Grants:Project/Orgio89/Offline Wikipedia outreach in Mongolia/Midpoint
Welcome to this project's midpoint report! This report shares progress and learnings from the Individual Engagement Grantee's first 3 months.
In a few short sentences or bullet points, give the main highlights of what happened with your project so far.
The project has successfully delivered Wikipedia DVDs to 10 public schools and is teaching related classes at the schools right at this moment. The Wikipedia based lesson development is going well and has been accepted well among participating teachers and students. However as we expected in the beginning a few schools were resistant or negligent to our project. As this project is the first such project in Mongolia, our team proactively solved such misunderstandings and increased our effort to inform the participants on the all the possible favorable outcomes of the active participation. The teachers and students are highly accepting and interested in our local version of Wikipedia DVD.
Methods and activities
How have you setup your project, and what work has been completed so far?
Describe how you've setup your experiment or pilot, sharing your key focuses so far and including links to any background research or past learning that has guided your decisions. List and describe the activities you've undertaken as part of your project to this point.
In the project development stage, our team reached at the 3 main conclusions: a) Local Wikipedia development in Mongolia is poor and slow. b) Local educational systems need quality improvement. c) Local educational institutions are not aware of local Wikipedia therefore not aware of many creative and effective educational tools in addition to variety of information sources. In the project implementation stage, our main activities are focused on following areas: a) To test a counter stimulative approach that local Wikipedia development and local educational system quality improvement feed each other’s progresses b) To explore Wikipedia-based effective lessons b) To carry out a pilot project and a pilot research study to improve both systems (Local Wikipedia and local educational system).
- According to our pilot survey research among initial six schools students, the English language courses are one of the main interest areas. It is true among the wider educational community too. As we all know, there are very rich English Wikipedia offline modules including the Wiki-dump files and Kiwix. We chose Kiwix as more fitting with our current project approach. We chose English class and our key researcher Khandjav Terbish who is professional English teacher and is very well experienced and handled excellently of our English lessons development and launching them with 10 schools.
- We recruited Mongolian Teachers University students as our project volunteers and it gave us good first hand testing research base to adjust our sub-level strategies. Plus many of them were from rural towns origin hence it gave us good perspectives for future rural level offline Wikipedia distribution. The all volunteers did student teaching internships at local public schools according to their university teaching program.
- The distributed Wikipedia DVD is not only included some versions of offline Wikipedia but included: a) selected literatures from the Project Gutenberg; b) usefull free manuals like legal guidebooks, ecological guidebooks, car repair guidebooks etc's; c) smartphone apps that are free or trial version that all are in educational subject; d) interesting free or public source maps.
We observed that these various educational materials were popular among students: a) it acted like a mini internet and a library corner b) it increased student’s curiosity and further in-depth investigations.
- Developed local interest fitting Wikipedia DVD;
- Conducted a survey research at 6 public schools and learned current real trends, will take another 4 or 5 units of questionnaire at the end of the project;
- Distributed DVDs to 10 public schools. Following schools are our project participants and located in the capital city Ulaanbaatar: 23rd, 31st, 33rd, 48th, 52nd, 53rd, 58th, 68th, 92nd, 97th schools;
- Developed lessons that associated with Wikipedia DVD contents and current official curriculum;
- The project staffs and volunteers are working at the public schools conducting on site educational training research at 10 schools.
As the key goals of our project are to reach more readers/users/prospective editors of local Wikipedia and to increase the awareness of local Wikipedia, we realized the local district libraries are one of the key players for such effort. We delivered 500 sets out of the planned 620 sets to the 10 schools, and remaining 100 sets will be distributed to the district libraries. (the each dvd delivery got documented by both parties or a delivery slip got produced) While schools are closed during summer, local libraries are open year around therefore the sets will be available for the interested patrons. The remaining 20 sets of DVDs used as spares and promotional item for project partners.(total 620 sets or 1240pcs)
What are the results of your project or any experiments you’ve worked on so far?
Please discuss anything you have created or changed (organized, built, grown, etc) as a result of your project to date.
- A fresh educational Wikipedia DVD is created and delivered to 10 public schools from 3 different and some DVDs will be distributed to various district libraries for more project exposure.
- The project team has researched important trends through the questionnaire from 6 public schools, and remaining more questionnaires will be taken at the end of project activity to reveal more in-depth exploration.
- The Wikipedia DVD-based English class teachings are going on at 10 public schools and the project team is studying the process on the sites as of now.
- The local educators’ community has accepted our project’s intention and our DVD very positively.
