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Research:Using Wikipedia for educational purposes in Estonia: The students′ and teachers′ perspective

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17:29, 25 September 2022 (UTC)
Duration:  2022-August – 2024-May
This page documents a completed research project.


This research seeks to examine the use of Vikipeedia (Estonian language version of Wikipedia) in Estonian schools for educational purposes both from the students' and teachers' perspectives. The focus is on how students use Vikipeedia both inside and outside the classroom and how teachers have used Vikipeedia's potential for educational purposes. The research will have a direct impact on the local Wikimedia community in Estonia supporting their educational activities. It also gives a strong foundation to carry on the further studies both in general education schools and universities.

Literature review[edit]

Over the past two decades, there has been an increasing amount of literature on Wikipedia. Several studies have investigated the use of Wikipedia for educational purposes both at school and at university. The focus has been on information skills[1], critical evaluation skills[2], writing skills[3], research skills[4], digital skills[5] etc. Some studies deal with universal topics that are not related to cultural background or language[6], while some have focused on using Wikipedia in more specific contexts[7]. Regardless of the specific topic, most studies have a strong pedagogical implication.

Although the use of Wikipedia for educational purposes has been extensively studied in different countries and languages, so far only little is known about the situation in Estonia. In the academic year of 2010/2011 Wikimedia Eesti questioned students and teachers from 15 general education schools (the project "Vikipeedia koolides"), but the results were not published. In 2019, Reinsalu and her colleagues analyzed in their research how to develop university students’ writing skills through Vikipeedia-based writing tasks.[8] This was followed by a case study on using Vikipeedia-based writing tasks in a written communication course (Reinsalu, under review). The lack of research studies on the Estonian context indicates that we know very little about the use of Vikipeedia for educational purposes. Considering that schools determine the attitude towards Vikipeedia and willingness to contribute to its development, it is important to study how Vikipeedia is used in general education schools.

There is great potential in implementing Vikipeedia as a collaborative web environment for educational purposes in Estonia because Estonia tends to identify itself as an e-state (e-Estonia). Estonian schools got their first computers and internet connection already two decades ago. Students gain their first experience using the internet either in primary school (40.4%) or earlier (39%)[9]. 2014 marks the year of the Digital Turn in Schools program, which led to the increasing use of various e-resources in teaching: e-learning environments, e-textbooks, e-assignments and e-exams, regular e-learning days etc. From 2020, schools are able to provide general education using only e-materials. This means that the necessary technical conditions have been created to implement Vikipeedia for educational purposes.

Additionally, over the last decade, Estonian schools have made an effort to follow the principles of new literacy. According to those principles, teaching reading and writing is a socio-cultural phenomenon[10] that requires adaptation to societal change and offering a meaningful learning experience for students[11]. New literacy is characterized by multimodality, use of authentic texts, dialogical feedback, diverse communication channels, collaborative writing and content sharing[12]. As Vikipeedia article corresponds well to these features, it provides an opportunity to develop a variety of Vikipeedia-based reading and writing tasks and apply them in the teaching process.

Research design[edit]


1st study. The objective was to explore students' experiences of using Wikipedia in the educational context.

2nd study. The objective was to investigate Vikipeedia's educational potential from the teacher's perspective.

Data collection[edit]

1st study. Data were collected between December 2022 and January 2023 using a multipart questionnaire that included closed and open questions. The sample consisted of 428 students, 47 of whom did not complete the questionnaire, and their answers were therefore omitted. The final sample consisted of 381 students, 121 of whom studied in grade 9 and 260 in grade 12. 11 schools from different regions of Estonia were integrated to the study.

2nd study. 11 semi-structured interviews were conducted between November 2022 and February 2023 with 49 teachers whose students completed the questionnaire (1st study). The sample included the different subject teachers who have used or whose students have used Wikipedia for educational purposes.

As background information for both studies serves the data collected by Wikimedia Eesti in the academic year 2010/2011. The sample of the project consisted of 9th and 12th graders from 15 general education schools.[13] Although the previous questionnaire was different in structure and type, it still provides valuable comparative data and may reveal significant similarities and differences from over a decade ago.

Data analysis[edit]

1st study. The closed questions of the questionnaire were analyzed with simple descriptive statistics and the open-ended questions using thematic analysis.

2nd study. The data collected by semi-structured interviews were analyzed in the framework of qualitative content analysis with QCAMap software.


  • August - October 2022 - Reviewing the literature, preparing the pilot survey/interview, preparing the documents for Research Ethics Committee, contacting with the schools (completed)
  • November 2022 - January 2023 - Conducting the questionnaire surveys and focus group interviews at schools (completed)
  • February 2023 - Analyzing data (completed)
  • March 2023 - Writing and editing the articles (completed)
  • April 2023 - Submitting the articles for publishing (completed)
  • May 2023 - ...

1st study.

  • April 10, 2023 - We submitted the article for publishing in the education science journal
  • May 18, 2023 - We received reviews to revise and resubmit the article
  • May 27, 2023 - We submitted the revised article to the journal
  • June 4, 2023 - The article has been accepted for publication
  • June 7, 2023 - The article has been published in Education Sciences

2nd study.

