Education/News/March 2019/Wikimedia movement projects and activities presented at EDU RUSSIA 2019 forum

Wikimedia movement projects and activities presented at EDU RUSSIA 2019 forum

Social Media channels or hashtags: Викимедиа – языкам народов России / Wikimedia Languages of Russia Community on Facebook

Summary: This year Wikimedians of the Russian Federation were invited to share their experience during the annual EDU RUSSIA 2019 event held in Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. Wikimedia Russia Executive Director Mr. Stanislav Kozlovsky of Moscow and Wikimedia Community of Tatar language User Group member Timerkhan Shaykhutdinov of Zelenodolsk (Tatarstan) were given a chance to speak to attending teachers from various regions of the country in the framework of "General Education" section of the "Digital Environment" flow. The audience was predominantly secondary school teachers, whilst existing Wikimedia education program initiatives in Russia are volunteer-run projects either in universities (responsibility of the Russian Ministry of Higher Education and Science) or Wiki-club like initiatives outside of the Education system (under Russian Ministry for Youth). To match the interest, Russia's volunteers are still to establish working relationships with the Ministry of Education, responsible for primary and secondary education in the country.

On the 28th of February and the 1st of March 2019 Kazan was once again the host of Annual EDU RUSSIA forum. This time main events were taking place at the newly opened Kazan EXPO Exhibit Center by Kazan International Airport with a larger program. Due to previous local recognition of Tatar Wikimedians' contribution into educational topics, the organizers were interested in Wikipedia Education Program and were interested in showcasing examples of how this can contribute into educational process.

Wikimedia Russia Executive Director Mr. Stanislav Kozlovsky of Moscow and Wikimedia Community of Tatar language User Group member Timerkhan Shaykhutdinov of Zelenodolsk (Tatarstan) were invited to join other speakers of "General Education" section. Stanislaw, as an internationally active Wikimedian also coordinating «Wikipedia in Education Program within Moscow State University», was to introduce Wikimedia movement, give examples of Education projects run by volunteer Wikimedians in various countries, as well as describing what best practices are already being used or could be introduced in Russia. Timerkhan, as a coordinator of «Selet WikiSchool» project, was to demonstrate related experience already available in Tatarstan. The latter is especially valuable, as it is the project run by the youth for themselves and peers outside of classroom hours.

The panel was not being filmed, so we only have a low-quality smartphone video of Timerkhan's presentation (in Russian). The recording starts at the moment when Stanislaw passes the baton to the representative of younger Wikimedians and ends after a Q&A on the topics of Wikipedia in Education. Timerkhan did not limit himself to WikiSchool aspects, extensively using materials, compiled for the introductory presentation to the President of Tatarstan and Russia's Federal Deputy Prime Minister, as well as other interesting information that is being accumulated in the framework of Smart region project, as well as in the «Wikimedia Languages of Russia Community» Facebook-group. Most cases, as well as questions from the audience were related to the most famous of Wikimedia projects — the free encyclopedia. Stanislav's and Timerkhan's presentations caught the attention of the audience — teachers were asking questions to assess the possibility of landing Tatarstan case into education and supplementary education institutions of their regions: what skills and competencies were developed by project participants, what is the program and other documents setting the framework of the WikiSchool operation, what is its legal status, the type of educational activities it is licensed for, etc.

During the Wiki-meetup with Farhad Fatkullin and Abdulla Khamidullin in the evening of the same day, Stanislav reported that a number of session participants later expressed their interest in introducing Wikimedia in Education in secondary schools of Moscow and Chelyabinsk. The event can be seen as the first focus-group with participation of secondary school teachers from various regions of Russia - it highlighted the interest, as well as a number of aspects that have to be addressed additionally. For the purposes of successful piloting of «Smart region» on a regional scale, it is important that Wiki-Clubs, such as Selet WikiSchool, as well as programs of organized extracurricular supplementary education (Bashkir colleagues from Ufa seem to be testing this aspect) will be run in all secondary education and vocational training centers, as well as in universities, libraries, cultural and other social centers.

Forum organizers are interested in inviting next year international speakers from among Wikimedia in Education project participants, with Russian-speaking member of the «Wikipedia & Education User Group» board Susanna Mkrtchan of Wikimedia Armenia having expressed her preliminary agreement. Tatarstan Wikimedians are confident that Timerkhan's participation in Wikimedia+Education Conference 2019 will strengthen the outcomes of the upcoming Selet WikiSchool 2019 Spring session, as well as previous session participants' activity level in the Tatar language part of Wikimedia CEE Spring 2019.