Günther Osswald

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

Contact-new.svg Günther Osswald
Employer:Govt. of Upper Bavaria/Germany, School: Gisela-Gymnasium München
Occupation:Science Teacher
Certificate blue.svg This user was certified a WikiArtisan by Mackiwg.
This user is a WikiNeighbour
for WikiEducator.

Welcome to my campaign page!

My name is Günther Osswald, 47, a secondary school science teacher in Bavaria/Germany.

When I discovered WikiEducator in February 2007, I was full of joy, because it offered to me what I had been searching for a long time: The possibility to work "from home" for the development of education in non-industrialized countries.

Since then, I have been a passionate member of this on-line community, using the wiki for my own tuition in school, lobbying for WikiEducator and taking part in discussions in the WikiEducator mailing list.

My vision for WikiEducator

The dream I have for our site is to become

1) a mass phenomenon like Wikipedia and

2) a platform for educators in non-industrialized countries.

The well known example of Wikipedia shows, that community-driven grass-root projects are capable of serving the world of education even better than many costly development projects.

There is this lack of free educational materials that WE could cover more and more, step by step. And there is this need of educating the largest profession, the teachers, especially in countries where the resources of ministries of education are strictly limited. And the need of organizing educators, and strengthen their sense for community, especially for those anew in their jobs or working in remote places.

The internet provides a new and exiting medium for reaching the masses as well as reaching individuals, offering the opportunity to not only receive information, but author and share own works. It is basically democratic, what counts is active participation, the measure for success is to stand the process of peer review.

As educators we all have our implicit and explicit values we want to bring into the world, especially the dream of creating a more reasonable and peaceful mankind through good education.

Let' s get active and work for it right now, not wait for "institutions" to do for us what we could do on our own!

Next Steps to Be Taken by WikiEducator

The Inclusion of Local Languages

COL is an organization of ex-commonwealth countries with English as mother tongue or English as colonial language. WE is hosted by the Commonwealth of Learning COL, but is on his way to independence as a community driven project. In fact already now there are numerous contributions of authors that do not reside in a COL-member country. We should not expect them to write all of their texts in English, but encourage them to use the language in which they need their educational materials to be.

Nevertheless: in order to find a common denominator and not get into a Babylonian confusion of tongues, we should encourage all authors to translate their work into English too. At least to provide an acceptable machine translation.

The English translation of the materials could then be improved step by step by the community and the help of professional translators, depending on the available fundings. It will serve as the core for further translations into other languages, especially less resourced ones. As Steve Forster states on his campaign page, for cultural diversity, a multilingual approach is essential for WE.

And, to go still one step further: If WE could develop into an open platform for educational materials in even small local languages, it will add really something new to the world of OER. With better automatic translations (like Google translation or Apertium for small and related roman languages) and the process of peer to peer review, a wiki has substantial advantages to printed media.

If we want to include the masses of educators in the so called developing world, we have to go this way!

For the time being, WE has the center of his mass still in the tertiary sector, but the lower we want to go down, the more rises the issue of small local languages. In this context, I'm proud to have been able to get the SUPRA international project on the way, as we have awakened the interest of Vox Humanitatis, a new and still small but promising organization for the care of small languages.

Inclusion of already existing Open Educational Resources

A great topic for me is the question of how to get already existing educational resources assimilated to WE. In some of my projects (see below), I try to convince authors of high quality materials to donate their materials in CC-BY-SA for the use in WE.

1) Especially for this process, we have to facilitate the "wikification" of texts and web pages.

Proposal: Creation of community knowledge

2) We need a "WhatYouSeeIsWhatYouGet" (WYSIWYG) editor

Proposal: Lobby work at WikiMedia Foundation

3) We need a support for the Chinese national language mandarin


I'd propose to stay right with the policy, WE has had before, to see CC-BY-SA unported as leading license, welcome still more free ones and tolerate NC-restrictions only in exceptional cases.

My WikiEducator Projects

Wiki Project at my School

My regular tuition in physics, grade 11, this school year was supported by a detailed on-line script in WikiEducator. My students participated by authoring solutions of related problems, mostly calculations. See Mechanics11. Status: The text is nearly completed now, some graphics are still lacking, the pages have to be translated into English (unsolved problem!)

Free Texts for Primary Science Education

The Department for the Didactics of Physics at the University of Munich, Prof. Dr. Wiesner & Dr. Heran-Dörr, is about to donate 1000 pages of high quality educational material for the teaching of physics in elementary schools. I asked them to do so and use WikiEducator as platform. I am trying to counsel and support.

Status: Search for a funding agency, cooperation with Vox Humanitatis

Cooperation with other Educational Wikis

ZUM is the largest German educational wiki. I'm the contact person for ZUM-WikiEducator

Status: (limited) interest in cooperation from both sides

Next steps to do for me: Introduction of the WikiMaster concept in ZUM. Completion of the copy of the on-line script Mechanics11 (see above) into ZUM.

Lobby Work

I represent WikiEducator as "ambassador" here in my country. See my record of promotions. Example: One of the activities has been a presentation of WikiEducator at the University of Munich, "Day of the Physics Teachers"

Posting Activity

For my posting activity in the WikiEducator mailing list see here, for the older ones in the Moodle forum there.

Planned Projects

Physics Teacher Education

My big dream for my work in WikiEducator is to establish a platform for physics teachers in non-industrialized countries. A draft of this project can be found here.

... in Uganda

I'm cooperating with council candidate Vincent Kizza in planning a virtual platform for physics teachers in Africa, called Center for innovative physics teaching in Uganda.

Status: Analysis of needs and constraints of school physics in Uganda.


GTZis the largest public development agency in Germany I've asked for the funding for the Learning4Content program.

Status: I'm waiting for an invitation for a first internal talk.


LEIFI is a well situated German site for secondary physics, developed by teachers with their students.

Next step to do for me: commence talks for release under CC-BY-SA license.

My motivation

Since I was 15 years old, I have found this world we live in to be quite unjust. After my university studies, I spent 9 months teaching in the Philippines, experiencing the lack of good educators. Later I went to India, Peru and Senegal, and was deeply moved by seeing so many young intelligent people without proper possibilities of education. Recently, I have started reading research literature about open and distance learning (ODL), excited by the incredible new possibilities offered by the internet.

I feel I have collected so much experience through my work in the classroom, and I want to share them with the world!

But still more important for me is networking, building a community, as only a lively community of educators can achieve progress in the improvement of world education.

Therefore I definitely find it necessary to cooperate in the new WikiEducator council.

Please support my work for WikiEducator with your vote!

Günther Osswald

(aka White Eagle)


Questions and Answers

If you have any questions or critics concerning my work or candidacy, please post here!

  • Hi White Eagle,the SUPRA project seems to me to be quiet a prospect, especially for Africa.What remains to be done to speed up the implementation? Vincent Kizza
Hi Vincent, welcome to my campaign page, still a lot. The first step for educators in Africa would be, to check out the site and find out, what part of SUPRA is particularly interesting in the context of African primary schools. As the material is still available only in German, an automatic translation has to be used, if you don't speak enough German. We'll begin with translating what is most recommended. The second step could be, as soon as a correct translation to English is done, to adapt the material to the cultural context in your country or even ethnic background. There will soon be a post in our mailing list from Vox Humanitatis describing the full size of this project.--White Eagle 19:42, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Confirmation of Nomination