I've been asked by a civil servant at the Scottish Government to look into the ways that mediawiki literacy could be incorporated into Scottish secondary school work (12-18 years of age). This might be something like installing MediaWiki on the schools' national intranet, or doing something with Wikiversity or simply using Wikipedia within a particular project. When I discussed the project with the civil servant it was clear that the aim was not simply to provide MediaWiki skills training for students and teachers, but to make possible collaborative inter- and intra-school work, as well as raising and developing the digital citizenship of school teachers and students. That is really as far as I've got.
One problem is that I don't actually work in schools. So I thought that a good place to start was this list, and to ask for help in identifying examples of any Wikimedia project work that either you've been involved in at school level, or that you know about. It would be great to get links to the actual work (if it's publicly available on Wikipedia for example), but it would also be good to get links to reflective blog posts on successes, failures, things to avoid etc. I can then collate and map these for further discussion with the government.
I'm just at the start of the conversation, but I'll keep the list updated on any progress.
With thanks in advance and best regards,
Volunteer for Wikimedia UK
Community Coordinator for Open Knowledge Foundation Scotland
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Hi Sage - Thanks for these pointers. It's great to know that there has been a longstanding interest in bringing realtime conversation into the wiki mix.
Our goal at OfficeHours would be to expand on the exact concept you describe. It seems as though the current idea is to include a button whenever an editor is changing a wikipedia article. That would hook into a modified helper setup where there would be experts on how the wikipedia platform worked. We want to do the same thing, but our user group would in theory include all wikipedia readers and and our helpers would be knowledgeable on subject matter specific to that content. Put in brackets for the moment how people would be labelled as experts or helpers or mentors or whatever the term might be.
Without much work, we could implement an open source version of our platform that could hook into your course management system. And if things work well there, perhaps we could think about other ways to expand the concept.
What would best next steps be?
Jeff Levy, CEO & CoFounder
James - Sorry for not responding sooner to this. You are of course correct that context, content and other factors have significant impact on the "best" pedagogical approach to learning. We are currently working closely with two respected professors in the field - Carolyn Rose at CMU and Cindy Hmelo-Silver at Indiana. The three of us have jointly submitted a research proposal to the NSF to conduct further work in this area. What I am really trying to convey is that I think there can be an important role for real-time communication in the wiki context.
Jeff Levy, CEO & CoFounder
Sorry to have not been more clear from the outset. The fact is that we don't have a specific demo created for Wikipedia at this point. Our Online Collaboration Platform demo video is available at https://www.officehours.co/#demo. Also, if you want to register for the platform on our home page, you will be taken through a more detailed tour of the platform. It is optimized for Chrome, but most functionality will now work on other major browser platforms.
All of our codebase is either 3rd party open source or written by our team. We would release an open source version of the codebase if we were to launch a collaboration platform for Wikipedia.
"Expert" and Chat Room Questions/Comments:
I understand the challenges of identifying who is an "expert" - maybe it is better to think of "wikistructors" as volunteer guides or docents - self-appointed helpers. Our process utilizes an Uber-like 5 start rating system so that there is an ongoing assessment of the quality/effectiveness of those who are providing "expert" help.
Yes, it would be possible to jump from any Wikipedia posting directly to a chatroom. Our chat rooms are set up for group participation - either live chat or audio. We also offer one-on-one interaction opportunities in workspace rooms that have live chat/audio/video and a suite of collaboration tools.
I think that a realtime discussion on these topics would be helpful and possibly more efficient. If there is interest, I can host a session on OfficeHours - I recognize that there will not be one time that works for all, but perhaps we can get a critical mass and post a recording of the session for others to review and comment on at their convenience.
We are very interested in bringing real-time discussion to Wikipedia. We'd like to use our Online Collaboration Platform (acutally a modified, Open-Source variant) to enable the creation of a community of "Wikistructors" - experts who are available to speak with (or text with) anyone who is on Wikipedia and wants to talk. We can also enable people to connect with others who are on the same page or who have recently been on that page (assuming all parties wish to be contacted of course). These connections would enable on-demand live chat, audio and/or video conversation.
I'm throwing this out there for comments/questions/thoughts.
Jeff Levy, CEO & CoFounder
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Hi James -
Thanks for your comments and questions. I'll try to answer as best I can. We absolutely agree that asynchronous communication is critical and often advantageous. We are simply thinking about the new sorts of interactions that might occur when synchronous communication opportunities are layered in as well.
Our platform really serves a different purpose than IRC. I guess you might say that our aim is to build something that connects "ordinary" Wikipedia users with each other even if they aren't part of the core group that writes articles and visits the IRC channels. Our current feed chat system communicates directly with our backend and doesn't run on an IRC server. As you probably know, IRC on it's own doesn't have very good support to authenticate users. Users just choose their own nickname and are relatively anonymous. Most of the IRC servers have layered on authentication, but it's a techie process. This isn't something the average user will understand how to do, and it's not designed to integrate with a web application's user base. Our approach to Wikipedia would be to provide instant chat rooms that are contextual to the specific topic or area that the user is browsing, meaning we'd have thousands of such channels. IRC provides no UI to navigate these. Also, IRC doesn't support additional kinds of interactions. No audio or video.
That being said, there's an interesting possible use case to try and connect users on the regular site with IRC channels to the core group of contributors. We could run an IRC client through our chrome extension that automatically joins users to channels on certain topics when they are on that Wikipedia page. Users on the same page would be on the same IRC channel and be able to chat. If anyone wants to use their own IRC tool, they could also join that IRC channel.
Our workspace uses a Etherpad rather than Hackpad as a shared text editor. Hackpad makes a lot of sense to collaborate inside a team or amongst all the attendees at a conference, but we don't see Hackpad as a great mechanism to connect public users between each other.
All audio chats in our feed use Twilio, which records every conversation. These are retrievable as standard MP3 files.
In summary, I'd say that our solution is meant to connect a broader audience on top of Wikipedia alongside the existing pool of Wikipedia authors.
Hope this is responsive.
One of the advantages of wikis is their asynchronous nature, allowing
advantages for telecommuting, time-shifting, and distance education.
Is your collaboration platform compatible with IRC? How would you compare
it to Hackpad?
Does it offer the capability to transmit and and store audio recordings for
listening later? If so, from which platforms and in what formats?
On Apr 5, 2014 6:36 AM, "Jeff Levy" <jeff at o10s.com> wrote:
> We are very interested in bringing real-time discussion to Wikipedia.
> We'd like to use our Online Collaboration Platform (acutally a modified,
> Open-Source variant) to enable the creation of a community of
> "Wikistructors" - experts who are available to speak with (or text with)
> anyone who is on Wikipedia and wants to talk. We can also enable people to
> connect with others who are on the same page or who have recently been on
> that page (assuming all parties wish to be contacted of course). These
> connections would enable on-demand live chat, audio and/or video
> I'm throwing this out there for comments/questions/thoughts.