Breaking down barriers to technology is the first step to involve society's most experienced members: the elderly. And the Czech Wikimedia project Senior Citizens Write Wikipedia is trying to do just that.
The project began when Czech Wikipedia noticed a decline in active editors in recent years, and realized which contributors (and potential editors) did have enough free time to contribute: senior citizens.
Searching for new editors of Wikipedia, they say:
The goal of the project is to establish Wikipedia courses for the senior citizens of Prague, organize several independent lectures in various places and also reach out to a group we call the ‘retired professors’.
Senior citizens often go underrepresented online, with limited knowledge of access to technology. Inspired in the successful program Students Write Wikipedia [cz], the project's purpose is to go beyond this lack of access and enrich their sites with the vast knowledge available among this generation. Wikipedia can thus become a platform for the older generation to pass along their knowledge to the younger.
The project is focusing on the Czech community but sees future growth possible:
The project is specifically targeted to the Czech Wikipedia community[…] However, it will also benefit a broader Wikimedia community by hopefully providing a working example of a “senior Wikipedia Education program”.
Some sub-projects to reach out to seniors will include:
- A weekly Wikipedia workshop in the Elpida [cz] senior center in Prague-Pankrác, a club with a huge audience of several senior citizens reading their regular newsletter.
- A Wikipedia course comprised of regular seminars at the ‘Third Age University’ at the Philosophical Faculty, Charles University in Prague.
- A system to engage retired university or high school professors through a web of existing contacts.
Hopefully, the project will not only lead to a wealth of information added online, but will bring a new set of digital skills to a group with much to share.
To be part of the project, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org To find out more about the Wikimedia Foundation, and how to apply with your project, visit wikimedia.org
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