Learning patterns/Plan an education program pilot
What problem does this solve?
You might find that there are many educators who want to collaborate with you to use Wikimedia in the classroom, or you may have several ideas for education program models you want to try. While it might be appealing to start with several ‘experimental’ programs at once, you may not have the time or resources to support several projects. Starting with a pilot may help prevent volunteer burnout, and can help you identify the resources you will need to grow your program in the future.
What is the solution?
Start small and do everything you can to make your first classroom collaboration successful. Remember, even if you, the program leader, and the educator you are collaborating with are experienced Wikimedians, both of you are just learning how to incorporate Wikimedia projects into student assignments. You will run into problems and discover successful strategies. You can use these lessons to make changes to your program in the next term.
There are two primary reasons to start with a small pilot:
- Preserve goodwill with the community and with educators. Many things will go well, but some things will go wrong. Problems are easier to fix on a small scale. You risk losing the support of the community and educators who are interested in working with Wikimedia projects if their first experience is not good.
- It will make growing your program easier. Many program leaders said that one of the most powerful tools for growing their education programs is sharing local success stories that include data about student contributions. Lessons you learn in the pilot will also make working with new educators easier or less time consuming.
Basic steps for piloting an education project:
- Find one or two educators to work with. Try to work with a school where students will have access to internet and computers.
- Let the community know what you are going to do. This is a basic courtesy and a proven success strategy.
- Choose a program model that will work where you live.
- Choose training and outreach materials. Many useful teaching and outreach materials have been created by WMF and members of the community and have been translated into several languages.
- Help the educator plan the course.
- Create a course page. A course page organizes course information in a central location, on wiki, where students, educators, volunteers and the community can find it.
- Set goals for your program. At the pilot stage, collecting information about your program should be your primary goal.
- Choose a tool to track student work. There are several tools you can use to track and measure content that students create, making it easier to evaluate student work and how effective your program was.
- Evaluate your pilot. --learning pattern needed-- Did you achieve your goals? Was this worth your time?
- Get feedback. --learning pattern needed-- Ask educators and students what they liked about the project, and what they think should change.
Things to consider
Take advantage of ten years of education program leader experience when planning your pilot:
- Use a model that has worked in a context similar to yours.
- Check the bookshelf and resources pages of the Outreach portal for training materials.
- Pay attention to lessons learned by other Wikimedia volunteers.
When to use
When you are starting an education program or experimenting with new program models for the first time in a particular country, or working with a new age group.
- Starting with a small pilot program is a great way to identify problems that you didn't expect. It is also a great way to get new people involved in supporting or helping you with your program. The smaller size of the pilot generally means a smaller commitment of time and effort on their part, so they won't be too overwhelmed or intimidated by it. WikiWikiRoy (talk) 23:36, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
- samire 126.96.36.199 23:05, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
- Hello Sam Trump (talk) 01:51, 27 August 2018 (UTC)