RECENTLY LAUNCHED EDUWIKI AIMS TO MEET FAMILY NEEDS

Computing

Shaugn Vorster launched the EduWiki two weeks ago and is proud to say that it has already doubled in size, saying, "the interesting part is tracking how quickly it grows".

Beyond being merely an educational wiki, the site aims at having a wide range of information relevant for the South African family. Vorster aims to fulfill various community needs. As he explained, the modern family does not have the extended family and community framework of old. He hopes to plug this gap through providing community level information such as where to find local schools, health facilities and sports clubs, along with additional information on nutrition and fitness for the family.

Unlike something such as Wikipedia, EduWiki will have information that is relevant to and aimed at the various age groups. Early primary school level children, for example, would not need to know the Latin name, genus and sub species when looking up on elephants. Entries would contain more and more detailed information as the targeted age level increases

Vorster wants the project to develop by itself. "I don't want to be dictatorial," said Vorster. He added that he was not aware of any other similar projects happening in other parts of the world. While there are sites like Wikipedia, the aim was to give EduWiki a distinctly African and South African angle.

Vorster first began looking into the feasibility of the project in August last year. Before being launched in its current format, Vorster experimented with an HTML version of EduWiki which lacked interactivity. After discovering DokuWiki, Vorster felt he had what he needed to carry out his plans. "It's exciting. It's open source!"

Now that the infrastructure is up, the focus is on building content. Vorster invites anyone to contribute information and articles on topics about which they are knowledgeable. Contributions must not be too technical and contributors must bare in mind the age for which they are writing. Currently he is looking to set up a translation mechanism that will translate English entries into Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa.

The site is funded by a separate for profit company, Edusource, which should generate funds through advertising on the site. As a fledgling project, there are many areas of for potential growth and Vorster is open to any and all ideas from people wishing to become involved and from potential partners.

Tectonic