Education/News/October 2019/Wikimedia & Education Greenhouse – Highlights from the first unit of the online course

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Wikimedia & Education Greenhouse – Highlights from the first unit of the online course

Author: Melissa Guadalupe Huertas (Program Officer, Education)

Summary: Earlier this year, the Education Team at the Wikimedia Foundation launched the first edition of the Wikimedia & Education Greenhouse. On this article find a summary of the topics and discussions developed during the first unit of its online course including interventions from the participants. Article originally published on Wikimedia Space.

Earlier this year, the Education Team at the Wikimedia Foundation launched the first edition of the Wikimedia & Education Greenhouse. This pilot project uses a startup incubator model alongside a rigorous online course in Wikimedia & Education project management to equip Wikimedians with the skills, knowledge and support they need to bring their ideas to life and scale them into high-impact education initiatives in their communities. It supports project leaders to structure their activities on the idea of knowledge equity, considering the challenges and opportunities of their Wikimedia community and their local education contexts.

On July 1st the first cohort of participants started their learning journey in the Wikimedia Education Project Management online course. Since then over 60 Wikimedians from more than 35 different countries have engaged in discussions and activities that connect the Wikimedia projects with the global education field. Here are a few highlights of the first unit in our online course:

Module 1 – Wikimedia & Education, knowledge equity, and SDG4

In this module, participants explored the connection between Wikimedia projects and the Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education. They discussed how Wikimedia projects can be implemented in their local education fields to foster 21st century skills, and the different challenges in access to digital technologies. The participants demonstrated their ability to advocate for the value of Wikimedia in education by developing mock-up tweetstorms for different audiences in the education sector: policy makers, teachers, students, parents, etc. (you can find a couple of them if you search for #WikimediaEducation on Twitter!)

In the words of our participants:

"I think the most interesting thing is that, beyond the development of national policies, it focuses on the importance of being rooted in local communities in order to have a profound and lasting impact. In synthetics [sic], I consider that the objectives are correct and have good intentions; but the question is to put them into practice in reality. I think that a course like this with participants from different parts of the world exchanging experiences is a very good way to face this challenge."

Diego Ariel Vega (Argentina) reflecting on the connection between global goals for education and the Wikimedia movement.

Module 2 – Collaborating with educators and education systems

How would you describe the quality of education in your country? What does the typical day of a teacher look like? How do you approach collaboration with teachers for Wikimedia education projects? These were some of the questions that our participants explored during this module. For this purpose, participants contrasted the different education policy documents available through UNESCO’s Planipolis portal and what they look like in practice. They interviewed teachers in their local communities and they practiced writing letters for school administrators arguing for the inclusion of Wikimedia education activities by connecting them with national education policies.

In the words of our participants:

"If we want to promote the inclusion of Wikimedia projects in the classroom, how will that impact the work teachers already have to do?

Most of the educators I have supported feel like they are already working too much & they will be very reluctant to add "yet another new project" to their workload. If I want to promote a Wikimedia project for classroom work, it must (a) require no more work, research, or effort than what the teacher had previously planned; & (b) have a clear fit within the course learning objectives & schedule."

Gina Bennett (Canada) reflecting on points of effective collaboration with teachers.
In the words of our participants:

"I was struck by the similarities between this interview (Belgium) and the one I did with a secondary science teacher in the US. Both mention the need to catch their attention/"arouse the curiosity" as this instructor mentioned. The school day with the many class periods is also similar. The instructor I interviewed talked about the inability to give homework. While that isn't directly addressed in this Belgian teacher's response, I wonder if he/she is able to give homework, as my interviewee said parents don't encourage completing homework or studying. I really am aghast at this, and wonder if others face the same problem."

