education

Wikimedia UK Education Summit #WMUKED17

Cross-posted from Wikimedia UK.

If you would like to attend, please sign up on the Eventbrite page.

The Wikimedia UK Education Summit takes place on February 20th at Middlesex University, London, in partnership with the University’s Department of Media.

It follows on from the successful 2016 Wikimedia UK Education Meetup. Wikimedians and educators working in schools, colleges, higher education and adult education met in Leicester to help inform the work of Wikimedia UK in relation to education, and connect to others using (or wanting to use) Wikimedia projects. The day showcased educators supporting learning and actively engaging learners using a range of projects, including Wikipedia, Wikisource and Wikidata.

This event will continue to build connections and share expertise in relation to Wikimedia UK’s work in formal education. Everyone is welcome – whether you are just getting started and want to find out more about how Wikimedia projects can support education, or you are an established open education champion!

Why should educators attend?

The day will open with two talks. Melissa Highton (Director of the Learning, Teaching and Web Services, University of Edinburgh) will talk about the benefits of appointing a Wikimedian in Residence. If your institution is looking for an effective, affordable and innovative way of actively engaging students and supporting staff development through real world knowledge projects, this is a not-to-be-missed talk!

Stefan Lutschinger (Associate Lecturer in Digital Publishing, Middlesex University) will talk about incorporating Wikipedia editing into the university curriculum. Stefan will cover the practical experience of using Wikimedia projects with formal learning communities.

There will be a range of workshops throughout the day – ideal for those looking for an introduction to specific projects, or to brush up on their skills. Workshops include Wikidata, Wikipedia in the Classroom (and using the Education Dashboard), and how to maximise the potential of a Wikimedian in Residence in a university setting. There will also be a session looking at identifying and curating Wikimedia project resources for educators, helping to support others across the UK. Alongside all of this will be a facilitated unconference space for attendees to discuss subjects not covered by the planned programme.

Please consider signing up here for a lightening talk (of up to five minutes) to share projects and ideas, or email karla.marte@wikimedia.org.uk.

What can Wikimedia UK offer educators?

Wikimedia UK is the national charity for the global Wikimedia movement and enables people and organisations to contribute to a shared understanding of the world through the creation of open knowledge. We recognise the powerful and important role formal education can and does play in relation to this, but also the challenges sometimes faced by educators in relation to institutional adoption and use of Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia.

This summit offers educators and Wikimedians in the UK the opportunity to work together to help learners and organisations connect and contribute to real world projects and to the global Wikimedia community.

Wikimedia UK can support educators in a wide range of ways: providing events, training, support, connecting communities to volunteers, and helping identify potential project funding.

Can’t make the summit, but want to be involved?

Become a Wikimedia UK member – membership is only £5 per year and provides a range of practical benefits – directly supporting the work of the organisation to make knowledge open and available to all, and being kept in touch about Wikimedia UK events, activities and opportunities. You can join online here.

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Wikimedia UK Education Meetup

Saturday 21 May 2016 saw Wikimedia UK volunteers and educators travel from across the UK to the City of Champions (and since you have an internet connection, you’ll know that’s Leicester).

I was fortunate enough to work with Fabian Tompsett, Wikimedia UK activist, volunteer and open education advocate, to co-organised the event. Supported and hosted by the Learning and Work Institute, the half-day meetup was designed to take open education in relation to Wikimedia projects forward across the schools, further education, higher education and adult education sectors.

Wikimedia Projects

Wikimedia UK is a charity that works with volunteers to support and promote active engagement with the wide range of Wikimedia projects – Wikipedia being of course the best known, since it consistently ranks as one of the most frequently visited sites globally. Like other Wikipedia projects, all of the content (text, images, multimedia, datasets) is typically in the public domain, or openly licensed (much under a Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike licence).

Wikipedia Wikipedia
Free-content encyclopedia
Wiktionary Wiktionary
Dictionary and thesaurus
Wikiquote Wikiquote
Collection of quotations
Wikinews Wikinews
Free-content news
Wikispecies Wikispecies
Directory of species
Wikibooks Wikibooks
Free textbooks and manuals
Wikisource Wikisource
Free-content library
Commons Commons
Shared media repository
Meta-Wiki Meta-Wiki
Wikimedia project coordination
MediaWiki MediaWiki
Free software development
Wikidata Wikidata
Free knowledge base
Wikivoyage Wikivoyage
Open travel guide

The event was designed to gather the Wikimedia education community – those currently involved in projects and volunteering, and to welcome newcomers. As a group we looked at the strengths of the organisation in relation to education, and to plan future initiatives.

Wikimedia UK and Education

The day started with an introduction from Wikimedia UK CEO Lucy Crompton-Reid.

This was followed by short presentations on and discussion about current and past education focused projects.

