Wikimedia Conference 2018/Program/30

30. Wikipedia and digital equity in Education: digital skills for life and free knowledge for the world edit


Nichole Saad (Wikimedia Foundation)

Length (min)


Audience / Target group

General audience/program leaders

Session Format



In this workshop, participants will learn how the work in education connects to our strategic direction, specifically, knowledge equity. We know that when educators have students contribute to Wikimedia projects as part of their classroom learning, they acquire valuable skills for life like digital literacy, information literacy, critical thinking, collaboration, and many more. Wikipedia and its sister projects contribute to digital equity in education while at the same time, educators and students are contributing to knowledge equity. By fostering the relationship between the Wikimedia movement and education, we can create a world where everyone not only has access to knowledge, but has the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century.

Considering a shared understanding of the Wikimedia movement, this workshop will provide participants with resources to engage educators with our movement, and how it is working to close gaps in digital equality, knowledge equity, and even the gender divide. Using a Wiki page created especially for this workshop, participants will engage with the five dimensions of digital equity[1] to interpret a case study about a Wikipedia education project. By the end of this workshop participants will gain a broad understanding of digital equity challenges in education at the global level. They will be able to explain how Wikimedia is addressing digital equity, and will be able to explain how Wikimedia projects can be used to close gaps in educational inequalities.

  1. DiMaggio, P., & Hargittai, E. (2001). From the 'digital divide' to 'digital inequality': Studying Internet use as penetration increases. Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Working Paper Series number 15.
Desired Outcome
  • Participants will gain a broad understanding of digital equity challenges in education at the global level
  • Participants will be able to explain how the Wikimedia movement is addressing digital equity
  • Participants will be able to explain how Wikimedia projects can be used to close gaps in educational inequalities
Next Steps and Milestones

sign up for mailing list, newsletter, get involved in an education program


One in 5 children, adolescents and youth is out of school (barriers to access, barriers to quality.)

SDG4: In full SDG4 states: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

4Cs: Creativity, Collaboration, Critical thinking, Communication. Think of an example where someone might learn one of the 4Cs while learning how to contribute to a Wikimedia project

  • Communication:
  • Creativity: What does it mean?
  • Collaboration: To collaborate with others/students
  • Critical thinking: How to write ‘right’ articles (With good resources)

Wikipedia Education Program

However, access to information isn’t the true educational value of what we have to offer. Students can contribute to Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects, learn important skills for the future, and ensure that others have access to information in their own language and with diverse perspectives.

What are the five dimensions of digital equity in education, and how do they relate to the Wikimedia movement?

  • Access to hardware, software and connectivity to the Internet (This is a major piece of feedback from educators. They don’t have the technological infrastructure for students to be able to fully participate in Wikimedia education activities. )  (Solution: Internet in box)
  • Access to meaningful, high quality, culturally relevant content in local languages (Most often, Wikimedia education activities involve students creating content in local languages. Students learn digital skills while at the same time creating educational content that can be used by other students and educators. ) (Wikimedia UK: Employee for the specific program, permanent Wikipedian-in-Residence) (To focus on a specific topic, keep the scale small)
  • Access to educators who know how to use digital tools and resources (Additionally, we are working hard to align our program with frameworks for student and teacher learning around 21st century skills, digital literacy and information literacy. We would like to scale up teacher training through the provision of online or blended learning opportunities linked to some kind of certification. We're exploring open badges.) (WEP in Argentina) (Serbia: Training for teachers, to go to smaller cities and train the teachers there)
  • Access to high quality research on the application of digital technologies to enhance learning (Dashboard) (This could be a potential area of collaboration. We need more data about the impact of using Wikimedia projects for classroom learning. WMUK assesses the digital skills that students acquire during an Wikimedia activity. )
  • Access to content creation (On Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects, students create content. They create locally relevant content in their own language.) (Serbia: Students using Commons for the Wikipedia Education Program)

Response to the video:

Cape town: Some schools can access the Internet, Wikipedia Zero, but it was a bit difficult to do so due to barriers


  • Can you think of any digital equity challenges present in this case study?
  • Are any of these challenges relatable to you in your context?
  • How can using Wikimedia in the classroom contribute to alleviating some of the digital equity challenges?
  • Did seeing this video change any of your assumptions about the value of Wikimedia in education?
  • What can we do to better foster the relationship between the Wikimedia movement and the education sector?


  • Having student editing Wikipedia is nice, but it is not sustainable
  • All people should have access
  • Wikipedia Zero is a good thing
  • Wikipedia is about resources (books)
  • Infrastructure is very important in the movement
  • Offline editing
  • Providing place/venue to people just to explain the program
  • Mobile phone/Laptop: the more we encourage people to do the editing on mobile devices, the more content they contribute