This is a compilation and synthesis of partner's reports from focus groups / introductory courses / introductory workshops.
Seven teams have reported from seven introductory workshops: CESGA (Spain), HEIG-VD/YORG (Switzerland), UB (Spain), die Berater (Austria), EA (Greece) and Wikimedia SE (Sweden). UB did two separate workshops.
Some organisers used the introductory workshop as a pilot, inviting trainers without earlier wiki experience to try out a workshop format and/or check out the interest for such courses, while others used it to lay the foundation for future workshops, inviting only trainers with heavy wiki experience to draw from.
The terms "focus group", "introductory course" and "introductory workshop" have all been used to describe these events. In this report we use the word workshop, as that is the only term that actually suits all five events.
The introductory workshops were supposed to lay the foundation for a needs analysis report. Additional goals were defined along the road, resulting in the following main objectives:
Trainers in all settings had at least some experience of ICT in education.
69 people participated in the workshops.
Below is an attempt to sum up what kind of institutions were represented at the workshops. The mapping to the target groups might not be perfect. Also, differing school systems may make the level division a bit fuzzy. We have no data available from CESGA.
The letters C, G, E, and L should be read Comenius, Grundtvig, Erasmus, and Leonardo respectively. There is some overlapping between categories, so the numbers will sum up differently.
By target group
By professional role
The workshops have ranged from informal talks to busy workshops, but they have all followed roughly the same pattern:
The outcome of 3., a collection of well though out wiki based learning scenarios, is currently collected at the project wiki wikiskills.cesga.es, and might be used to create a more structured repository. Some participants in the workshops have asked for such a repository, and especially one that is less comprehensive and more tightly edited thanand other existing repositories.The outcome of 4., a set of wishlists, needs, and interests, is the basis for most of this report.
The wiki-based learning scenarios, both those imagined but participants during workshop exercises, and those used as examples by organizers, can be divided into three categories, where 1. and 2. are by far the most common:
"Public wikis" does often, but not always, mean Wikipedia or other Wikimedia wikis. These are used for research, to teach source criticism and media literacy, to practice language skills, to study netiquette and online communities as such, and much more. Challenges include dealing with strong online communities, and copyright and licensing issues.Local wikis can be private or public. They sometimes have a limited lifetime, being closed down and no longer used as a wiki at the end of the semester, and are sometimes inherited from one generation of students to another. In many cases they are used for tasks (writing and feedback, etc) that could also have been accomplished with other tools, such as a blog. Popular platforms are MediaWiki for local installations, and Wikispaces for wiki farms. Challenges include overcoming resistance to working collaboratively, and lack of technical knowledge and/or user friendly wiki software.
It can be argued that the wiki technology is subordinated the communities (in 1.) or workflow (in 2.), and that using a local wiki for writing exercise have more do with using a local Wordpress installation for the same purpose, than with teaching source criticism through Wikipedia. In that case future workshops might be better of focusing on either one of the two: Working in online communities (Wikipedia and the like), or how to set up your own wiki site.
As premises were so different, it might be hard to draw common conclusions, but the section "common findings" above nevertheless try to highlight the things that surfaced across the groups.
The lists of needs from the groups also look quite different depending on participants and region. This might suggest that we need different approaches for different countries in the WikiSkills project. (All reports are linked to in appendix II below.)
"Wikis in education" is a broad topic, and the needs look different depending on if we talk about e.g. how to guide students through the Wikipedia community, or how to use a local collaborative platform as an educational tool. It might be wise to focus at one topic at a time, avoiding to make wikis in general the subject of our trainings.
These are the overall mean values:
Overall organization 4.4
Facilitator 4.4 (not reported by UB)
Relevence of topics 4.4
Useful contacts 3.6
Duration 3.6 (3 being optimal, 1 too short and 5 to long. Workshops lasted 2 -- 3 hours. )
There might have been some differences in the wording of the forms in different languages.The biggest variance was in "useful contacts" (3.3 - 4.4), possibly due to different focus of the sessions, and big variations in the number of participants.