Trudi Jacobson (USA) reflecting on the insights collected through the "Let's talk to a teacher!" activity.
Assignment "Contacting School Administrators":

"Dear Sir, In 2021 century era of Information Communication Technology (ICT) Nepal governance are: different plan policies ICT In Education master plan 2013, IT Policy-2067 (2072, School Sector Reform Plan(SSRP), School Sector Development Plan(SSDP), Inclusive Education, etc. ICT for all students, meaning that the policy would act as an enabler to reduce the digital gap. Emphasized the role and function of ICT in education as a teaching and learning tool that would also encourage the utilization of all potential media and Technology. I know your institution conducts teaching-learning activities for pre services teachers who will be future teacher of school-age children. Different Wikimedia projects are helping teachers to enable ICT in the classroom such as Wikidata, Wikipedia, Commons, online and offline activities which support student and teacher as well. Different Wikimedia projects online competition, edit-a-thon, photo walk, wiki assignment, wiki games, etc. help students' 21-century skills: collaborations, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. We would like to collaborate with your institution (to conduct) Wikiprojects in the classroom. Hope you will positive response [sic]. Kindly contact us if you have any queries/concerns. "

Nawaraj Ghimire (Nepal) highlighting how Wikimedia education initiatives can meet national education policies.

Module 3 – Training education actors on Wikimedia education projects

In this module, participants analyzed and proposed workshops and training programs from a human-centered design perspective. They shared examples of successful Wikimedia education initiatives in their local contexts, these went from Art+Feminism editathons with teachers and students to workshops for teachers designed to dispel the myths around Wikipedia in education. They discussed the challenges they face in engaging with local education actors, the important lessons they have learned, and they shared pending questions they’re seeking answers to.

In the words of our participants:

"What is the main challenge you face?

(...) one main challenges is to contact the right people in each school, which I suppose that are the Directors. One use to say [sic] that there is only one time to cause a first good impression, and so is important that the first letter could be written in an "professional" way, and so the importance of the task the course had propose previously.

What is an important lesson for success you have learned?

(...) I understand now that is preferable to gain first the teachers to our side, and made the workshop/ateliers first with them and help them to spread the news to their students."

Jorge Gomes (Portugal) reflecting on challenges and lessons learned in Wikimedia education activities.

Module 4 – Working with the Wikimedia community on education projects

In the final module of the unit, participants reflected on the Wikimedia communities they are part of and how to facilitate communication and collaboration between these communities and the education actors they are engaging through their initiatives. They shared examples of successful engagement strategies for Wikimedia education projects such as: using different communication channels on and off Wiki (mainly social media groups), creating Project pages and templates for their initiatives and participants, connecting with well-established WikiProjects, and fostering peer mentorship opportunities between more experienced editors and newcomers.

In the words of our participants:

"How would you describe your Wikimedia community?

I belong to a Community that feels like family (Igbo Wikimedian User Group). They can lead you by the hand through every huddles.

What are some communication channels you would use/recommend to successfully connect with this community?

One can reach my Community through our web site ( or by social media like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

What are some challenges newcomers should be aware of when engaging with this community?

The newcomers should be ready to read a lot in order to get familiar with the wikimedia projects interface because they are not really user friendly. They should also be aware that it is capital intensive (Data)"

Gladys Uchenwa Mbah (Nigeria) reflecting on ways to engage with her local Wikimedia community.

Additionally through a survey conducted halfway through Unit 1 we learned that: the elements of the course our participants enjoy the most are sharing ideas and experiences with the diverse cohort of international participants (56% of respondents), and the engaging activities and resources provided in the course (31% of respondents); the aspect they find most challenging is finding time to go over the resources and participate in the forums (56% of respondents); however, 100% of respondents express they’re motivated to continue with the course! This is not surprising: when we asked participants to rate how much they are enjoying the course from a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being “not enjoying it all” and 5 “enjoying it very much”) the average score we got was 4.19!


Currently, our participants are starting Unit 2 of the online course where they will develop their project management skills to create/improve a project proposal for a Wikimedia education initiative. Stay tuned for the coming updates! Do you want to participate in the course? You can do so by completing this form!

We would like to extend our gratitude to Simona Ramkisson, Asaf Bartov and Shani Evenstein for their input in curriculum development and for leading some of the virtual classes that accompanied this unit, as well as to the group of volunteer collaborators who helped us test the platform before its launch. You’re awesome!

Note: All testimonies from participants have been shared with their consent.

Social Media channels or hashtags: Twitter @WikimediaEdu, Facebook Wikimedia Foundation Education Team, #WikimediaEducation