Education/Newsletter/June 2017/Education and the Wikimedia movement strategy
Education and the Wikimedia movement strategy
Author: Jami Mathewson, Wiki Education Foundation, Jami (Wiki Ed)
In the beginning of June, a group of global education program leaders, formerly known as the Wikipedia Education Collaborative, gathered in Yerevan for a planning meeting about the future of education within the Wikimedia movement. Thanks to the timing and the current stage of the Wikimedia movement strategy, we discussed the five themes and how education programs fit in to each context.
To kick off our strategy discussion, we ranked each of the five themes based on how important we found them for education within the Wikimedia movement. As a group, we agreed the two most important themes for the future of education are Healthy, Inclusive Communities and Engaging in the Knowledge Ecosystem.
We believe a healthy, inclusive community is a prerequisite for the remaining five strategic themes. A safe, healthy community lays the groundwork for all future work on Wikipedia; it is both the gatekeeper and the enabler. For example: Why will others in the knowledge ecosystem partner with us if we are unwelcoming, toxic, and exclusive? How will people respect Wikipedia if they only know it’s created by a small group of people? How can we be global if people continuously leave or never even join our community? Who cares if it’s an augmented experience if we have no users?
Education, GLAM, and library programs offer systematic opportunities for new users to join our movement, and we are a crucial part of the Knowledge Ecosystem. The Knowledge Ecosystem becomes stronger when its actors are working together, unless the community is not healthy enough to nurture the influx of users. Community health can be a powerful negative gatekeeper.
A healthy, inclusive community will welcome more educators and other institutions in the Knowledge Ecosystem into our movement. An inclusive community acknowledges and rewards community organizing, programmatic activities, and offline work that brings high quality content and participants to our projects.
We believe achieving these two goals will create a stronger and more expansive community. Becoming a Wikimedian will be more meaningful and educational, and we will not only accept but will champion diversity. By achieving healthy, inclusive communities that represent organizations dedicated to the ideals of free knowledge, we will build the world’s first source of collective, inclusive, unbiased human knowledge, an historic achievement for humans.