Please take some time to update the table in your project finances page. Check that you’ve listed all approved and actual expenditures as instructed. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided there to explain them.
Then, answer the following question here: Have you spent your funds according to plan so far? Please briefly describe any major changes to budget or expenditures that you anticipate for the second half of your project.
- The funds spent according to plan and some portion of the fund is returning and some portion is remained for planned spending.
- The social security tax was added and charged for us unexpectedly for second and third rows of the budget so we will request budget adjustment or addition for that.
- There is additional posters printing and some typing cost budgets needed and we will request the budget for those.
The best thing about trying something new is that you learn from it. We want to follow in your footsteps and learn along with you, and we want to know that you are taking enough risks to learn something really interesting! Please use the below sections to describe what is working and what you plan to change for the second half of your project.
- Wikipedia-based learning is active learning therefore it is a student-centered learning.
- We learned the downtown area schools and pupils have more positive learning attitudes to active learning versus city outskirts area schools and pupils have relatively passive learning attitudes to active learning which affected us to change our approach very differently to those two types of learning attitudes.
- Based on our survey research, we learned that local educational communities lack in educational means and tools. This lack also showed during the DVD delivery process. We believe in our DVDs will play important role for especially English learning improvement operation for most schools.
- Nearly 15% of students access Wikipedia to do their homework which provides very encouraging perspective for our project solutions possibilities.
What are the challenges
What challenges or obstacles have you encountered? What will you do differently going forward? Please list these as short bullet points.
- To most of the participating pupils, online or offline Wikipedia-based learning is new approach. All of them were excited and interested to attend in the lessons, however this interest is not long-term, short-lived due to duration of the project as well as the passive learning attitude.
- Training Managers were on-site contact administrators at the schools. Several Training Managers were negligent even though initial contact and communications were pleasant. Most of the Training Managers were very supportive.
What is working well
What have you found works best so far? To help spread successful strategies so that they can be of use to others in the movement, rather than writing lots of text here, we'd like you to share your finding in the form of a link to a learning pattern.
- Our project strategic deployment or penetration is gone very successful that all Wikipedia DVDs accepted very well with the educational community and our developed English lessons are in process of getting taught at 10 schools.
- 70% of schools are willing to try and engage with almost any kind of DVD or any digital related learning solutions while 30% of schools are highly enthusiastic about this.
- Well planned, highly engaging and content-rich Wikipedia-based lessons are more favorable.
- Distributing DVD media that offers combined offline Wikipedia modules with other different free digital educational modules is working well that because such DVDs are able to match multiple types of educational demands from diverse groups of educational users.
Next steps and opportunities
What are the next steps and opportunities you’ll be focusing on for the second half of your project? Please list these as short bullet points. If you're considering applying for a 6-month renewal of this IEG at the end of your project, please also mention this here.
- The next step of the project is to launch more Wikipedia-based activities among students and teachers and provide Wikipedia applications and editing trainings to the schools and distribute guidebooks to the students.
- At the final stage the project team will integrate whole process into educational development method and process design and will present it to the Ministry of Education as a recommendation.
- We would like to request 10 months of renewal (or maybe apply through the Simple Grant option if that application way is applicable with us). We believe 10 months renewal will work best because the school year duration is 9.5 months, it starts in September 1st and ends by June 10th, but school staffs begins to work during August 20th. And starting on August 1st will give us important task force preparation and project development preparation period.
We learned that our project duration match with the school year duration will give us following advantages: a) full time project staff and designated researcher availability.b) more comprehensive Wikipedia-based lessons that covers consecutive topics that includes Wikipedia writing/editing assignments. c) wider community participation including parents and interested local intellectuals in the lesson-planning as well as in-class activities in addition to homework assignments.
And this can be done within the manageable funding limit according to our initial current pilot level of operation.
We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on how the experience of being an IEGrantee has been so far. What is one thing that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed from the past 3 months?
- The most exciting reflection through our project implemention process was offering newer learning tools that based on Wikpedia to the educational community was creating very positive and creative atmosphere for both ways.
- Especially city outskirts schools are really appreciative of our Wikipedia DVD.
- These offline Wikipedia DVD distribution is very important first step to develop the local micro level of Wikipedia into more useful encyclopedia level maybe with 100 000 articles. Plus attracting the educational community from right angle with offline Wikipedia was a crucial way to launch initial pathway for local Wikipedia development.
- And we highly appreciate that our local Wikipedia got chance to have this important development support from the WMF.