Teaching in the Age of Wikipedia

Posted by T. Vishnu Vardhan at Nov 22, 2014 01:00 PM |
This course is conceived by CIS-A2K. It is currently envisaged as an add-on Certificate Course jointly offered by CIS-A2K and the Nirmala Institute of Education (NIE)-a premier teacher training establishment in Goa, India.

Read the original on Wikipedia page here.

Problem Statement

In India and in other developing countries a lot of emphasis is being laid of late on the use of ICT for improvement of literacy and education.

Massive efforts are afoot by the Government of India, provincial governments within each state, civil society organizations and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives to include ICT (especially digital technology and the internet) into the teaching learning process. Most of these approaches are techno-utopian and think that giving a tablet to a child will automatically transform the learning environment.

Thus, substantial focus is on either technology or digital content creation (lesson plans, etc.) and almost singularly focussed on the student. There is very little done to empower or train the teachers on how to use digital technology in the classroom. When teachers are not equipped to deal with a digital classroom, use of digital technology is not optimised.

There are instances where the students were given free laptops or tablets by the government and the teachers banned their use in the classroom. Is the average Indian teacher equipped to handle a class of students who are always gazing at their screens?

How will an average Indian teacher approach a class with access to Wikipedia? Do we need to re-imagine the classroom? If yes, how? Consequently, do we need to re-imagine the role of the teacher in the age of Wikipedia?

How does this course attempt to address this problem?

This course is a small step in the direction of empowering the teacher trainees (mostly digital immigrants) to get a grasp on how the digital and internet has changed our mode of learning and approach to knowledge. It will show the macro and bird's eye view of how we have moved on from a Tree of Knowledge to a Web of Knowledge. The course will also introduce them to practical experiments that are being done within the Indian and global context and to also critically evaluate the relevance of a digital knowledge platform like Wikipedia.


The knowledge production, consumption, dissemination and distribution is undergoing a tectonic shift with the advent of digital technologies. Within this context of the digital turn, openness and transparency have gained new significance.

On the one hand, emerging participatory knowledge production models of openness like Wikipedia are increasingly pushing us to look beyond the traditional models of the past century; on the other hand, these models are being thought of to be effective in diverse fields like pedagogy, governance and policy making.

This has been impacting the way how teaching and learning happens at the school level. Open Educational Resources for instance is becoming a key asset for the students and educational institutions alike in imagining better pedagogy models.

This creates a pre-condition for the transformation of society into a ‘Knowledge Society’, wherein the student is increasingly repositioned from a ‘spectator’ to a ‘spect-actor’, from a consumer of knowledge to a “prosumer” (producer+consumer) of knowledge.

Within this context it becomes crucial that the teacher (a key pillar to building a robust knowledge society) is familiarized with the working of digital technology, especially within the context of the classroom.

Course Objectives

This certificate course is aimed at Teacher trainees and Teachers who teach up to High school in India. This course will give the Teacher participant:

  • a comprehensive understanding of the changes that are brought about by digital technology to the knowledge domain
  • an introduction to various openness movements that have informed the discourse on Open Educational Resources
  • exposure and training to participate on open knowledge platforms like Wikipedia
  • practical examples and best practices of using Wikipedia and sister projects within the classroom context.

Key Concepts

Digital, Digital literacy, FOSS, Internet, Knowledge, Knowledge Platforms, Mirrored Technology, Openness, Open Access, Open Educational Resources, Open-Data, Sugar, Wiki, Wikipedia, Wikisource, Wikitionary, Wikimedia Commons.

Course Design

The course will approach each of these issues within the context of Indian languages and school education, so that the teacher could take back the learning to his or her immediate pedagogic environment. The course will be delivered through lectures, demonstrations and hands-on training sessions. Every participant is expected to do 2 hours of pre-course work before coming for the first contact session. The face to face contact sessions will be done in two rounds with a gap of less than 40 days in between Round 1 and Round 2. The participant is expected to spend approximately 13 hours working on a real-time project with digital output.


This course involves 45 hours of effort.

  • 30 hours face to face contact sessions
  • 15 hours virtual contact



Step 1: All participants are expected to register themselves on Wikipedia. Please note that once you register on a Wikipedia project, you can use that 'Username' (i.e. same log-in details) across all Wikipedias and Wikimedia platforms. This should be done by September 4, 2014 (10.00 am). This tutorial will help you with Registration on Wikipedia: Registration Tutorial
Step 2: Once you create a Wikipedia user id, please fill up this form to complete the registration process.


Above: Flyer of the course to be held in November 2014 and January 2015