Grants:Project/Rapid/Wiki In Africa/WikiAfrica Schools Colaboratory
WikiAfrica Schools assists schools in teaching students how to write curriculum-relevant articles for Wikipedia. Students learn how to do research, analyse outcomes, collaborate, write reports relevant for a global audience and develop the technical and editorial skills necessary to add content on local subjects to Wikipedia. The project uses WikiFundi, the offline editing environment that mimics the experience of editing Wikipedia, to navigate context-specific challenges (specifically the lack of stable internet access and the need for a staging process from drafting to uploading).
The programme helps teachers to introduce online knowledge systems to their students and teach them how they work. The programme helps students to acquire key ICT skills. Most importantly, it teaches critical thought through the emphasis on referencing, citations and writing for neutrality. Additionally, the students benefit by being part of a global movement and learn that their engagement and knowledge is both valued and valuable.
An exhaustive study showed that including Wikipedia-based assignments in the teaching programme provides students with valuable digital and information literacy knowledge, researching sills, experience writing for a public audience, practice with teamwork, and the development of technology skills. The report found that students are more motivated by these assignments than traditional curricula, as they spent more time on the projects, and saw the usefulness of the work beyond a learning task, which resulted in more pride in their work.
WikiFundi was developed by the principals of Wiki In Africa to counter the challenges education organisations face with regards to data costs (which are comparatively very high in Africa), consistent internet access and power outages. The WikiFundi offline editing environment is then used by educators and students to explore local subjects, using relevant aspects of the existing curriculum as a base, to contribute to Wikipedia, which in turn allows teachers to develop and strengthen their curriculum-aligned teaching.
In its current proof-of-concept (pilot) phase in South Africa, the project is training and supporting two learning institutions: the African School of Excellence (ASE) and the Global Teacher Institute’s Future Leaders at LEAP Schools helping them integrate the creation of Wikipedia articles into their teaching plans.
The WikiFundi devices are donated to each participating organisation. On each device is a host of offline education resources, including Wikipedia, Wiktionary, WikiSource and Wikiquote, in addition to the WikiFundi environment that mimics the processes required to contribute to Wikipedia offline. These knowledge resources are especially critical to schools that don’t have libraries or access to them. Partnering institutions receive in-depth training for teachers and ongoing support – both remotely and on-Wiki – during the first three months of the integration programme.
Now mid-way through the proof-of-concept in South Africa, feedback shows that the WikiAfrica Schools programme has been enthusiastically received by the partners, teachers and students.
South Africa has a very specific (although far from ideal) and government-led school system. The programme has the ability to expand across this country and the continent. It is important that any planned scale and rollout is a collaboration with schools bodies and NGOs and groups already working within the education sector, as we are looking to run the programme in other countries in Africa under different school conditions. As such, we are approaching funders to support a phased proof-of-concept across various school types and socio-political challenges across the Southern African region.
What we are asking for
The purpose of the Rapid Grant request is to host intensive consultative process - or a colaboratory – during which participants both share the lessons learnt through the WikiAfrica Schools initial process and discuss the full potential and possibilities of the on-going project with stakeholders in the education sector in South Africa. The purpose of the event is twofold:
- To gain visibility among key players in the South African education sector with regards to the potentials of contributing to and editing Wikipedia as part of each school’s programme;
- To get valuable input, feedback and information about the future scope and scale of WikiAfrica Schools, in order to collaboratively build the next phase of the programme.
- Create visibility for Wikipedia as a means to develop students’ ICT and critical thinking skills with key people within the education movement
- Introduce key stakeholders to working with Wikipedia and WikiFundi as an educational tool
- Introduce stakeholders to the WikiAfrica Schools programme
- Consult with stakeholders on the future of the programme in South Africa, and beyond.
The purpose of this Rapid Grant request is to support a meeting with stakeholders to introduce the WikiAfrica Schools project and plan the future of the project.
Key activities include:
- Introduce key actors of the NGO education and relevant related sectors to the WikiAfrica Schools programme,
- Invite, introduce and persuade key identified stakeholders to attend the workshop and ideation session,
- Collate key local and global information to share with stakeholders,
- Share key lessons and outcomes from current WikiAfrica Schools programme,
- Collate feedback on the WikiAfrica Schools programme and its future opportunities from stakeholders attending the sessions,
- Create a report on the event and its outcomes, and
- Create a long-term project plan detailing WikiAfrica Schools rollout across South Africa.
