Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/2019 Community Conversations/Strategy Salons/Reports/Wikimedia UK Youth Salon
Date and location
Thursday 12th September at Menai Science Park (M-SParc)in Anglesey
26 students participated, all between 16 and 18 years old who had completed their WJEC Community Challenge, as part of their Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification. 60% of the group were female and all were Welsh speakers.
The Salon was a joint partnership between Menter Iaith Môn and Wikimedia UK. Wales has a population of 3 million and the Welsh language is spoken by around 600,000 fluent speakers. WiciMon was set up by Menter Iaith Mon and Wikimedia UK in Spring 2017 and received grants by Horizon, Wikimedia UK and the Welsh Government.
In 2018 the Wikipedia Community Challenge was accepted by the examination board of Wales, WJEC, and the first tranche of students, led and trained by Aaron Morris (WiciMon Coordinator) participated in the Summer of 2019.
The Salon not only celebrated their successful completion of the Challenge, but also placed Wikipedia into a wider context of the Wikimedia projects, future technology and the Wikimedia movement’s global strategy to 2030. Each student had been trained to edit Wikipedia by Aaron, and how to train others. The Salon was a chance for everyone to reflect on what worked well and what was not so successful, what problems they had, and suggested solutions, as well as attempting to look into the crystal ball of Wikipedia in 2030. Where are we now, where do we want to go and how do we get there?
The day comprised of two presentations and six activities. With the exception of the presentation from Daria Cybulska, which was in English, this was a Welsh language event.
Daria Cybulska, Director of Programmes and Evaluation from Wikimedia UK, outlined the challenge set by the Wikimedia movement strategy and presented the 2030 video. Professor Emeritus Deri Tomos from Bangor University also congratulated the pupils for their achievement, and gave an inspirational, heart warming talk about why he is editing the Welsh Wikipedia.
These presentations were followed by a range of more interactive, discursive activities with the students.
Summary of the discussion points
The activities delivered, and responses from students, are detailed below.
Two pupil-led brainstorming activities: on the meaning and importance of Diversity and on the most important modern technologies, apps etc used by their age group The following were noted: Wikipedia! Alexa, Spotify, Netflix, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, Twitter. (evidence: photo 8467 + Stick-notes) It was mentioned that these two would be a crucial interweaving thread in all other activities which followed. (evidence: 2 x photos of the whiteboard)
What’s good about Wikipedia? The following responses were written on stick-on-notes by the pupils: “Anyone can access it!”; “Everyone can edit it!”; “It’s free!”; “It’s big and important!”, “Universities think that having editing Wikipedia on the Welsh Bacc was of major importance, as I had included it in my CV and personal statement!”, “WP gives you the freedom to add the subject of your choice!”; “Excellent resource for schools and universities!” and “You publish on-the-fly, without having to publish in a conventional / print way.”
What problems did you encounter on Wicipedia (WP)? “People in parts of Africa and Asia can’t access it!”; “Some teachers said that some facts on WP are wrong!”; “Editing is difficult… in the beginning.”; “Some teachers said that some facts on WP are wrong!”; “Difference between mages on Fair Use and images on Commons is impossible to understand!”; “Passwords are easily forgotten!”, “Infoboxes!”; “difficult to edit WP on Mobile version of WP!” and “Some people can’t afford internet access.” Also as a reader: “Not enough info” and “Too much info” on some articles. (Photo: 8473 + 8474)
How can we solve these difficulties in the future? Suggested solutions: A better way to double-check the info; an easier way to place references; an easier Wizard on Commons AND a Wizard on the Welsh wikipedia, not just an ‘Upload’ button; use fingerprint recognition (or similar) to login; limit sources to only recognised solid sources; we need to help countries which don’t have internet access; and arrange INSET training for teachers on the reliability of WP! Wikipedia can grow with the pupil, so that more and more info is shown as our knowledge improves (“Living Wiki”). (Evidence: Flip-chart sheet)
How can we enrich the big-world apps and media with Wicipedia? Suggested solutions: include a clickable ‘W’ link on Snapchat and most popular apps; link on Netflix text for further information; same with Spotify, SnapChats, Instagram and Facebook for further info; barcode goods in shops eg on unusual fruit labels.
What do you know about the other Wikimedia projects? Here we focused on one of the main problems outlined by many of the students: using Wikidata on Wikipedia and the when to upload onto Wikimedia Commons (e.. 100 year old photo) and cy-Wikipedia (album covers on Fair Use Licence). Ironically, these two biggest problems raised by the students were about integrating other projects (Wikidata and Commons) into an article. We then focused on these, also bringing in the wider, global context.
Licensing open/closed A . Who creates? Poet, artist, sculptor... B. Arrange open-ness of licences (examples) in a timeline (photo 8526) with open (CC)) on the left and full Crown Copyright on the right C. Why be open? Why use a closed licence?
Imagine the Wikipedia of the future (in group discussions; evidence mind-maps and paper lists). Feedback included:
- Articles would be read out in a clear human voice (choice of gender), thus helping partially sighted people and Welsh learners. Voice-wiki could also be through a pair of glasses, phone
- More / Less info would appear, depending on the ability / age of the reader or ‘receiver of that information.
