Wikimania fringe – The Future of Education

A group of diverse people in a meeting space
Attendees at the event

This post was written by Stevie Benton, Wikimedia UK’s head of external relations

This weekend saw the latest in the series of Wikimania fringe events. This time, the focus was on the future of education  – what role do the Wikimedia projects play in the education world?

The two-day event was attended by around 30 people from a variety of backgrounds, including teachers, academics and Wikimedians. The group explored several topics, including the Wikipedia Education Program and visions of the where the group would like the relationship between Wikipedia and education in one year, five years and ten years.

We were fortunate to be joined by Floor Koudijs from the Wikimedia Foundation and by LiAnna Davis and Jami Mathewson from the Wiki Education Foundation who all shared with us some excellent insight into how the Wikipedia Education Program works and its reach.

One thing that struck me as particularly interesting is the potential that the WEP has to address the gender gap on Wikipedia. Current estimates are that around 9-12% of Wikipedia editors are female. However, that percentages soars to 61% (and higher in some cases) when examining the WEP.

Digital literacy was a recurring theme throughout the two days of the event. If some way can be researched and implemented to encourage the development of these skills through the use and editing of Wikimedia projects, there’s the potential to deliver great impact.

The second day of the conference was spent with short presentations on various topics before breaking into groups to plan sessions for a pre-Wikimania education event to take place alongside the Hackathon at the Barbican on 6-7 August. Plans for those sessions were developing well and more information will be available soon.

More more details of the event, you can see the etherpad notes here. For more information about other upcoming fringe events, and the conference itself (including details of how to book your tickets) visit the main Wikimania website.