Initial session with a select group of role players and potential supporters
- Attendance: no more than 10 people in total
- Purpose: to plant the seed so that key people have time to consider the project before the main workshop
- Content: share the status of the project and explain the challenges and opportunities
- Method: a scenario planning exercise to envision some roll-out options
- Feedback: participants to give us their feedback after the event
Main workshop with a larger group of role players and potential supporters
- Attendance: no more than 30 people in total
- Purpose: to till the soil by getting people to work with the underlying issues of why the project is important, which role it can play in society and how to make it real
- Content: share the status of the project and explain the challenges and opportunities
- Method: use a hackathon-style process to envision and plan by dividing into multi-disciplinary teams to design some roll-out options
Report back session with a ‘jury’ of role players and critical thinkers
- Attendance: consisting of 4-5 people + organisers
- Purpose: to share the design plans with critical thinkers who will provide their outside expertise and insight
- Content: share the status of the project, the underlying issues and explain the challenges, but this time without the opportunities as the teams will present their own
- Method: we will use a ‘pitch competition’ styled process where the teams will have 5 minutes to present their plans, and then the jury will have 5 minutes for Q&A
- As opposed to a regular pitch competition, we won’t declare a winner, but instead encourage input from all parties that will then be refined and a final vote on the way forward.
Stakeholder and community engagement
Education in South Africa is a vast, contentious, and political space. There are many challenges, and as such a great deal of complexity. It makes no sense for us to work in a silo on this project. It has to be done in collaboration with organisations that are already in and have already navigated the sector successfully. The project has enormous potential to assist on many different facets and in many different ways. Consulting with key members of the education environment is vital. The invited audience will include:
- Existing partners of the programme
- Education-based NGOs
- Teacher and principal networks
- Local funding bodies with projects invested in the education-focussed NGO sector
- Local government education department
- University-based academics working in this sector
- Cultural-based institutions
The WikiAfrica Schools project is already featured on en.wikipedia. We have been discussing the project with Michael Graaf (a member of Wikimedia ZA) and the Chapter will be invited to attend, as will the WMF education members.
What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project?
The event will be done in three sections - a training/editing event; a consultative workshop with stakeholders; and an additional day to craft the project plan.
- Training event: Key members in the education sector introduced to WikiAfrica Schools programme and able to understand the benefits of, and the complexities involved in, including Wikipedia programmes within high schools.
- Consultative workshop: A deeper understanding of the logistics and other factors involved with integrating WikiAfrica Schools programme in the general education system in South Africa
- Crafting final long-term project plan: The ability to apply this knowledge to a structured, collaborative plan for the future of WikiAfrica Schools in South Africa
- Number of total participants: 30-35, from a diverse group of stakeholders
- Organisations committed to ongoing collaboration with the project: 5
- A strategic and realistic phased long-term, multi-country project (beginning in South Africa and then expanding through the region), community activating and communications plan to implement the project: 1
Wiki In Africa is organising the project and the workshop. The WikiAfrica Schools has been (and will continue to be) developed in collaboration with the Moleskine Foundation. The attendance of Florence Devouard is achieved through the WikiAfrica Schools budget. The attendance of Adama Sanneh from the Moleskine Foundation is courtesy of their internal budget. The training and workshop will be facilitated with the help of a local, recognised workshop facilitator and educator, George Gabriel.
The total budget is: R81,500.00 The budget being requested from WMF is: ZAR 26,500.00 / USD 1,950.00
Budget for grant requested:
- Catering: R7500.00
- Venue: R2500.00
- Stationery: R1000.00
- Equipment, comms, data, etc. R2000.00:
- Local travel: R1,000.00
- Facilitator: R12,500.00
Additional elements covered by other funding (not included in this grant request):
- Flights: Florence and Adama: R30,000
- Accommodation: Florence - donated; Adama - courtesy of Moleskin Foundation
- Project management
Michaelgraaf (talk) 15:37, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
This is a very important initiative also linked to Wikimania taking place in South Africa in 2018. We need schools to be engaged to increase our Wikimedia outreach in South Africa, we need to involve relevant communities (also as attendees of Wikimania and volunteers at Wikimania) and we need to make sure the event Wikimania is well connected to institutions and people who can really continue and develop further Wikimedia related initiatives. Schools are key stakeholders. --iopensa (talk) 08:36, 27 October 2017 (UTC)