10 SES 03 B, Research on Programmes and Pedagogical Approaches in Teacher Education
This paper presents an ongoing inter-university teaching innovation project that aims to improve the abilities of university students of education to create and communicate scientific content in their field of study and, at the same time, creating benefit for society, using Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is a virtual free-access encyclopedia in a permanent process of collaborative building. It is managed by Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes the creation of neutral and free access educational material that can be disseminated globally and multilingually. Since its creation in 2001, based on a wiki technology to allow free access, it has gained great popularity, as can be observed both in the number of entries (46 million articles in 288 languages) and in the citizens’ use (it is among the 10 most popular web sites and the main consultation source). The Wikipedia project has been built based on diverse collectives of people, including the volunteers that write articles, funders and readers. The quality of Wikipedia entries is due to lots of edits by lots of people and many studies have already recognised its validity (Giles, 2005). It has also been noted its potential to shape science (Thompson & Hanley, 2017).
The present project builds on previous initiatives that have been implemented for teaching and learning of university students in virtual environments (McGarr & Gavaldon, 2018; Zapata, 2015). More specifically, it builds on educational innovations that use Wikipedia, the greater open access knowledge repository worldwide (Soler-Adillon, Pavlovic & Freixa, 2018; Teplitskiy, Lu & Duede, 2016; Sigalov & Nachmias, 2017). The use of Wikipedia for teaching has been promoted since 2010 by the non-profit foundation Wikimedia, through diverse innovative initiatives in different countries such as Brazil, Canada, Egypt and USA. Our project is framed within the Wikipedia Education Program 19, which aims at promoting the teaching use of Wikipedia by engaging university students in revising and improving the contents available in the encyclopedia. The project Wiki4HE (Wiki For Higher Education), coordinated by the Open University of Catalonia, has found different benefits of involving groups of university students in editing and improving Wikipedia articles (Lerga & Aibar, 2015). These improvements include, first, interaction and communication, as students work in groups and interact with the Wikipedia community. Second, writing and reading comprehension, as students have to adopt an academic writing style, accurate, well-structured and understandable by the diverse users of Wikipedia. Third, research abilities, as students experience the need to contrast the information available in Wikipedia and search new information based on scientific evidence to improve it. Fourth, motivation increases, as students are aware that the product of their work will not be read only by their professors but will be publicly available beyond university and will last in time. Finally, students’ increase their perception of being contributing to the creation of a social improvement, as they facilitate the citizenry access to high quality content about their field of study in an open access format. In this regard, the project presented here also responds to the increasing will and demand of the international scientific community and citizens to increase the impact of research by means of disseminating the results obtained (the 2017 global movement of March for Science was an example of this). Citizens are increasingly demanding the publication of information resulting from research projects in open access format for the entire citizenry, so that scientific information can inform actions and policies in different fields. This project aims to contribute to this demand in the field of education using Wikipedia, and at the same time improve the education of university students of teacher education through this innovative action.
This project aims at increasing the abilities that university students of education have to create and share high quality content on their field of study. More specifically, the project objectives are: 1) to strengthen students’ education providing them the tools and abilities that enable them to create educational content based on scientific knowledge on the Wikipedia, and 2) to contribute to increase the quantity and quality of educational content on the Wikipedia, providing a benefit for society. The participants are students of the University of Barcelona and the University Rovira i Virgili (Spain) during the 2018-2019 academic year. In the Univerisity Rovira i Virgili, the participants are two groups of students of the first year of the degrees of education (including Primary Education, Pre-primary Education, Pedagogy and Social Education) (160 students). In the University of Barcelona, participants are students of three degrees (Primary Education, Primary and Pre-primary Education, and Social Education) (180 students). To fulfil the objectives, students work in groups to write a Wikipedia article related to education, under the supervision of the university professors teaching the courses and members of Amical Wikipedia. Amical Wikipedia is a non-profit organization that since 2008 contributes to dynamize Wikipedia in Catalunya. Amical Wikipedia collaborates with this project by offering the university professors support, resources and information for the development of the project, for instance, by providing sessions aimed at teaching technical knowledge about the operation and edition in Wikipedia, and activities to promote critical thinking about the reliability and accuracy of the digital contents. The articles created by the students are evaluated by members of Amical Wikipedia and by the university professors participating in the project based on the following evaluation items: 1) accurate writing and citation of scientific sources; 2) correct edition of the article; 3) student motivation; 4) identification of the scientific quality of digital resources; 5) total of articles created or improved in Wikipedia based on scientific evidence. Students also conduct a self-evaluation questionnaire about the knowledge and abilities obtained through the project. The information collected in these different evaluations will be used to assess the fulfilment of the objectives set in the project.
A first part of the project was conducted in 2017-2018 in the University Rovira i Virgili, which allowed an improvement of students learning, not only in relation to the formal requirements of the encyclopedia and the needs and demands of the virtual community of users, but also to the development of abilities of critical analysis and synthesis of information, rigorous search of information in scientific databases, APA citation, and accurate writing. Near 50 new entries were created in Wikipedia related to education, including concepts (e.g. ageism, postmodern racism, living apart together), educational methods (e.g. Modern School, Montessori method, inclusive education), educational theories (e.g. critical pedagogy, reproductionism, constructivism) or relevant authors (e.g. Paulo Freire, Marvin Harris, Jeannie Oakes). With the continuation of the project, currently ongoing, we expect achieving similar improvements among students and a greater number of new entries in Wikipedia, as the number of universities and degrees where the project is being implemented has increased. Particularly, we expect achieving positive results in different domains related to the project: students, professors, Wikipedia, and citizenry. Regarding students, the project entails a unique opportunity to connect the learning of educational theoretical contents with the development of intellectual and digital abilities necessary to create new content in Wikipedia. As regards professors, the project entails new ways to relate the courses contents taught in the classroom with the promotion of skills to search and critically analyse information. Regarding Wikipedia, the project will contribute with the creation of new articles, the improvement of already existing articles, and an increase of the potential content creators, as students will be able to transfer the acquired abilities beyond the academic domain. Finally, society as a whole could benefit from the project as a result of an increase of quality free articles in Wikipedia on education.
Giles, J. (2005). Internet encyclopedias go head to head. Nature, 438, 900. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/438900a Lerga, M. & Aibar, E. (2015). Guia de bones pràctiques per l’ús de Viquipèdia a la universitat. Recuperat de http://oer.uoc.edu/wiki4HE/recursos/ McGarr, O., & Gavaldon, G. (2018). Exploring Spanish pre-service teachers’ talk in relation to ICT: balancing different expectations between the university and practicum school. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 27(2), 199-209. Sigalov, S. E., & Nachmias, R. (2017). Wikipedia as a platform for impactful learning: A new course model in higher education. Education and Information Technologies, 22(6), 2959-2979. Soler-Adillon, J., Pavlovic, D. & Freixa, P. (2018). Wikipedia in higher education: Changes in perceived value through content contribution. Comunicar, 26(54), 39-48. Teplitskiy, M., Lu, G. & Duede, E. (2016). Amplifying the impact of open access: Wikipedia and the diffusion of science. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 68(9), doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.23687 Thompson, N. & Hanley, D. (2017). Science Is Shaped by Wikipedia: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial. MIT Sloan Research Paper. No 5238.17. Retrieved: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3039505 Zapata, M. (2015). Evaluación de competencias en entornos virtuales de aprendizaje y docencia universitaria. Revista de Educación a Distancia, (1DU).
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