free-software guru Richard Stallman when he last visited Kerala, Mr. Sadath said.

Given the Wikipedia-like nature of this portal, resources can also be hyperlinked to words in the page giving details of the school. If, for example, a school is located in a historically important place, the history of that place can be hyperlinked to the place name. Thus a short description of a school can actually end up generating a large body of information about that locality and related personalities.

School wiki would give special focus on generating a body of knowledge relating to the study of Malayalam. Students of class eight, nine and ten would be encouraged to take up projects such as ‘Pradeshika pathram’, ‘Nadodi Vignana Kosham’ and ‘Ente Naadu’ under the guidance of Malayalam language teachers. The ‘IT Corner’ of School Wiki would be reserved for ICT-based learning resources that may be developed by teachers, student groups, alumni or by any other person for use in schools.

As with the Wikipedia the contents of School wiki can also be freely edited and updated by anyone. ‘Though we do not want to give any ‘official’ stamp to this venture, the IT@School would constantly monitor what is being posted or corrected so that nothing objectionable or defamatory finds its way inside School Wiki,” Mr. Sadath pointed out.

All IT coordinators in schools would be given special training in November so that School Wiki is ready for launch in 2010. By January 26 that year, the IT@School plans to launch websites—in English and in Malayalam—for all government schools in the State.