Education/News/July 2020/Wikimedia Chile faces the challenge of mandatory virtuality
“Wikimedia Chile faces the challenge of mandatory virtuality”
Author: Rocío Aravena Villarroel
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Summary: The needs expressed by teachers in Chile have been key in developing the new direction of the Education Program. The sharing of experiences and training from a collaborative perspective have been the fundamental guiding principles of our activities.
The restrictions of compulsory virtuality
School closures and the forced switch to virtual modalities have led to a series of issues for the education communities: the digital divides, work overload, and the lack of training in remote education puts teachers and students in critical circumstances. In this context, schools and universities have had to prioritize contents and activities to better cover the curricular demands.
This situation greatly affected the development of projects such as “Wikimedia en la Universidad” (Wikimedia in the university) and “Wikimedia en el Aula” (Wikimedia in the classroom), which had as main features being led in-person and dependent on the curricular flexibility of partner institutions. It was necessary then to rethink our focus and reinvent our projects, a task that we took on by reflecting on this question: What kind of activities are valuable and meaningful for teachers in this context of crisis?
New strategy: teacher accompaniment
Taking into account the precarious circumstances in which schools made the switch to virtuality and the confusion it caused in the teaching community, as a team we decided to create supportive spaces for teachers, planning activities that allowed teachers to share their worries, to reflect about the pedagogical possibilities to tackle this challenge of remote education, and to share strategies to continue the education process in the context of a pandemic.
Roundtable series with and for teachers: collaborative training
To bring to practice our guiding principles, in April 2020 we launched the first version of our project “Ciclos de conversatorios” (Roundtable series), open spaces with sessions led through Zoom and that have hosted over 100 participating teachers from all education levels.
● “Challenges for pedagogy in times of mandatory virtuality”
Shortly after the school closures, we launched a participation call for our first roundtable series. During 4 sessions, presenters from leading institutions and organizations led the dialogue with teachers from all subjects and levels, tackling important topics such as the digital gaps, pedagogical relationships, and the use of open education resources, among others.
This first experience was key to fostering new connections with teachers of different localities that have continued to participate in all of our activities.
● “Reinventing the pedagogical relationship: from the classroom to the Internet”
This past June we launched our second roundtable series, this time motivated by the desire to support teachers in the reinvention of pedagogical connections with their students in virtual contexts, a task that is increasingly becoming a fundamental need of the education communities during the pandemic.
We noticed a significant increase in the number of teachers during the registration process. We understood that there was a high level of interest in the topic presented and we decided to make some methodological changes: on one hand, we incorporated members of the education community as the majority of speakers, as a way to recognize the experience and authority of teachers in the area of pedagogical relationships. On the other hand, we leveraged the participative features of the activity, opening the mics to promote dialogue among all the participants of the sessions.
“I hope these seminars continue. They have good content and they motivate participation in a very difficult context for all of us” Teacher, Chile.
“The whole series was very interesting, the sessions have covered current and extremely complex topics, but the speakers have provided very clear examples on how to go from reflection to action. You learn a lot from the experiences shared” Teacher, Mexico.
Understanding the importance and value that this support and accompaniment activities have for teachers in such a critical context, our goal is to continue offering trainings from a collaborative perspective. This is why in August we will be launching our virtual course for teachers. We’ll share more information soon!
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