Education/News/August 2017/Wikimania2017 for education
Wikimania 2017 for the Education enthusiasts
Wikimania 2017 (Montreal, August 9-13) was pretty great for Education enthusiasts. From the outset, you could look at the program and see clearly labeled Education-focused tracks. A good amount of Education Program leaders were also participating.
Among the highlights of Wikimania for education was the value of “small languages”, (ie. languages that are considered to be a minority, or are represented in Wikipedias that are comparatively small) which was discussed from diverse perspectives, from India to Russia, and their role in the development of the culture of the people that use those languages.
Another of the evolving trends for education programs is the evaluation of their impact. Zach McDowell, Ph.D., presented the results of the research he did for the WikiEd Foundation: His presentation is available here.
Spoiler alert: it confirms the anecdotal evidence we’ve seen around the world, but with a sample of Total 1627 Students, and 96 Instructors (university level professors).
Another presentation that might at first seem unrelated to education programs was Doc James’ presentation on the WikiMed Project. Where it got interesting for education was when his discussed this slide:
Doc James proceeded to explain how he had run tests (Medical education is very formal and includes a good deal of research on how to better train future doctors) and has seen that Medical students not only prefer Wikipedia as a source of information, but those that use it actually do better than those that use other information resources (such as the specialized app UpToDate). This is, of course, an indication that the focused work of creating and sharing medical contents is really paying off, but also that we might be able to reproduce this type of results in other scientific disciplines…
A third highlight was the discussions on the creation of the Wikipedia & Education User Group. There were a fair amount of participants sharing in the discussion, and we even held a lunch to have a good long discussion.
Here is another picture of it, taken by Sara Mortsell: