Grants:Project/Wikipedia and the Aotearoa New Zealand History Curriculum/Midpoint

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midpoint report

Template:Project Grant report/Midpoint/report accepted

Welcome to this project's midpoint report! This report shares progress and learning from the first half of the grant period.

The report for this project has been completed and can be read here:


We have made solid progress on the project so far, despite COVID related disruptions which have resulted in the project being run remotely for all but two weeks. From August to December Auckland, where the project team is based, was in a strict stay at home COVID lockdown. This was lifted for the Xmas holidays, and the project team worked in-person for a couple of weeks in early January. We are now back in a remote working situation likely for the remainder of the project.

The first part of the project is complete which has involved establishing the project team, refining the project brief and researching and drafting a literature review. The second part, which involves engaging with teachers directly, is underway.

The changing COVID situation in New Zealand has required us to be agile with our planning and way of working, but despite this we have adapted well and made good progress. We are confident that the report will be completed by the due date.

Methods and activities[edit]

The main output for this project is a report with two parts to it, (1) a literature review and (2) a survey and discussion with teachers about the suitability of using Wikipedia in their classrooms for teaching the new Aotearoa NZ Histories Curriculum next year.

What we have worked on so far has been internal processes to recruit a researcher to undertake this work, desk research for a literature review and putting together a survey to send out to teachers.

We were extremely fortunate to recruit an experienced and now retired academic, Mark Sheehan, as our researcher for this project. He is a respected researcher and can draw on long-standing ties with the teaching profession here in New Zealand to amplify the reach and impact of this work.

As well as desk research Mark has spent time meeting with other Museum staff learning about different aspects of the Museum’s work in online engagement and education, meeting with external members of the project team (Dr Nina Hood, Auckland University) and discussing the project formally and informally with teachers. We are also currently in the process of organizing on-line interviews and workshops with teachers.

There has also been some work being undertaken parallel to this project. James Taylor, the Project Manager took part in the Wikimedia Foundation Education team’s Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom Training of the Trainers programme, gaining certification to roll out this programme to local teachers. And the Museum’s Wikimedian in Residence, Marty Blayney, has been editing and creating pages which can be used as ‘ideal types’ of the sort of resources that can be made available for teaching local history (see below).

Midpoint outcomes[edit]

The results so far encompass the draft literature review and survey that we are shortly sending out to teachers. Some of the themes that have come through in the literature review include:

  • A lack of diversity in editors and topics in Wikipedia, and how this can be addressed by growing a younger multi-cultural generation of editors
  • The value of Wikipedia for students in international studies
  • That the alleged lack of reliability in Wikipedia has not been borne out by successive studies
  • The utility of Wikipedia to enable critical thinking skills in students
  • The possibility of using Wikipedia in the classroom to facilitate the creation of online content, not just its consumption.

In general, the original scope of the project remains the same, however the method of undertaking it has shifted completely online. This has meant a lot of Zoom/MS Teams sessions between project team members and other internal and external stakeholders.

We are also changing our original plan to hold workshops at the museum, and these instead will be online sessions. While we won’t have the same level of personal interaction with teachers it does offer some more benefits in terms of flexibility of scheduling and shorter, more focused sessions.

While adjacent to this project, the outcome of the Training of the Trainers course was a detailed project plan for implementing Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom workshops with local teachers. And some of the pages created and edited by Marty were featured on the main page of Wikipedia in the last two months, with one of them, Māngere Bridge, New Zealand, receiving GA status. While these are not direct outputs of this project, they provide a base for later work in this area in the coming years.


The current project budget has been updated.

At 5 February (the last Museum payrun) we have used 250 out of 450 hours of salary for the researcher, which matches the mid-point of the project cycle. (250 hrs at NZD$35 = NZD$8750).

We also have $2k from the Museum that we had budgeted for in-person workshops. With these not going ahead we are considering options for koha for teachers/schools who participate in our face-to-face interviews.


What are the challenges[edit]

  • Remote working! We have been in various forms of COVID enforced working from home for much of this project. This has meant spending a lot of time on video calls organising the project.
  • Different levels of COVID restrictions. We have gone from strict stay at home situation to looser restrictions, back to working from home, which has meant some contingency planning, particularly around the best ways to engage teachers.
  • Both remote working and changing COVID rules will continue, so we need to adapt where possible and be flexible with our planning.

What is working well[edit]

Next steps and opportunities[edit]

  • Sending survey out to teachers via professional networks
  • Analysis of survey results
  • Running one on one and group interviews with teachers
  • Writing up final report, including literature review, survey and interview findings
  • Promoting findings of research via social media channels
  • Publishing blog on project findings on Museum website for local GLAM sector and general public audience
  • Publishing article in applied learning journal for education professionals

Grantee reflection[edit]

I mentioned above that one of the challenges we have had is that the project has been primarily run online for the whole period, bar a couple weeks in the office. Despite this I’ve enjoyed many really interesting conversations about the project and learning about people in general. Most of these have been getting to know Mark Sheehan better, but also meeting and getting to know some of the WMF staff as well as part of this project grant and the Training of the Trainers programme. So, while I have spent most of my time in my home office, I have been lucky to have the opportunity to talk to and get to know people better here in New Zealand and around the world, which is a testament to the cosmopolitan nature of the Wikipedia movement.