Learning patterns/Strategies to generate interest, motivation and continuity in the digital education community
What problem are you trying to solve?
Most long distance training courses have high percentage of desertion. One of the reasons of this being so is the lack of official credits for teachers, that enable them to validate their knowledge and grow professionally. In many cases, we don't have the certificates from the different Education Offices. This is why the education proposal has to be solid and have inherit value. To solve this, you can approach the challenge from a local/real point of view, as well as approach it from the previous knowledge and experience in a given subject that participants might bring. Another suggestion to keep continuity is to generate a publication that holds all the experience and productions that took place during the course, as well as also give an account of the reflexions over the collaborative process. This product is a collective creation in essence, and the leading authors are the very same participants.
What is the solution?
In the design and development of the proposal, we took into account the local/real point of view, as well as the knowledge and previous experiences that participants may have on the subject.
The first activities involved the act of sharing one own imaginary and previous experiences in relation to Wikimedia projects, in particular: Wikipedia. To acknowledge the challenges and discourses is a baseline that does not overlook realities, obstacles and known resistances in an educational context. This first step generated a context of trust and validation.
The production activities were aimed at solving challenges from the local contexts. For instance, teacher brought their annual plans and school content to see which ones of the Wikimedia projects could be incorporated in their classes.
Step by step you get to Wikipedia
We took topics and worries that are current in the agenda, from news like the Monkey Selfie or worries around the cares on search engines, or the validation of sources. These are all current topics that worry and address teachers nowadays.
Editing Wikipedia was an activity introduced in the middle of the course timeline. This activity first looked into the editing logic; then looked into how to apply its educational capacity with topics of interest for the classes and education projects. The final aim was that teachers could give the editing activity a sense beyond simply writing.
We also suggested an idea exchange around evaluation and application of these proposals, since every education space has its own metrics for evaluation.
Forums and the use of hashtags like #wikipuentes (WikiBridges) had a positive impact: participants were sharing beyond the agreed timeframe and activities of the course. Social Networks, in this sense, served as an enhancing factor.
Engage teachers beyond the education program
Finally, we also proposed participants of our online course to take part in two active contests at the moment, hosted by Wikimedia Argentina: Image Bank of Argentinean Schools (co-hosted with IBERTIC OEI) and Wikitour. Motivation, in this sense, also stems from being able to embed educators in different actions that are taking place, not only in the specific training course.
To generate a digital publication that gathers all the experience and productions, as well as reflects on the process, was a motivation and also a challenge: in it we address the difficulty of systematizing and letting the wider community know about the educators own experience. At the end of the workshops, we invited teachers to become Wikipedian Ambassodrs, to share with their own local contexts, and also as a strategy: we recognize and involve them in the Wikimedia culture.
When to use this pattern
The production activities in the remote course «Puentes entre las culturas escolares, digitales y libres» (Bridges between the school, digital and free cultures, co hosted with RELPE and with participants from different parts of Latin America) and in the in-person workshops «Artesanos Digitales» (Digital Artisans) with the groups of teachers have both a part of challenge and an opportunity to co-create.
Blog de Wikimedia Argentina. Portal Educ.ar Campus RELPE