Turning the digital divide into digital dividends using free content and open networks is an ambitious project. We firmly believe that WikiEducator has the potential to facilitate and contribute towards building a sustainable ecosystem for Open Education and Open Education Resources in collaborating with the free knowledge community.
Solid technology foundations
Many of the "infrastructure" technologies we need to make progress with the realisation of this vision are already in place.
- Mediawiki software for collaborative authoring of free content
- A wide choice of open source Learning Management systems for online delivery of content
- eXe software for local recontextualisation of free content that can be done offline.
- Recent technological advances in producing print versions of free content developed collaboratively in wiki environments which is ideally suited to learners who may not have connectivity.
- Most importantly, elements of the physical network are already in place which can be procured on a pay-as-you-go basis
Innovation and key priorities for developing proposals
Research on innovation suggests that the most successful innovations are to be found by applying technologies that have been successful in one area to new areas of implementation. For example, reconfiguring the success of Wikipedia in the creation of a free online encyclopedia for educational purposes. Notwithstanding the success of the "infrastructure" technologies listed above, there are however a few missing pieces of the technology puzzle that have the potential to make a significant contribution to education for all. These can be divided into the following categories:
- Capacity and skills development on how to use relevant technologies for the authoring of free content. In other words free content resources on how to develop free content for education. For instance, this will need to include free content resources on how to use Mediawiki software for the authoring of free content;
- Building and supporting libre communities that are committed to furthering the vision of education for all through free content.
- Improving software for the particular needs of education. For example: building the technical capability to export Mediawiki content using interoperability specifications (IMS content packages and SCORM packages); enhancing the capability of eXe for seamless imports and exports to Mediawiki; and work on increasing the range of offline capabilities (e.g.to produce offline course formats, and the ability to refine and adapt Wikieducator content offline).
- Refining the available suite of open source authoring tools to enable both offline content creation as well as offline delivery alternatives. For example, reconfiguring eXe to facilitate seamless imports from the "new" educational Mediawiki features and the ability to produce offline course formats like print.
- Enhancing access to technology through smart and appropriate networks.
These aims are technically doable, but will require international collaboration in working on the different pieces of the puzzle. This will also necessitate collaboration on the development of funding proposals to achieve these objectives.
Funding proposals under development
We are developing funding proposals as free content. You are free to:
- add proposals under the categories listed below
- assist in refining and modifying existing proposals which have not been submitted.
- submit proposals for funding with the understanding that
- outcomes must be compatible with the free content definition and/or free software definition
- You advise this community when a funding proposal is submitted and keep the community appraised of developments.
OER Foundation funding proposals
- WikiEducator: Towards open participatory learning environments: A funding proposal for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (USD200,000). Status: Successful
- Reusable and portable content for New Zealand schools (NZ$117,500). Status: Successful
Capacity and skills development
These proposals are aimed at building capacity and skills so that more people will have the freedom to participate in the development of free content for education.
- Collaborations - Quick and easy
- Methods for Teaching and Learning Online - The development of a range of resources
- Commonwealth Computer Navigator's Certificate
- Learning4Content - Status: Successful
Building and supporting libre communities
These projects are aimed at building and expanding the community base involved in the development of free content for education.
- Physical Chemistry Content Development Funding Proposal : A project to develop Physical Chemistry OER's for Higher Education
- Educational Information for Scholars Funding Proposal : A project in southern africa to develop Eduwiki, an age appropriate and curriculum relevant information resource for african scholars. Content contributions are provided through teachers to match outcomes planned for the year.A lesson plan section is also envisaged to aid and guide teachers.
- FLNW2 funding proposal - ensuring TALO participants have the opportunity to give time, expertise and knowledge sharing to participants in host nation : ensuring host nations have the opportunity to give time, expertise and knowledge sharing to participants in TALO nations
- Summer Of Content Funding Proposal : Modeled on Google's Summer of Code, this program funds undergrad and grad students to develop materials for existing free content communities under the guidance of mentors from that organization.
- Massage Therapy Educational Resources : A project aiming to get massage therapy educators worldwide collaborating on universal learning objectives and shared content, learning module.
- WikiEducator: Towards open participatory learning environments: A funding proposal for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Refining the software tools
These projects will add-value to Mediawiki, eXe and other relevant technologies to widen access and participation in the authoring, reconfiguration and reuse of free content.
- IMS/SCORM export for Mediawiki
- Refinements for educational use of Mediawiki & eXe - enhancing recontextualisation of free content for local communities
- FLOSS tool for screen movies
- Print webservice for Mediawiki content
- Improved Media Players for Mediawiki - support for open media formats
Enhancing access to technology
These projects are designed to enhance access to the technology network in ways that are appropriate and sustainable for developing society contexts.
- Mobile Access and Collaborative Learning - Status: champion(s) needed to run with this idea.
- Proposal for Event Series (Developer Roadshows).
- Structured content editor for OERs -- Concept proposal by Allyn J Radford, Learnilities (Pty) Ltd.
- Open Education Documentation Project, in development as of December 2012. Contact Pete Forsyth for further information; or feel free to edit the document.
The Wikimedia Foundation is developing (starting in 2011) a similarly open grantmaking model. See here: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Index
- Grants funded under this program (and prior to its formal existence) are archived here: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:WMF_grants_funded