European e-Inclusion Awards 2008
European e-Inclusion Awards 2008
The European Commission has established the e-Inclusion Awards to raise awareness, encourage participation and recognise excellence and good practice in using ICT and digital technology to tackle social and digital exclusion across Europe.
The European e-Inclusion Awards are open to organisations in the public, business and voluntary sector or civil society. There are seven competition categories:
- Ageing well
- Marginalised Young People
- Geographic Inclusion
- Cultural Diversity
- Digital Literacy
- Inclusive Public Services
The finalists for each category will be invited to exhibit their project at the Ministerial Conference on e-Inclusion in Vienna on 1 December 2008.
- e-inlusion – Be part of it! (Official website)
- Europe's Information Society, Thematic Portal: European Commission launches the 2008 European e-Inclusion Awards to help fight the digital divide (19.05.2008)
- FINAL WORD COUNT: between 1,300 – 1,500 words (Questions 1–8)
- DEADLINE: Noon (GMT) 12th September 2008 (it's arranged that I'll send the form on wednesday)
1. Please describe your organisation, the field in which it operates and the communities it serves
- About us
The Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of its wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. It operates some of the largest collaboratively-edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, one of the world's 10 most-visited websites.
Wikimedia Deutschland is one of the Wikimedia Foundation's national chapters. It promotes the spreading of free knowledge and supports Wikimedia projects and contributors.
- About Wikipedia
The flagship project operated by the Wikimedia Foundation is Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia containing more than 11 million articles in over 250 languages. Consistently ranked among the top 10 most popular websites worldwide, Wikipedia is evidence that mass collaboration for educational purposes works: that people will, of their own accord and without compensation, work productively together to create high-quality educational materials to be distributed, for free, to others around the world. As of September 2008, the German Wikipedia was the second largest language edition (800,000 articles), after the English Wikipedia (2.5 million articles).
- About the project "Wikipedia – Generation 50plus"
"Wikipedia – Generation 50plus" is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation founded in spring 2008 and pioneered by Wikimedia Deutschland in the same year. It aims at enabling people of the 50-plus age group to use Wikipedia as a wealthy information source, to learn how to contribute to Wikipedia and how to share their knowledge with others. The project is based on the fact that senior citizens are significantly underrepresented in the Wikimedia Foundation's online projects.
A survey conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation in March 2008 treated the question of what keeps older people from contributing to Wikipedia. Based on the survey's results, a qualification program to train senior citizens of the 50-plus age group as “Wikipedia trainers” had been started in Düsseldorf, Germany, in June 2008. During six weeks the participants were tought how to run their own Wikipedia workshops in internet cafés for older people. They shall act as Wikipedia evangelists and motivate other people of their age to contribute.
Based on the experiences of the first train-the-trainer course, the planning of further courses is underway (the next course in Germany will start in November 2008). The long term goal is to develop a general course model and to transfer it to other European and non-European countries.
Furthermore, printed support materials as well as online tutorial videos (in production) shall raise the understanding of the 50-plus age group for Wikipedia.
2. Why do you feel this project deserves an Award?
Today's 50-plus women and man are not ageing like our grandparents. Rather, they're breaking the stereotypes of growing old. The 50 and over age group is growing in numbers, increasingly better educated and spending more time being online. In Wikipedia it is significantly underrepresented. Thereby, Wikipedia is suffering systematic bias, manifesting as imbalanced coverage of certain topics.
In an emerging information age "ageing well" includes the opportunity to participate in new forms of information sharing. Contributing to Wikipedia gives people of the 50-plus age group the opportunity to benefit from new information technologies and help fight the digital divide in a sustainable manner (following the principles: "Help for Self-help" and "Train-the-trainer").
"Wikipedia – Generation 50plus" is the first project worldwide to systematically encourage people of the 50-plus age to take an active part in one of the largest internet volunteer communities and to share their knowledge and their experiences with their children and grand-children.
Like Wikipedia, the project is based on the volunteer commitment of the participants. In this way the project proves what can be achieved in the field of adult education without large sums of money.
3. Impact: What impact has your project made on the community it serves and how has that impact been measured?
The project enables the participants to use the contents of Wikipedia in an impartial way, enriching their ability to take part in a digital knowledge sharing project. Notes on "What has been achieved" [to be elaborated]:
- Participants learnt how to contribute to Wikipedia and how to share their knowledge with other people of their age-group
- Impact on the community of the German Wikipedia (greater awareness of older people contributing to Wikipedia)
- Follow ups (next online course will start on 3 November 2008)
- Articles started by the participants (example: article on Felix Schumann, the youngest child of the musicians Clara and Robert Schumann)
- Offers for further partnerships (see question 6 below)
- Created a press impact [Scans will be added to the entry form before sending.]
4. Innovation: How has your project used digital technology innovatively? What has been the direct benefit of this?
The project uses MediaWiki, a web-based wiki software application, together with the e-learning platform Moodle – both innovative software solutions that everyone can use free of charge. Being designed as an online project and enabling the participants to work from home, the project takes into account the possible restricted mobility of older people.
5. Usability: How has your project facilitated greater accessibility or improved the user friendliness of digital technology for the communities it serves?
As part of the project, an entrance page for people of the 50-plus age group had been created on the German Wikipedia (Wikipedia:Generation 50plus) directing older people to printed support material and to the "Adopt-a-user program" (a program designed to help new and inexperienced Wikipedia users). The experiences allow the preparation of manuals that meet demands of this age group. "Wikipedia:Generation 50plus" has been the first Wikipedia help page worldwide targetting older people and helping them on their way to share their knowledge with the next generation.
6. Partnerships: How has your project created and used partnerships with other organisations and what have the benefits been?
The first online course for senior citizens has been a joint project between Wikimedia Deutschland, the Wikimedia Foundation and the "Diakonisches Werk Rheinland", the social service arm of the Protestant church in the Rhineland, Germany. This partnership will be continued in form of further online courses for people of the 50+ age group (the next course will start on 3 November 2008).
Moreover, a number of organisations declared their interest to cooperate. Amongst were the Bundesverband 50 Plus e.V. and cosenio, an online portal for people in the second half of their life (a first meeting took place in August 2008; at present the Wikimedia Foundation examines a proposal for cooperation submitted by cosenio).
- We have been preparing an online documentation: Wikipedia Trainers: online course "Wikipedia in internet cafés for older people". It includes general information about the first online course held in Summer 2008: idea and people behind, as well as a documentation about the best practices and lessons learnt.
- A posting on the Wikimedia Foundation's blog informed the international audience about the project. As a reaction, internet users from several European and other countries posted comments and showed their interest. The contacts will be used to discuss how this project can be implemented in different countries.
- The project had been presented at the poster session of Wikimania 2008, the fourth annual Wikimedia conference which was held between July 17 – 19, 2008 in Alexandria, Egypt. Representatives of other European and non-European Wikipedia communities have been informed about the project and its goals.
8. Sustainability: What is the duration of your project and how does the funding model meet those commitments and obligations?
The project is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's ongoing effort to encourage contributions from underrepresented groups, which include – besides older people – women, small-language speakers and people in developing nations. It is funded by the donations and driven by the volunteer commitment of internet users all over the world who share our goal to make knowledge available to everyone on this planet – notwithstanding gender, race, personal wealth or age.