  • April 19, 2023 - We submitted the article for publishing in the applied linguistics journal
  • June 15, 2023 - The article is still under review. The journal has received one review, which will be shared with the project team when the other reviews have been received.
  • August 18, 2023 - The journal sent the following email to the first author of the article: "Please note due to technical issues and a recent influx of papers there may be a delay to processing your manuscript. The editorial team are working incredibly hard to process manuscripts as quickly as possible and we thank you for your patience."
  • From September to November 2023 - We tried several times to contact the journal editor to obtain information about the review process and the withdrawal of the article, but we did not receive any response to our requests.
  • November 21, 2023 - We made contact with from the Journal Editorial Office member who forwarded our request to the editor of our article and will get back to us again once she receives a response.
  • December 7, 2023 - Since the editor did not respond to our emails anymore, we informed the journal that we are withdrawing the article.
  • December 12, 2023 - We submitted the article for publishing in the education science journal
  • December 25, 2023 - The journal sent reviews (Round 1, major revisions) with a request to revise and resubmit the article
  • January 3, 2024 - We submitted te revised article to the journal (Round 1)
  • January 9, 2024 - The journal sent reviews (Round 2, minor revisions) with a request to revise and resubmit the article
  • January 14, 2024 - We submitted te revised article to the journal (Round 2)
  • January 17, 2024 - The article has been published in Education Sciences

Policy, Ethics and Human Subjects Research[edit]

The research was approved by the Ethics Committee of University of Tartu Research Ethics Committee.


The results of the first study have been published in the journal Education Sciences: With or without Wikipedia? Integrating Wikipedia into the Teaching Process in Estonian General Education Schools.

The results of the second study have been published in the journal Education Sciences: Using Wikipedia to Develop 21st Century Skills: Perspectives from General Education Students.


Scientific publications

  • Lõhmus, M. (2023). Vikipeedia kasutus üldhariduskoolide õppetöös õpetajate vaates [The use of Wikipedia in general education school teaching from the teachers' perspective]. Bachelor thesis. University of Tartu. https://dspace.ut.ee/handle/10062/90660
  • Lõbus, E. (2023). Eesti üldhariduskoolide õpilaste Vikipeedia kasutusharjumused [Students' habits of using Wikipedia in Estonian general education schools]. Bachelor thesis. University of Tartu. https://dspace.ut.ee/handle/10062/91296
  • Reinsalu, R., Vija, M., Org, A., Siiman, A., & Remmik, M. (2023). With or without Wikipedia? Integrating Wikipedia into the Teaching Process in Estonian General Education Schools. Education Sciences, 13(6). http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/educsci13060583
  • Remmik, M., Siiman, A., Reinsalu, R., Vija, M., & Org, A. (2023). Using Wikipedia to Develop 21st Century Skills: Perspectives from General Education Students. Education Sciences, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010101

Non-scientific publications



  1. Calhoun, C. (2014). Using Wikipedia in information literacy instruction: Tips for developing research skills. College & Research Libraries News, 75(1), 32–33. doi:https://doi.org/10.5860/crln.75.1.9056.
  2. Harouni, H. (2009). High school research and critical literacy: Social studies with and despite Wikipedia. Harvard Educational Review, 79(3), 473–494.
  3. Vetter, M. A., McDowell, Z. J., & Stewart, M. (2019). From opportunities to outcomes: the Wikipedia-based writing assignment. Computers and Composition, 52, 53–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compcom.2019.01.008.
  4. Miller, J. (2014). Building academic literacy and research skills by contributing to Wikipedia: A case study at an Australian university. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 8(2), A72–A86.
  5. Brox, H. (2016). Troublesome tools: How can Wikipedia editing enhance student teachers’ digital skills? Acta Didactica Norge, 10(2), 329–346. https://doi.org/10.5617/adno.2493.
  6. Reilly, C. A. (2011). Teaching Wikipedia as a mirrored technology. First Monday, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i1.2824.
  7. Petrucco, C., & Ferranti, C. (2020). Wikipedia as OER: The “Learning with Wikipedia” project. Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society, 16(4), 38–45. https://doi.org/10.20368/1971-8829/1135322.
  8. Reinsalu, R., Zupping, S., & Voolaid, E. (2019). Üliõpilaste akadeemilise kirjaoskuse arendamine Vikipeedia ülesande kaudu. Eesti Haridusteaduste Ajakiri. Estonian Journal of Education, 7(2), 128–153. https://doi.org/10.12697/eha.2019.7.2.06.
  9. PISA 2018. Eesti tulemused. Eesti 15-aastaste õpilaste teadmised ja oskused funktsionaalses lugemises, matemaatikas ja loodusteadustes. Tallinn: Innove.
  10. Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2011). New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press.
  11. Willinsky, J. (2017). The new literacy: Redefining reading and writing in the schools. Routledge.
  12. Kallionpää, O. (2014). Mitä on uusi kirjoittaminen? Uusien mediakirjoitustaitojen merkitys. Media ja viestintä, 37(4), 60–78. https://doi.org/10.23983/mv.62840.
  13. https://et.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikipeedia:Vikipeedia_koolides