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Wikipedia as a pedagogical tool

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The university emerged in Europe in the second millennium as an institution that embraced the knowledge of humanity and that disseminated and expanded it in a common language, Latin. In this third millennium, the compendium of humanity’s knowledge is Wikipedia, created collaboratively through the wiki language, present in 313 languages ​​and which this year has celebrated its twentieth anniversary.

Wikipedia is the most current chapter of epistemology because its creation is collaborative and is in permanent construction, in the purest style of constructivism, made by everyone.

If a few years ago there was some academic suspicion of Wikipedia content, today it is the first source of information for all kinds of matters and is gaining ground and reliability thanks to the collaboration of numerous academic and scientific institutions and the direction and commitment of the Wikimedia Foundation. Since its creation in San Francisco in 2003, it is the manager of all Wikipedia and related projects in different languages ​​and has been developing various management instances for the dissemination and expansion of Wikipedia worldwide.

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The efforts of the Wikipedian community have contributed to expanding its use and encouraging numerous academic and scientific collectives to edit. This has made it possible to raise the quality of the editions and the participation of numerous volunteers, most of whom have university degrees or doctorate studies. Today the English Wikipedia equals and exceeds the latest Encyclopaedia Britannica in new content. For its part, the study Analysis of the scientific content of the Spanish Wikipedia (2016) of the Open University of Catalonia, made from the references used in the articles, endorses the quality, reliability and timeliness of the scientific content of Wikipedia in Spanish.

In the Anglo-Saxon educational field, an express platform has been created, Wikiedu.org, which includes collaboration agreements with the most prestigious professional associations (American Anthropological Association, American Chemical Society, American Society of Plant Biologists …) and universities of the United States and Canada (Yale, Harvard, Stanford …) for the training of teachers and students in publishing, the creation of scientific and professional articles and the management of various research projects that have Wikipedia as their object. This ability and willingness to edit of highly trained people allows a quick way to put the world in contact with discoveries and scientific advances; a much faster process than the publication of scientific papers or papers and they are also supervised by peers.

Collaboration with universities at a global level is carried out by the different chapters (state territorial organizations) of the Wikimedia Foundation, which propose research projects or dissemination projects in higher education to the central; and in which the Wikimedia Foundation intervenes, totally or partially financing said research and dissemination and training projects.

Until now, all this work has been done by volunteers, since from the beginning of Wikipedia in 2001 until this year, the resources were obtained through donations. All the contents of Wikipedia, Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons are free and open, which allows big technologies to reuse them free of charge in knowledge graphs, search, voice assistants, maps, news reports … Through Wikimedia Enterprise the Massive reuse of all this data will have a cost for large companies, which will allow a more solid financing of the Wikimedia Foundation and the expansion of educational projects.

The Wikimedia Spain Association, made up of volunteers, mostly high school and university professors, is the one that organizes this cooperation with the different educational centers, Spanish universities and institutions. Thanks to its willingness and generosity, Wikimedia Spain won the Princess of Asturias Award in 2015, and on February 19, 2021 it was declared a public utility association. These new circumstances should allow Wikimedia Spain an ambitious projection in the scientific, cultural and artistic field, like its Anglo-Saxon counterpart, and also extend support to other chapters of Wikimedia in Spanish-speaking countries that share the language and the language with us. culture. In this way, many of the people who make up these institutions could learn and be part of this huge body of volunteer editors.

Regarding the accessibility and use of Wikipedia, when teachers contemplate the possibility of using this tool, they sometimes get lost in a morass of rules and controls that frustrate their first attempts. Although it is open to everyone and supervision is done by peers, this very confluence creates a certain mess and complexity when it comes to approaching it by new editors, many of them secondary school teachers. For this reason, it is necessary to know the route of entry so as not to get lost in the intricacies of the edition.

In Wikipedia in Spanish there are numerous resources and a detailed guide on how to approach Wikipedia from the classroom, both for teachers and students, entering the Portal: Education and creating an educational Project that allows registering the objectives, methodology and participants of the draft; In addition, you can count on the advice of the Wikimedia Spain volunteers.

Journalism and Sociology

In the Valencian Community there are two ongoing projects of the University of Valencia in the branches of journalism and in sociology and gender. In addition, the University of Alicante at its headquarters in Villena will give a training course online on edition in Wikipedia for university students (with two credits) in the last quarter of 2021 that will be taught by the person signing this tribune.

Thanks to all this collaborative effort, students and new editors gain 21st century skills such as media literacy, writing and research development, and critical thinking, while content gaps on Wikipedia are filled as a result of the contributions of all these new editors and their field of knowledge. A commendable collective construction that is already part of the pro-common and in which millions of people are participating.

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