A challenging but successful year for Wikimedia in education

Wikimedia+Education Conference 2019 group photo

2020 was a year unlike any other we’ve seen. Our big plans had to shift. Students around the world started learning from home. Our meetups, conferences and other in person events were canceled. However, through all of these challenges our community made a huge impact in education. Not only that, but we continued to support each other and the goals of the Wikimedia movement.  Here are just a few of the many things that our team and this community did over the last year: 

We worked together to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Education 

We joined the Global Coalition for COVID-19 Education Response 

In March, the Wikimedia Foundation joined the Global Coalition for the COVID-19 Response in Education. The Global Education Coalition launched by UNESCO is a platform for collaboration and exchange to protect the right to education during this unprecedented disruption and beyond. It brings together more than 140 members from the UN family, civil society, academia, and the private sector to ensure that #LearningNeverStops. 

We gave a spotlight to how the community was supporting teachers and learners

During the early months of the pandemic, we asked the community to share how they have adapted to the new normal, we collected the data of initiatives they took as a part of the new normal and going virtual. Here is a map of some of the activities we highlighted then.

Community activities for outreach during COVID pandemic ( Data captured until 3rd April 2020) CC-BY-SA 4.0, Vasanthi Hargyono

We launched “EduWiki Challenges” and published “Lesson plans for remote learning” 

Between March-May we launched a set of prompts to encourage teachers, students, and parents to incorporate Wikimedia projects into their remote learning strategies. This was part of our support to the Global Coalition for the COVID-19 Response in Education. We presented these in the form of #EduWiki challenges, a series of lesson plans, and a booklet introducing Wikipedia as aligned with UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy framework (later expanded in the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom pilot). The #EduWiki challenges were translated and localized in different languages and disseminated via social media. Wikimedia México launched its own set of challenges as well! The lessons plans have been included in the educational resources part of Colombia’s initiative “Computadores para Educar” thanks to an agreement achieved by the Partnerships team.  

We launched two new projects 

We launched Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom

Early this year we launched the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom program to support secondary school teachers to develop Media and Information Literacy skills through the use of Wikipedia as a pedagogical tool. We hired 6 local coordinators in Bolivia, Morocco and the Philippines, and engaged in a thought partnership with the corresponding Wikimedia affiliates. We completed a needs assessment research in the 3 countries through an analysis of the national curriculum, relevant educational policies, and a set of surveys and semi-structured interviews with local teachers. The team wrote, designed and translated a teacher training guide in 4 languages with localization support from the local coordinators. We are training 100+ teachers in each of Morocco and Bolivia and 700+ in the Philippines. The first pilot of the program will conclude in December and we are very excited to share the experience and resources developed with our larger community in the next months!  

We launched a consultation on digitizing curricula data on Wikidata

We launched a consultation with key influencers on how Wikidata can be used for curriculum digitization. A three-round consultation with Wikidata volunteers, Wikimedia affiliates staff, Wikimedia Foundation staff, UNESCO, and members from other allied organizations. This initiative will test a proof of concept for structuring curricular data on Wikidata in order to make that information more widely accessible and to support the alignment of curriculums with the content on the Wiki projects

We got to work with some amazing people 

Our Education Fellows

This year our team was privileged to work with two talented students from the George Washington University’s International Education Program, Priyal Gala and Meng Zhou. Their support to the team proved essential in allowing us to quickly respond to the COVID-19 crisis in education. They helped us implement our strategy and create and translate #EduWiki challenges and lesson plans. In June, they completed their fellowship having made a significant contribution to Wikimedia in Education. 

Praise for our amazing local coordinators 

This year, as part of the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom project we got to work with 7 amazing Wikimedians from Bolivia, Morocco and the Philippines. Olga, Noemi, Erlan, Soukain, Brahim, Imelda and Vanj have worked alongside us in one of the most challenging years on the record. Each of them shared their ideas and insights, and contributed to every aspect of this program. A big thank you to each and every one of them! 

We supported the community in their local efforts 

We wrapped up the Wikimedia and Education Greenhouse 

In May, we concluded the online course component of the Wikimedia and Education Greenhouse. Volunteers from all over the world joined this online course to develop their knowledge and skills to plan, develop and evaluate Wikimedia education initiatives. The graduates finished the course by presenting project proposals for Wikimedia education initiatives. In July, we celebrated the completion of the online course through a Virtual Graduation Ceremony attended by participants and graduates from the Greenhouse and staff from the Wikimedia Foundation! Additionally, we have made all the course content available on Wikiversity.

We learned how we can help the community understand their impact

In May this year, the Education Team published a report about Wikimedia Education Affiliates’ practices on data collection and evaluation. We interviewed 7 Wikimedia affiliates who have been actively incorporating Wikimedia projects into their education activities. At the end of the report, we recommended three main action items to support the community’s evaluation effort based on the evidence collected. We concluded that we must support the community to build up experience and capacity in diverse data collection methods to better demonstrate Wikimedia’s impact on education. 

We initiated a collaborative project: EduWiki Outreach Collaborators

During the month of June, we launched EduWiki Outreach Collaborators (EWOC), an initiative to collaborate with the emerging leaders from the Wikimedia education community to use their expertise in communications and Outreach wiki work, while providing them professional experience from the expertise of the education team. We were joined by 18 Wikimedia volunteers from various parts of the world, with expertise in working with different communities, projects. EWOC members have collaboratively published 4 Education newsletters, created a bi-monthly newsletter article “Education Story bytes”. Along with that we are working with the members group to create awareness on the existing spaces and how they can be used by the community.

Our ongoing support to the community

We continued providing community collaboration spaces for education volunteers by hosting 11 office hours (as of now!), which was attended by 71 participants, continued collaborating with the Wikimedia affiliates in Education affiliates meeting which was attended by 95 members from Wikimedia affiliates, this space provided affiliates to share their work with others and encouraged cross affiliate collaboration. Along with that, we provided 17 1:1 consultations to education volunteers.

We built a stronger profile for education within the Foundation 

We began collaborating on “Emerging Education” research in partnership with Inuka and the design research team

In June of this year, the Education Team and the Inuka team’s at the Wikimedia Foundation began collaborating on a design research project aimed at better understanding what kinds of product innovations can support teachers and learners in emerging economies. The research is currently underway. 

We got education work represented on the Foundation’s website

In 2020 we accomplished something seemingly small, but that will have a lasting impact on creating visibility for the work of the EduWiki community–we got Wikimedia in Education featured on the Wikimedia Foundation website! You can see the community’s work highlighted here: https://wikimediafoundation.org/our-work/education/

We raised awareness of the value of Wikipedia and Wikidata in education 

We participated in the World Scout’s largest worldwide event 

In April this year, World’s Scouts organization invited the Wikimedia Education team to take part in their special edition of Jamboree event to discuss Wikimedia’s role in creating a digital citizen. We did one live session on “Who’s behind Wikipedia?” to explain the structure of Wikipedia and the roles of volunteers. Along with that, we did two sessions on accessing information from Wikipedia during COVID times and #EduWiki challenges. Later in October, we joined the Jota-Joti event and participated in an interview, and placed a Wikipedia challenge in their challenge valley, which was completed by 1000+ participants.

We hosted the first ever “Wikidata Education Week” 

As Wikidata celebrated its 8th anniversary this year as a Wikimedia project, we used the opportunity to host the first “Wikidata Education Week”. The event was aimed to create awareness on the educational value of Wikidata, and share community stories on how they are using Wikidata in education. During the week of 26th October-30th October, we did live interviews with 9 Wikimedians/Wikimedia affiliates staff from 8 different countries for them to share their experiences.