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Education/News/June 2022/Bolivian Teachers Welcomed Wikipedia in their Classroom

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Bolivian Teachers Welcomed Wikipedia in their Classroom

Summary: How more teachers learned the advantages of using Wikipedia in class
Leamos Wikipedia en Bolivia 2022
Social Media channels or hashtags: #LeamosWikipediaenBolivia

As the Leamos Wikipedia en Bolivia finished, we'd like to give an overview of the highlights of the program: Bolivian experience in reading Wikipedia.

One of the beauties of working with teachers is that they are very creative and insightful. The Leamos Wikipedia Program in Bolivia has been a great experience for teachers and ourselves. We want to share some key points and some of the material we used this time.

The experience of the community

The community of Wikimedians of Bolivia has been working for more than ten years in Bolivia. When we presented the project to implement it in Bolivia in 2021, we proposed to be a little riskier with the generation of content to complement the program in response to the dialogues that the community held in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz during the approach of the 2030 strategy of the Movement. Some of the reflections of that moment were: We need to work with more multimedia content, we should exploit the possibility of working with Wikipedia as a chorus of voices in many languages, and propose our vision of knowledge with local eyes and languages.

Languages of Bolivia

The team arranged the first version of part of the booklets of the program Leamos Wikipedia in native languages. With these initial texts, we talked with the teachers of bilingual students. The languages chosen for translation were Aymara, Quechua, and Guarani. The final texts will contain reflections on thinkers and activists of these languages to complement the readings and help new editors. It will also aid the construction of a dynamic community in the respective versions of Wikipedia.

Commitment to multimedia content

As part of the commitment to multimedia content and as a strategy to strengthen the bridges that virtual education has built between teachers and the media most frequently consulted by students in Bolivia, we challenged the Bolivian YouTuber Rodny Montoya to explain what Wikipedia is on his channel "Según Yo" (According to me). He took up the challenge. He had worked with other cultural institutions such as the National Museum of Art. In addition, Rodny's first video leads us to understand the basic concepts of Wikipedia in an entertaining and didactic format.

¿Qué es Wikipedia?, Según Yo
In this first video, he explains what Wikipedia is, what it is for and how we can contribute to it.
¿Cómo funciona Wikipedia?, Según Yo
In this second video, we discuss how Wikipedia works and what are the working dynamics, the five pillars, and the internal organization of Wikipedia.

How to edit Wikipedia? The last video tells how we can get to work and become Wikipedia editors. It has the same dynamics, but all the resources used are free, so we will have it available on Wikimedia Commons very soon.

As part of the program, we also included compact video tutorials of each class for the teachers' Facebook group.

The growth of the community

The participation of Wikimedistas de Bolivia in this project meant the growth of the user group. One of the objectives was to involve as many volunteers as possible in different roles. We wanted to incorporate new people with a shared vision about free knowledge that would allow us to refresh and evolve the project. Therefore, the group can become a more solid community for the benefit of our society.

Lessons learned from the previous version

Our participation in the pilot conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation showed us that we are skilled enough to organize long-term activities related to Wikipedia, adapt to different challenges, and find creative answers by learning from the teaching community.

Wiki Teachers

As part of the program proposal, we incorporated teachers who had previously graduated from the program as mentors and motivators of the new groups. These teachers, who in some cases had already incorporated Wikipedia in their classrooms, shared experiences and answered questions to their colleagues in the new community of teachers, such as Leslye Huayllani, a teacher from the La Paz Educational Unit.

Leslye Huayllani in La Paz

It has been very gratifying for teachers committed to media literacy. Several teachers from different parts of Bolivia are part of this experience. Likewise, relying on an online encyclopedia and knowing the benefits of critical reading was very rewarding for teachers and students of different parallels at schools.

As part of the program "Leamos Wikipedia", many teachers participated in the sessions. The goal of the Wikimedistas of Bolivia was to provide training on the use of Wikipedia, understand its benefits, and learn the proper use of an encyclopedia. We discovered the confidence that gives us to know in detail Wikipedia. That is why we want to welcome Wikipedia to my school.

Among the graduates of this year, we got some impressions like this:

Xiomara Chacon: I loved the program because of its flexibility. I also did my final paper as a lesson plan against violence. I belong to a feminist collective. As such, I could make a lesson plan based on guidelines we learned in class.

I want to thank the Wikimedistas team because we did not know what Wikipedia was. We thought it was a copy, but now we know how to use it. We understand its value.

Pablo Delgado: Thank you for the enthusiasm and for helping us break old structures. My director was amazed by the rules and editing methods that Wikipedia has. He was interested in learning more about it. He is eager to participate in the following workshops organized by Wikimedistas de Bolivia.

Our next steps

We believe that the Leamos Wikipedia program fills a need among teachers to approach Wikipedia in a better way to guide their students' learning. In the next version of the newsletter, we will share more details about the program, and how we turned it into a boot camp. Talk to us if you want to get a sneak peek!