Education/Newsletter/December 2015/Education Program at Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2015 in Estonia

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Education Program at Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2015 in Estonia

By Anna Koval (Wikimedia Foundation)

Snippet: Education Programs were a highlight of the Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2015 in Estonia

Wikimedia Central and Eastern Europe Meeting 2015 in Estonia

In September 2015, Central and Eastern European Wikimedians traveled to Estonia for the 4th annual meeting of the regional working group known as Wikimedia Central and Eastern Europe — or CEE. The Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2015 was attended by approximately 70 people from 32 countries and 28 language communities, in addition to 4 staff members of the Wikimedia Foundation.1 At the meeting, there was great interest in sharing and analyzing the local experiences of the many countries in the region participating in the Wikipedia Education Program2

Currently, there are Wikipedia Education Programs — or WEPs — in 21 CEE countries, and 25% of all WEPs worldwide are in CEE. Education Program leaders from CEE countries have 47 years of combined programmatic experience in the Wikimedia Movement. They support +6,750 students, +186 educators, +95 volunteers in 48 cities, 42 universities, 90 secondary schools, 10 primary schools, 5 adult schools, and the movement's only senior education program is in a CEE country. CEE WEPs have created +82,001 articles, improved +525 articles, translated +770 articles, uploaded +2,270 files, and contributed +225M bytes of content to the Wikimedia projects.3 It was announced at the meeting that education program pilots will begin in 2 new CEE countries — Belarus and Turkey.

Education Program Sessions
Kubof Hromoslav of Slovakia poses with a cabbage

A pre-conference survey asking community members about main topics of interest for the meeting revealed education programs as the second most popular topic. Education session submissions outnumbered all other topics except technical and language tools and lightning talks. As a result, the education program track comprised a considerable proportion of the sessions, which focused much on program-related issues.4 In fact, notes Vassia Atanassova, a leading member of the international programme committee, education was the only topic that was given 2 slots in the programme: Part I and Part II.5

The meeting's education programme began with a question-and-answer conversation with the Wikimedia Foundation's education program manager for the region, Anna Koval. This talk was titled "Putting education on the map and nurturing a culture of documentation, collaboration, and mentorship." The discussion covered a range of topics, including: an overview and a history of the program, advocacy in academia, the Wikimedia Foundation's relationship with the Wiki Education Foundation, the Wikipedia Education Collaborative, and support available from Anna.

There were 5 presentations given in the education programme track. Slidedecks and etherpads are all linked here.

Education Program Extension

The Education Program Extension for MediaWiki was presented by Anna Koval during one of the tools rotation sessions, and the talk was rated highly by participants in session feedback forms. Currently, this extension is being used on 20 Wikimedia projects — 40% of which are on WIkimedia projects in CEE languages.6

Since the meetup, there has been much interest in the extension in the region.6

  • Deployments to 2 new CEE projects — Serbian and Macedonian Wikipedias
  • Translations by 2 more CEE projects — Bulgarian and Slovak Wikipedias
  • Interest from at least 2 other new CEE projects — Albanian and Belarusian Wikipedia

Nevertheless, community members expressed concern and disappointment that this tool is not being supported by the WMF.7

Engaging the Region; Inspiring the Movement
Dr. Mart Noorma, Anna Koval, Ivo Kruusamägi at the University of Tartu

Just prior to the CEE Meeting, Wikimedians of Bulgaria welcomed Anna Koval to their country and hosted the first wiki education workshop in Bulgaria for educators in Sofia.

And on the first morning of the CEE Meeting, before the bus left Tartu for Voore, Anna Koval and Ivo Kruusamägi met with the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at the University of Tartu, Dr. Mart Noorma, to discuss continuing and expanding their now 5-year-old Wikipedia Education Program8 — potentially collaborating with neighboring countries. In November, Dr. Noorma visited San Francisco for an academic conference. While there, he met with Lila Tretikov, Anna Koval, Floor Koudijs, Rosemary Rein, Katy Love, and Asaf Bartov at the Wikimedia Foundation to continue the conversation around regional collaboration.

The CEE Meeting was discussed during the Wikimedia Foundation's October 2015 Metrics and Activities Meeting9. CEE's Education Programs were called "a highlight of the meetup." According to María Cruz, Communications Coordinator for the Community Engagement department at the Wikimedia Foundation, "The Wikipedia Education Program is one of main gateways to engage knowledge societies outside of the movement to get engaged in the Wikimedia projects." (See slides 6-7 here.) (Watch video from 4:09 to 5:13 here.)

There was great interest at the 2015 CEE Meeting in sharing and analyzing the local experiences of the many countries in the region participating in the Wikipedia Education Program2 — and we hope that will continue to be the case. :)

See more photos from the WMCEE 2015 Meeting here.

Read more about Wikimedia Central and Eastern Europe here.