- Live-chat helpline enabled; integrated withing the Wikipedia window. Experienced, logged-on editors’ usernames would appear, so that a live discussion could happen (as happens on other websites such as insurance or buying a car).
- A simple 5 minute illustrative film could be placed at the top of each article with a synopsis of the content. Wiki-Video was discussed.
- Enable translation of the Welsh Wikipedia into all other languages, so that unbiased info about Wales is available to all.
- Subjects on the Welsh Curriculum should be enhanced, with quizzes, games as options, for revision.
- Toggle between ability of the reader: less / more info; then automate this into a ‘Live Wiki’ which grows with the reader.
- Include a spell-checker (eg Bangor Uni’s ‘Cysill’) into the edit window.
- Create more articles on women; keep the existing parity!!! How? Get in touch with women’s groups and universities and train!
- Get WP onto other platforms: Alexa (already done by Bangor University), QR Codes, VR (“too limited”) SoundCloud, Spotify, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok etc. Augmented Reality - geotagging and creating 3D characters to present the article (already on Layar) - “Hi! My name is Buddicia Keltica, and I’d like to tell you about this burial chamber behind me… look at this stone here with inscriptions...”
- 5 minute interviews with live, Welsh people who are on Wikipedia (“What’s you background? Do you have a hobby? What’s the most important work you’ve done? What will you do tomorrow?...) “When they die, it’s too late!”
- Release more images, audio files, videos from all Welsh institutions (Cadw and the Museums in Wales were mentioned)
- One group discussed the partnership with Jordan, which produced >70 new articles, and backed co-operating with other countries.
At the end of the day, participants were shown a short video about Sinenjongo High School in Africa, in which pupils were asking for help to access Wikipedia from their cell-phones without a subscription to a mobile provider. See: https://blog.wikimedia.org/2013/11/08/open-letter-free-access-wikipedia-south-africa/
All students agreed that Wikipedia was the education platform of the future and that the day had produced “lots of important ideas which should be implemented NOW!” One group asked if we could get together again (“maybe in 6 months or a year”) to see if things were moving forward.
Feedback received on the day included: group discussions, stick-on-notes, mind-maps, pupils presented examples of their work on the computer, acting and draft posters.
Overall summary of discussion points:
- Wikipedia’s main problems are simplifying the infoboxes from Wikidata and fair use photos not on Commons,
- Creating short videos as intros and synopsis of articles
- Simplifying references
- Getting WP onto other platforms
- Releasing content from the National Museum of Wales, Cadw etc
- Keeping the gender parity and getting more female editors
- Live-wiki (self-learning wiki) which grows with the user / simple Welsh WP
- Partnerships with other countries (live video to discuss articles etc)
- Create projects with other countries with video links so that we can “chat about which articles on Wales we would like in their language etc”
Reflections from participants or partners
Aaron Morris (WikiMon Coordinator): It was great to have three pupils from last year’s WiciMon module to participate in discussions. One feedback that deserves mention is that from a pupil in an interview for University placement, when he mentioned ‘editing Wikipedia’, and the interviewer was very impressed about his mention of adding references to sources on Wikipedia. Two out of the three pupils gave feedback back to the rest of the class and were aversked questions on their past experiences taking part in the module. The workshop was also a great opportunity to share experiences of those who participated in the module this year: what worked and what didn’t. This will be very useful, so that I can go back and revise the module’s structure, with one eye on future technology.
Robin Owain (Wales Manager, Wikimedia UK): Thanks to WiciMon, all pupils had basic editing skills, and this Salon introduced the global context. Feedback is very, very relevant and shows that young people have a clear vision of where Wikipedia should go. After outlining their main problems and obstacles, solutions were found, and a path into the future was drawn up. The good practice by school children of Ynys Mon and Gwynedd should be developed, cascaded into all other schools in Wales and the rest of the world.
Daria Cybulska (Director of Programmes and Evaluation, Wikimedia UK): Welsh Wikipedia is 16 this year. Looking into the future, the global community wants to keep it growing and stay relevant to learners and readers world-wide. So we need to change and adapt - but to know how to do that, we need to talk to the future audiences. People who will be future Wikipedians should tell us how this project should look like in the future. That’s why we set up this Youth Strategy Salon.
It was very exciting to see some of the ideas coming out of the discussions, such as embedding Wikipedia information in third party websites already used by the students. I was also very interested in the idea of Wikipedia ‘growing with the pupil’, with any article dynamically changing, increasing complexity along the growing skill of the reader. Thank you to everyone that contributed and discussed with us!
Photographs or videos
Statement on your budget
Wikimedia UK received a total grant of $2550 (£1980) for the two salons that we ran, including one community dinner and this youth salon event.
For the youth salon, we spent (in pounds):
£409 on catering £281.45 on travel and accommodation £450.00 on videography (which we will share when available) 100.00 on the venue (a discounted fee secured by our partners, Menter Mon) This is a total of 1,240.45