Education/Newsletter/March 2015/Czech senior citizen program scales up

Almost 25 % of our participants continue to edit more than three months after their 6-week course has ended

By Vojtěch Dostál (WMCZ)

Snippet: This year is all about scaling up the success of the Czech senior citizen program and attracting more participants in different cities.

Czech senior citizen program "Senior Citizens Write Wikipedia" The program that started last year with great success, which has already been featured on the education newsletter and on the WMF blog too in December 2014, is starting its second year by trying different methods of establishing growth, promoting the program and stabilizing the infrastructure and funding. Eighty participants have signed up for our course so far, with 75 % completing them and 25 % becoming, what we call, independent Wikipedians.

The Czech project catches a lot of media attention, with professor Jan Sokol giving frequent talks and a full-page interview in the Friday's edition of a nationwide newspaper. The program also made its way into a primetime of the Czech TV.

We try novel approaches in reaching out to senior citizens and engaging them in Wikipedia. A three-day Wikipedia scanning workshop for seniors has been organized in senior centre Elpida. Senior citizens were invited to bring their pictures from their family archives - many of them were of high encyclopedic quality and were immediately uploaded, resulting in 120 pictures on Commons, including historical pictures of Czech athletes Emil Zátopek, Karel Šebek and various places of interest throughout the world too.

We also gave a lecture for librarians in the historical building of the Czech National Library. The course was full within 10 minutes of its announcement - two more had to be organized for those who could not come to the first lecture. 15 most motivated librarians will be invited to an advanced course, in a hope to recruit senior citizen program mentors or at least our partners in regional libraries. Beside these lectures, a short interview between professor Jan Sokol and one of our senior participants was also broadcasted live to libraries all over the Czech Republic. The program will also be featured in the Parliament of the Czech Republic during a conference on modern education approaches.

These activities are all done aiming at scaling the program up. We hope to diversify the funding for the program in a near future and, besides allocating some funds in the Project and Event Grant (PEG) of our chapter, we also apply for other grants. This will help us to organize new courses outside Prague as soon as this summer.

Examples of pictures uploaded during the scanning workshop:

Read more about the Wikipedia Education Program in Czech Republic here.