In 2017, Wikimedians of Ecuador had a huge move forward on the Wikipedia in Education program at PUCE, and did some other activities to promote Wikipedia and its sister projects. The highlight of the year was the first Editatona in Quito, that managed to gauge interest among students and teachers in PUCE.
We started our work in january with high expectations: Last year we had some talks at PUCE to help teachers get involved with Wikipedia and the editing process so they could use them in their classes. One of the teachers that decided to start her own program and joined Wikimedians of Ecuador held a talk with her students about what editing Wikipedia meant.
In April, users Edjoerv and Vahidmasrour lead a three-day workshop about Wikipedia and education for the first time at Galapagos Islands. It helped not only the teachers but the Wikimedians of Ecuador user group to learn some new things:
- Due to the poor internet connection around the islands (it works via satellite), it is harder to keep up with a constant editing process that could allow big groups to contribute at the same time. More than 8 people in the same room using Wikipedia didn't go well at first.
- Teachers need to practice more what they learn, so they can finish tasks on Wikipedia and understand better what they did. This also needs a well-experienced wikipedian to help them through their process. Actual conditions at Wikimedians of Ecuador are not the best in this last part, since there is no Wikipedian at the islands. Other options are e-mail or phone calls, since videocalls won't help much.
- Three years from 2017, Wikimedians of Ecuador could evaluate to coordinate a better job on training people at the islands in order to help them to become wikipedians, and manage to do this part of the job.
- Strategical alliances with high schools are better developed when we get authorization and follow up by the principal.
- Work with teachers should be done before the classes time. Teachers are not always available even if they get permission from the principal during class time to get highly involved in these workshops.
- Students are fast-learners, even more than their teachers, if guided correctly. In the workshops, we need to find tasks to help them understand how to use their own skills better at editing, and keep them focused on their work, working actively through the workshop. Another option is to do workshops for students only.
- Using videos from other Wikimedia affiliates is more practical and allows us to manage time better, because teachers have much more specific questions after watching them. This also helps them find key topics about editing Wikipedia such as open licenses and the community behind Wikipedia, and also moves the conversation around organization and Wikimedia affiliates, and about the local affiliate.
- Student syllabus at Ecuador are too closed for including "TICs" (Information and Knowledge Technologies), specially the ones teachers think would work better with their students.
- For a complete plan to add a Wikimedia project onto a syllabus, there should be personal interest: Teachers should get voluntarily involved to find out by themselves how to edit, what the basic steps are and how to find solutions to smaller problems in order to help their students through the process.
- A helpful idea would be to train a small group first, so these people get more involved with Wikimedia projects by themselves, and take them as key-people through the workshops. Teachers that have had previous contact with Wikipedia before coming to the workshop (in an edit-a-thon, editing by themselves) seem to be more interesting in helping fellow teachers and lead the group.
- Wikipedia will not always be the most appealing to the teachers to include to their syllabus. Teachers at the workshop chose to work on other projects, such as Wikinews and Wikivoyage with their students before getting onto editing articles.
In may, we had another talk at PUCE to help the students make their first edits on Wikipedia.
In June, Wikimedians of Ecuador was present at Iberoconf 2017. It was the first time WUG-EC participated at an Iberocoop meeting like this, and it helped our representants learn and afterwards talk with other wikimedians in Ecuador about the things discussed in Buenos Aires.
- Wikimedians of Ecuador needs to start working on projects with fellow affiliates in the region. There are open collaboration opportunities to work with other chapters and user groups in Iberocoop.
- Organization inside the user group should be taken seriously in order to help us grow. Developing the skills of the volunteers helps the user group reach out to other organizations, and this could develop collaboration with other institutions.
Not only we had participated in Iberoconf this month. User:Maritzafigueroa9 showcased her advances in the III Congreso Internacional sobre lectura y escritura en la Sociedad Global (III International Congress of Writing and Reading in Global Society), where she talked to other teachers from around the country and Latin America about her class progress using Wikipedia.
In october, we had abother talk at PUCE to help a new group of students make their first edits on Wikipedia. This group had a special focus on creating articles, so the process of creating an article was shown at the talk.
Also, we held our first Wiki Loves Cemeteries in Quito, at San Diego cemetery. From this WLC we got 312 images on Wikimedia Commons and 4 participants.
This month we had our first "editatona" at PUCE, focusing on women empowerement topics and also about actions against gender violence. This was the first big event we had at PUCE, considering we already had our first couple of groups working on class projects beforehand. From this project we learned a few things:
- A lot of things went quickly this time since we worked with two groups that had been editing Wikipedia through the year. Most of them had a better comprehension on what it meant to edit Wikipedia and how to do it.
- We used the Dashboard for the first time to get the event results. It was easier to get statistics this time, and allowed people from Wikimedians of Ecuador to help people on site.
- Planning remote assistance with other wikipedians helped us get better qualitative results. We had a before-event curator to choose topics that needed some editing at Wikipedia and a list of articles to create, and also another wikipedian helped curating the articles after the event to prevent them from being erased.
Also we had an edit-a-thon at UNEIN Pacífico in Machala.
- This was the first edit-a-thon exclusively for high school students, instead of the teachers. This caught the attention of the teachers and principal from the institution, that expressed their wish to hold another one with better preparation.
- The visual editor was the main attraction to students. We have had experience with this particular high-school in the past where students didn't want to edit too much in the standard editor, but with the visual tool they were more receptive to work.