Тhis September and October, the Academic Board and the Education Program Manager of Wikimedia Serbia have been extraordinarily busy. In addition to regular Education Program activities — which include supporting student editors at 11 secondary schools and 5 universities in 14 faculties on 2 Wikimedia projects — they have organized and facilitated 4 trainings for over 100 teachers in 3 different cities in Serbia.
These trainings have been developed for teachers to learn about the use of Wikipedia in the classroom. Since using wiki tools is now a legislated/required component of the national educational curriculum for the second year of secondary school, these seminars are a great opportunity for teachers to get support and knowledge about wiki technologies.
Teachers in Serbia are obligated to attend a certain number of professional development trainings each year. Our seminar is a recognized course option in the official teacher-development training catalogue since the school year 2014/2015, and it is accredited by the State Institute for Improvement of Education.
Significant part of the training is practical. After a brief session of background information on Wikimedia Serbia (with an emphasis on our Education Program) and a session about Wikipedia policies and practices, teachers write new articles or improve last year’s students’ articles.
Participants were teachers from primary and secondary schools from all over Serbia, so training was designed to address their specific needs and experiences.
The atmosphere during the trainings was friendly and supportive and we all left the place with smiling faces. After the first training, we received a poem of thanks from one participant. Our satisfaction in realizing these trainings was even higher after reading participants’ evaluation feedback, in which we received top grades.
Following these successful seminars, the most important task is to support and engage participants to apply their new skills in their classrooms. In order to help them accomplish this and inspire and support each other, we’ve created a special wiki portal for them. We believe that these trainings will help in reaching out to quality partner institutions and teachers for our Education Program. The next planned trainings will take place in January and we are looking forward to them!
Milica Žarković, Education program manager, Wikimedia Serbia