Connected Curriculum at University College London

Mira Vogal works with staff and students at University College London to plan, run and evaluate a range of digital education activities. Initiatives like UCL’s Connected Curriculum give students reasons to produce work “directed at an audience” and “out to the world”. Her talk Wikipedia includes the Talk and History pages, and corresponding articles in different languages. UCL Wikipedia work evaluations confirm that student activity depends heavily on their tutors’ lead, so sustaining Wikipedia work within a curriculum depends on how tutors understand the potential of Wikipedia and explain it to their students.

Wikimedia VLE

Charles Matthews has been a Wikimedia volunteer since 2003, working on Wikipedia, Wikisource and Wikidata projects. His talk focused on the Wikimedia UK Virtual Learning Environment project, which he leads on.

Wikipedia course work at Middlesex University

Stefan Lutschinger is a creative professional, curator, and lecturer in Media, Culture and Communications at Middlesex University. Stefan’s talk covered his experience of integrating Wikipedia into the MED3040 Publishing Cultures course at Middlesex.

Wikimedian in Wales

Jason Evans was appointed as Wikimedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales in January 2015. Since becoming a Wikipedian in residence Jason has organised public events and shared digital content and is now looking to take Wikipedia into schools and universities through a number of initiatives. His talk covered developing projects and building trust in order to engage schools and universities with Wikipedia.

Following the talks, we looked at some of the approaches to education Wikimedia UK staff and volunteers have established and how these could be promoted and improved. Things identified as particularly important and impactful included:

  • The Wikimedian in Residence programme – UK residencies have included the British Museum, the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the National Library of Wales, the Bodleian Library, and more recently, the University of Edinburgh
  • Wikimedia project training for specific events, groups, topics or interests
  • Train the trainer workshops
  • Wikipedia Editathons – for example the upcoming Protests and Suffragettes: Strong Women of the Clydeside Editathon
  • Resources – the projects and organisation have produced a wide range of resources, many of which are shared under open licence
  • Wikimedia UK run and related conferences and events, and global participation
  • The new Wikipedia in the Classroom programme which builds on successes and practice in relation to our work with education

Much of the conversation focused on how to raise the profile of activities and ensure that educational organisations and institutions were aware of the opportunities and benefits of working with the community and accessing expertise.

We then broke into smaller groups, structured around sectors, to more closely discuss current and future plans. The reports back were wide-ranging and identified a range of technical developments (including the ability for teachers to curate image and multimedia Wikimedia assets into themed sets), the importance of sector specific staff training and support, working with learners, the opportunities afforded by family learning, promoting and raising awareness of Wikimedia UK, and Wikidata and data literacy.

It was a rich and reflective day, marking the start of a renewed focus on education as a priority area for the organisation. Wether you are already involved in Wikimedia projects and education, or would like to connect to other educators and volunteers, get involved! You can sign up to the JISC Wikipedia mailing list (which is for anyone interested in education and Wikimedia projects), and check out Wikimedia UK upcoming events.

Membership is a great (and low cost!) way to keep in touch with and contribute to Wikimedia UK.

 

 

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Notes on the NYC Department of Education Social Media Guidelines

NYC laptop

NYC Department of Education (DOE) issued their Social Media Guidelines this week. As someone working to develop digital literacy for school staff and learners at city wide level in the UK, I'm of course very interested in the approach they've chosen to taken.

It's disappointing, although not surprising, to see that the media coverage of the guidelines was predominantly limited to negative framing of the friending issue – one of the least controversial elements of the guidance. That school staff should not friend learners (in particular, connect to learners existing personal accounts) on social media sites, is advice you'll find in the 2009 Cyberbullying: Supporting School Staff that I led on for the UK's Department of Children Schools and Families, on behalf of Childnet International.

Some of questions I asked myself when reading through were:

1. Does this policy help keep learners and staff safe? By that I don't mean, does it prevent them from doing anything that carries risk, but does it support them in recognising risk and managing risk, and responding to harm?

2. Does the policy support NYC staff who are already using social media productively and responsibly with their learners, for their own professional development, and/or for school communication and activity?

There are some great things going on in the NYC public sector – in Government, schools, museums and libraries – in terms of the social and educational use of technologies. And there will be DOE employees already using social media effectively and responsibly with their learners and for their own professional development – how does the guidance support them? My comments on the guidance are limited to how it reads as a stand alone document – there is reference to implementation activity but no detail.

3. Does the policy encourage staff and schools who don't currently use of social technologies to develop the skills and confidence to make critical and effective use of techniques and resources?

I've responded directly to the policy and reproduced it (without permission) here. I'm happy to take the DOE text policy text down if they'd like me to (please just ask); my comments are obviously clearer if you can read them in direct relation to the text. DOE text is in bold throughout, my comments in regular.

A warning for people clicking through – it's a long document.

My summery thoughts (aka 'the short version'):

Although the guidelines open with a positive statement about the potential of educators and schools use of social media to support learners, the content of the policy doesn't really support or develop this opening stance.

The broad approach is to draw a line between two kinds of engagement with social media – 'personal' and 'professional'. These are not defined particularly clearly, and the binary doesn't reflect most peoples – including learners and education employees – actual engagement with and experience of social media.   

