Wikimania 2019: Integrating Wikidata into Education
From Ewan McAndrew on October 28th, 2019
Wikidata, Wikipedia's sister project, is a structured, linked-data knowledge base. In fact, it is the biggest Semantic Web platform humanity ever created, with over 50 million items and is being used by many, including AIs agents such as Alexa & Siri, as it's open and free. But it's also the biggest Open Educational Resources (OER) humanity created, and in-itself holds many learning opportunities, with the potential to completely transform the way we engage with data, consume knowledge, teach & learn. For example, in a click of a button one can query it and create a timeline to explore favorite Italian painters, women chemists along history, or historical events; Show all hospitals within a 50 km radius on an interactive map; Or show family trees and bubble charts of whatever interest you. In that, Wikidata allows us to not on ly access very specific and relevant data we are looking for, but also *visualize* it in exciting and engaging new ways.
Working with Wikidata in an educational context, whether it is a formal or informal education setting, can expose learners to a variety of issues and topics, such as -
- Data modeling and ontological skills
- Data completeness, knowledge gaps and biases
- Data verification and manipulation
- And Data preparation in cases of importing huge masses of data.
These in turn help learners to develop "data literacy", in addition to all the well known benefits that stem from contributing to Wikipedia, such as digital skills, critical thinking & collaborative skills. But Wikidata is a fairly young project (6 and a half years old), and most academics, educators and researchers do not even know it exist. In actuality, academia is just taking its first steps exploring how Wikidata could be used in an educational context.
This panel will host a discussion with educators and Wikimedians who are implementing Wikidata into the educational & academic curricula, focusing on ideas for successful integration, as well as exploring some of the benefits and challenges of doing that.
About the panelists:
- Shani Evenstein is an Israeli educator, lecturer, researcher and free knowledge advocate. In 2018 she opened the first course in the world to feature Wikidata at Tel Aviv University (TAU) and her PhD research at the School of Education focuses on Wikidata as a Learning Platform.
- Lane Rasberry is Wikimedian in Residence at the Data Science Institute at the University of Virginia. In this role he supports university faculty in using Wikidata to introduce concepts in data science, facilitates graduate student data science research on the Wikimedia platform, and contributes to the WikiCite project.
- Dr Martin Poulter is the Wikimedian In Residence at the University of Oxford.
- Will Kent is the Wikidata Data Program Manager at Wiki Education. He facilitates courses (both online and in person) to teach new Wikidata editors. These courses provide training modules, assignments, and weekly meetings to explore a variety of Wikidata-related topics. Currently he is working to teach librarians how to edit Wikidata and share their collections.