Education/Newsletter/January 2013/United Kingdom sums up its year in Education Outreach
By Stevie Benton and Daria Cybulska from WMUK
The highest profile educational project we worked on in 2012 was our very successful EduWiki conference which took place at the University of Leicester in September. The event brought together Wikimedians, academics and technologists to look at Wikipedia, Wikiversity and related charitable projects, not in terms of educational resources, but educational practice, including collaboration, open review, and global participation. It was a chance to talk about innovative work in classrooms, institutions and online communities, and shape the future of Wikimedia UK's work in this area.
Most usefully, delegates explored the ways that open educational projects can support innovative education. We discussed the Wikipedia Education Program (in which university students improve Wikipedia articles for course credit), learned from universities where the program is already embedded, exploring the educational opportunities and drawing lessons from the experience so far. You can learn more about EduWiki 2012 here. If you have any questions you can contact Daria on daria.cybulskawikimedia.org.uk.
Virtual Learning Environment
Another key piece of work that has been ongoing in 2012 is the development of an online learning resource called a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE has been created in order to support learning and training on topics related to Wikipedia. There has been substantial progress on the population of the VLE with course content and we expect the VLE to be released for use early in 2013. This will make it much easier for people to learn to interact with Wikimedia projects in a much more structured way that the learner can manage themselves. Watch this space. If you are working on a VLE of your own and would like to share ideas, please do get in touch with Wikimedia UK via Stevie (stevie.bentonwikimedia.org.uk).
Train the Trainers
Speaking of learning to interact with Wikimedia projects, we've been running a very successful “Train the Trainers” programme this year. This programme has been specifically created to provide professional level training to Wikimedia UK volunteers to give them the skills and confidence to go to institutions and events and deliver training to people new to editing Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. This is a sustainable way of ensuring that we always have a bank of trained trainers to call on when there is interest from groups or institutions to offer this to volunteers. So far two groups of volunteers have received this training and a third cohort is to attend a session in February 2013. We may be able to accept international applicants from volunteers who deliver Wikipedia training (expenses to be covered by your host Chapter), so if you are interested please sign up here.
In order to continue to support and develop our work around education, Wikimedia UK has established an Education Committee to oversee and steer this work, answering to the WMUK Board. The Committee comprises volunteers, staff, an Associate and a Trustee, all of whom have either experience or an interest in education. Over the coming year the Committee will become more involved in helping to shape and progress WMUK's work in the sphere of education.
Wikimedia UK is keen to support societies so that students better understand and improve Wikipedia and its sister projects. In 2012 we supported Fresher Fairs at Imperial College and Cambridge University. We found it an excellent way of gathering interest from enthusiastic undergraduates. Our Student societies page explains how we can help students get a society under way.
More to come in 2013
Of course, these few mentions are merely highlights from the last year rather than the full story. The work continues into 2013 with great enthusiasm, excitement and energy. Expect to learn about more innovative and valuable educational projects over the next 12 months.