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Talk:Future of Education

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom
Latest comment: 10 years ago by Leutha in topic Not visible?

This page is largely developed from research work done here: https://wikimania2014.wikimedia.org/wiki/Outreach/Future_of_Education

We’re trying to get the community working on education reform and edtech to renew its interest in Wikimedia. I suggest a short introductory page tailored for them structured in the following way:

  • Why is Wikimedia important?
    • mission statement
    • traction
  • How is Wikimedia relevant to education?
    • stories
    • projects related to education
  • How could the education community get involved with Wikimedia?
    • volunteer skills & expertise! (how?)
    • take part in wikimania + hackathons


The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.

Wikimedia is one of the most visited online resources in the world. It gets over 500 million monthly unique visitors to its sites, including Wikipedia.


Now that Wikipedia has done everyone’s homework what’s left to teach?

Capturing the sum of all human knowledge is a lofty goal. But what would it mean for us to achieve that goal? If Wikipedia contains the sum of all human knowledge, what does it mean for an individual to 'know' something? What is the implication for our education systems when ‘knowing’ is a connection to Wikipedia not committing facts to memory? How should we respond to an age in which we can receive answers to questions so efficiently that we don’t have to think about either?

Wikipedia and its associated educational projects has a massive role to play in influencing traditional ‘knowledge hoarding’ pedagogies towards critical thinking, open practice and encouraging learners to take part in the curation and creation of knowledge from an early age.

Learners still have to think about sourcing information, how to evaluate it, and how claims are connected. Wikipedia provides access to a huge amount of knowledge, but just as we just listening to someone talk isn't the same as understanding what they've said, so too with reading a Wikipedia article. Just as reading someone else's presentation to a class isn't the same as teaching, well so too with Wikipedia - encouraging students to engage in editing articles turns them from consumers to creators of knowledge.


  • MOOCs and 'open' education - intersectons with Wikipedia?
  • Contributing to Wikipedia as a pedagogical activity - moving from a pedagogy of answers to a pedgogy of questions.
  • The relationship between Wikipedia and traditional academic publishing.
  • The Learning Black Market - how did it come about and how to respond to it?
  • Critical evaluation, information literacy etc - the role Wikipedia can play.
  • Assessment - what form should it take when 'knowing' is a connection to the Web?
  • Promoting (your) research via Wikipedia.

Response to MOOCs?

Over the last 18 months there has been a huge amount of activity around Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) provided by major universities and the potential impact of ‘free’ online learning on this form. The focus on the open access nature of the majority of these courses and the huge number of people signing-up in some cases has created a flurry of excitement which has largely ignored the relatively passive pedagogy employed by many MOOCs. Wikipedia is well placed to provide a balance to the predominant pedagogy within MOOC as it is open access both in terms of consuming information and contributing to knowledge. Finding ways to encourage the open-education/MOOC movement to incorporate contributing to Wikipedia within the learning-design of open-access courses should be one of the key aims of the Wikipedia Education Program.

Shiny tech

One of the reasons that Wikipedia is often not part of the 'digital education debate' is because that discussion tends to be hijacked by shiny hardware. (the everyone gets and iPad problem). News stories about new forward thinking academies sometimes talk about the inclusion of the 'digital' as if technology is a solution in-of-itself.

Wikipedia is now perceived as content, not technology - a pool of information rather that a site of learning. It can't be owned by any given educational institution and it certainly can't be used as part of an exemplar of 'revolutionary' practice by schools in PR terms. The reality is that for education to respond to the influence and the implications of the Web there needs to be an evolution in practice, one that is not hunting for a technical panacea. Shifting the debate from technical solutions to new forms of practice in education is another area Wikipedia can play a crucial role.

Coding is not everything

Examples of Wikimedia Projects relating to Education

WikiProject:Open has been created as an umbrella for other open WikiProjects such as OER.

  1. Web Science Steffen Staab

Examples of progressive non-Wikimedia projects relating to Education

some WMF resources

The Wikimedia Foundation has an extensive set of educator resources, including reasons to use Wikipedia, case studies and teaching materials.

Wikimedia UK is working with some of the country's most respected and innovative institutions to explore how Wikimedia projects can benefit UK education. In partnership with universities and support bodies, we are gradually establishing Wikimedia as part of the landscape of higher education, secondary education, and lifelong learning.

Not visible?

I question the degree to which "Wikipedia is not visible to educational institutions"; the teachers that I know are well aware of the degree to which Wikipedia is used. I think one goal of Wikipedia should be to supplant the textbook altogether. We will have achieved something great when teachers are able to assign their students a collection of Wikipedia pages to read to obtain all of the information currently reflected in textbooks. BD2412 (talk) 21:02, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

I see Wikipedia function in a different way, I think it is more about providing an avenue where by the querent can engage with Wikipedia page which allows them to follow their enquiries to whatever depth, and in whatever direction the feel is appropriat to their needs. It is by having well-referenced pages that the querent can gain access to texts which fall outwith the parameters of Wikipedia.Leutha (talk) 20:30, 14 January 2014 (UTC)Reply

examples of organisations who work with learning through collaboration

  • peer learning groups: sugata mitra and his granny cloud
  • reprap project: learning through making, trial and error, problem solving. Adrian Bowyer, Jo Prusa
  • wikipedia obviously
  • open source ecology:learning through making, training, working with universities, YouTube videos

motivations for learning

  • learning to contribute to a project
  • learning to reach the the knowledge level needed to engage with a project e.g reprap


I don't think it is wise to start with such a negative statement, which I think perhaps hasa become somewhat dated. In my experience there has been a steady increase in the number of colleges which have developed a more positive approach to Wikipedia, particularly as so many colleges today do not have an adequate library. I think it might be better to start by looking at the ways in which Wikipedia has started to realise the dreams of all sorts of educational reforms. Leutha (talk) 20:24, 14 January 2014 (UTC)Reply