Week 5: Wikipedia and Wikimedia

Jimmy Wales talking about Wikipedia.


I hadn’t been aware of the amount of work carried out by people in different roles that lies behind the Wikipedia. I still don’t have a grasp on how new material is produced and finds its way to the Wikipedia but it is becoming clearer. Unfortunately, when I start getting a grip on things a lot of technical stuff appears on the page and throws me off. As long as the conversation is about policy, regarding matters of quality assurance, that is accuracy and reliability of content, I can follow the reasoning. However, I haven’t got a clue when it comes to codes, tags and anything that has to do with the technical side of things.


I was fascinated by the number of Wiki projects that are going on…

  • 1 Wikipedia
  • 2 Wiktionary
  • 3 Wikiquote
  • 4 Wikibooks
  • 5 Wikisource
  • 6 Wikispecies
  • 7 Wikinews
  • 8 Wikiversity
  • 9 Wikimedia Commons
  • 10 Related projects
  • In The Hidden Order of Wikipedia by Viégas, Wattenber and McKeon the procedural side of Wikipedia is examined. Their conclusion is that “many aspects of wiki technology lend themselves to the collective creation of of formalized process and policy.


    What impact will free culture and Wikimedia movements have on educational resources and the future of education in general? It is hard to separate aspects of Wikimedia movements and free culture from ICT in general as some elements are integral to both. An interesting question is: What is culture’s role in society? However, answering that question does not fall within the scope of this blogpost ( thank goodness!). Free culture and Wikimedia movements make culture accessible, participatory and enable a greater rate of synthesis.  There is also the potential for increasing the quantity and quality of the resources as well as developing new resources.


    When it comes to the impact on the future of education there are several observations that can be made though there are three that I find particularly interesting.


    Students will be expected to become active both as learners and as producers. This will empower students but increase their responsibility for their own learning. The consequence of this will be the need for new systems for the validation of knowledge as more and more of what people “know” will be knowledge that they have acquired in their quest for knowledge outside of the formal education system.


    The role of the teacher will change as possibilities to exchange, borrow, adapt and produce materials becomes easier but also because students will approach learning in a differnet way. Elements of the movement such as process, democracy and self-regulation should have a spill over effect that can be useful in other areas.


    A fascinating aspect is the impact on developing countries.  Time won’t have to be wasted in reinventing the wheel. Tools are in place tthat can be used for producing and adapting resources to local needs and environments. Where the price of books may be prohibitive, wikimedia can help fill the void.  I could go on and draw some conclusions such as the wikimedia movement will lead to world peace but I think that I’d better stop here!



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