This effectively de-legitimises existing practice that doesn't conform to the distinction of 'work/not work', and provides an extremely limited model of how technology might be used.

This post: Personal – Professional – Organisational: three basic online identities is useful in terms of my questions and arguments, but basically – organisational use of social media (what I do on behalf of my employer an in direct relation to my role as an employee) is not the same as professional use of social media (professional development or engagement activities relating to me as a professional, but not as an official employee or in an official capacity).

The guidelines decouple 'personal' and 'professional' use, and defines all 'organisational' activity as 'professional' activity. I'd argue this approach isn't a productive one. The guidelines risk stymieing the development of staff skills and confidence in the use of technology to support learning an learning communities; it doesn't attend to common safeguarding situations; it could potentially derail current effective practice; and I'd also say it oversteps the employee-employer relationship with regard to existing and new effective and responsible use of social media.

Additionally, the centralisation of regulating network activity is always going to be, at best, a very limited approach. There's a basic misunderstanding of the nature of networked activity going on if you think that the most effective way of addressing behaviour and safeguarding issues is not by supporting and prioritising whole community engagement and development. 

While official guidance is usually written by people who have a nuanced view of the complexity of their area, it's issued and often expected to be implemented by people who may have limited experience of the topic being addressed. It's crucial then to ensure any guidance is clear enough to not just end up being used by gatekeepers to discourage potentially positive activity.

Comments on NYC Department of Education Social Media Guidelines

photo credit: by Ed Yourdon, shared under a Creative Commons licence

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Purpos/ed Summit for Instigators

 

Josie Fraser introduces #Purposedpsi

Video: Leon Cych Sound: Steve Boneham

Watch more videos from the day here.

I spent Saturday 30 April in Sheffield, at the Purpos/ed Summit for Investigators, along with 50 delegates from across the UK who had given up their Saturday to take part in a day of discussion and action planning around Purpos/ed.

Huge thanks to Doug Belshaw and Andrew Stuart for organising the whole thing, to Steve Boneham, Mario and Leon Cych for technical support, broadcasting and documenting the day, to Keri Facer for her excellent video contribution, & Fred Garnett for talking about not one but three c-words: community, co-production and citizenship. & not forgetting  everyone who volunteered and ended up speaking in the 3×3 slots. There were also excellent & heated discussion and barcamp sessions.

I was pleased to be asked to help out by chairing the day, and I also had the opportunity to talk about some of my current work and interests, reflecting on some of the contributions to the 500 words campaigne that kick started the process. I only had 10 minutes, but I seem to have managed to get a lot of ums in 🙂 Refs for my talk:

  P1
Martin WellerSpace – The purpose of education

P4
David WhiteEducation should make us anxious

P6
Graham AttwellThe practice of freedom

P7
Josie FraserPurpos/ed

 

 

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Purpos/ed


  

The purpose of education is to enable people to understand, navigate, contribute to, challenge and change the world.

To many children and young people, adults seem distinguishable by their finishedness, their completeness. We have ‘grown up’. We have become inflexible, we have ceased to play, to imagine; our appetite for adventure has been diminished, not increased, by our understanding of the world; our wild and even gentle ambitions have been curtailed by the demands of making a living, of ‘the real world’. Instead of growing in confidence and maturity enough to hazard risk, to be wrong, to change our minds, the adult world seems very often to promote an infantile belief in the benefits and possibility of absolute certainty, mastery, fixedness. The assumption of due respect for this completedness is easy to recognise as often framing and establishing authority and providing boundaries within formal education: I am the one who knows, and you are the one who is in the process of knowing, of becoming the possessor of knowledge, of completion.

For me then, a fundamental purpose of education should be to acknowledge the inevitability of change, to celebrate the value of life as a thing in process, and to promote an awareness of other possibilities, other ways of doing things – of discoveries yet to be made and solutions yet to be invented. Change is, of course, not always positive. It can be unwelcome and damaging. It can be extremely difficult to come to terms with. Even positive changes – for example, changes in how people deal with and think about terrible things that have affected them, while they might free us up and make us happier people, or at least allow us to live our lives less painfully, are extremely difficult to go though. But the alternatives to change, if there are any, are entropy, denial and death.

Education should critically ensure children, young people and adults are equipped to be unsettled, to be confronted by difference, to be changed, and to effect change. Education is a conduit to different cultures, different places, different times – to different ways of thinking about things and doing things. Education provides us with an introduction to things unimagined and unencountered. It should provide the critical challenge to examine our beliefs, interpretations and horizons, the ability to reexamining ourselves in new contexts, to develop new interests, to review the ways in which we understand ourselves and our place in the world. The purpose of education should be to expand expectations, not to confine them – to support our learners in understanding the impact they can and do have on their world. We cannot expect education built upon, and educators who model, a fixation with certainty and inflexibility to meet the urgent and ongoing needs of pressing social, economic and political change.

Purposed-badge

 

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