Submissions/Spread the Word: Defocussing educational efforts

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

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Title of the submission

Spread the word: Defocussing educational efforts

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission

Denis Barthel

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Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

Wikimedia Deutschland

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Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

Since 2006 Wikimedia Deutschland is running programs to present Wikipedia primers, mainly in schools for students and teachers alike. Two special pilot projects in 2008 (students) and 2009 (teachers), a sister-project for senior citizens and occasional events targeted on such diverse groups as scientists, journalists and business people helped to find some results concerning outreach work in general and led to some conclusions, which are presented here.

Whenever an initiative to reach out on Wikipedia is planned, right from the beginning a target group is focused, often because of personal interest. This can be a good start, but it can be counter-productive too, as many other occasions of promoting and explaining Wikipedia thus are neglected. Which is especially regrettable as if one takes a closer and comparing look it is obvious, that there is a high diversity in target groups, but a quite low one in things to tell about Wikipedia. Getting aware of that is a perfect starting point to defocus your efforts and direct upon a more diverse audience.

But serving a more diverse audience needs a lot of human resources. As long as only a few events are planned, this is not an issue for a single person. But doing a few events only will not cause a large impact. If a larger impact is intended, more events and obviously more resources are needed, soon an inefficient way to go, impossible even for a large chapter.

An approach is shown to develop an efficient infrastructure by the participation of volunteers, being able to serve all possible target groups and fitting smoothly with requirements to come, especially with the option to diversify later. A network of volunteer speakers has been founded and trained, given virtual and real life platforms to exchange ideas and experiences and this network started to create necessary materials on its own. The chapter only assists, supervises and coordinates requests.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)

Wiki and Education - Wiki in Knowledge Collaboration

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  1. Vibhijain 11:41, 6 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Elly Koepf (WMDE) 19:48, 18 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Nemo 21:39, 12 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Alexander Naumov 14:06, 28 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]