We’re back from an amazing trip to London! Last week, four Wiki Education Foundation staff and three board members were in the thick of the global Wikimedia community at the annual Wikimania conference. This year Wikimania had a strong focus on education, and it drew large crowds of people from all over the world who were interested in incorporating Wikipedia into educational settings. In our sessions, the Wiki Education Foundation contingent shared our knowledge with the community so that others could learn from what we’ve done.
Educational Partnerships Manager Jami Mathewson and Director of Programs LiAnna Davis were active leaders in the Education Pre-Conference prior to Wikimania. Jami presented during a Wikipedia Ambassador training for people interested in supporting class-based programs globally, as well as a session for helping new program leaders find the best structure for their programs. LiAnna led a half-day workshop on how to use Wikipedia as a teaching tool. All three sessions were very well-attended, with more than 50 people representing at least 18 countries around the world in attendance.
More than 100 attended an education session in which Wiki Education Foundation staff presented in all three speaking slots. First up was “Ask the Wiki Education Foundation“, where LiAnna, Jami, and Frank presented information about our organization and then opened the floor for questions from the audience. Next up, LiAnna joined colleagues from the Wikimedia Foundation, Israel, and the United Kingdom to present information about the Wikipedia Education Collaborative, a group of education program leaders worldwide who coordinate sharing learnings. Finally, LiAnna presented “The 7 Biggest Mistakes the Wikipedia Education Program’s Made — and What We’ve Learned From Them“. All three had a great response from the audience, with interesting questions.
Wiki Ed’s Board Chair, Diana Strassmann, had a featured speaker slot on Saturday. Diana’s talk, which you can watch online, focused on how the Wikipedia Education Program can help Wikipedia. Diana highlighted different theories of knowledge that come from academia, and how these might help Wikipedia overcome some of its current challenges, including the gender gap. Diana also joined Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales and other guests for a BBC World radio interview on a show called “In the Balance” focusing on “The Future of Education” to talk about her experiences using Wikipedia as a teaching tool.
Finally, Jami joined program leaders from the Arab World, Israel, and Mexico in a session exploring how the Wiki Education Foundation uses numerical data to evaluate our programmatic efforts.
In addition to the scheduled activities, Wiki Ed staff and board members participated in a number of social events, meeting with Wikipedia editors and program leaders globally to share our experiences teaching students how to edit Wikipedia as part of their coursework and learning from others’ experiences. Many thanks to the Wikimania organizing team for putting education front-and-center at this year’s conference!
Director of Programs