Nexters seminar, Somerset House

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The event was led by Stevie Benton, who provides a write up of it below.

On Tuesday 26 November 2013 I presented at a seminar at Somerset House, London. The seminar was for a group called Nexters - the Big Society Network's programme to support the UK's best technology social entrepreneurs. I was invited to speak by Ashley Goodall who co-ordinates the group. The group invites tech social entrepreneurs to meet with funders and other groups already working in the fields of technology or social change and it was on this basis I was invited to present, along with people from Accenture's corporate social responsibility programme.

My presentation (file to be added) had three main themes: an introduction to Wikimedia projects, making a case for open licensing, and how to consider using existing tools to promote positive social outcomes. The third part looked at possible ways in which Wikipedia (for example) could be used in contexts where internet access is not always reliable or present, such as young offenders' institutes and the use of Wikipedia Zero.

The idea of the seminar, which happens on a fairly regular basis, is to introduce people to other people who may be able to share lessons and experiences, and seed further collaborations. This certainly happened. During the networking part of the event I met many very interesting people working on interesting projects. Details will follow here once I have written up my notes more fully. A couple of the more interesting contacts I made included an educational charity that creates videos teaching STEM concepts in a visual and simple way. The group then releases these videos under CC-BY-SA licenses (sometimes CC-NC) and is interesting in sharing them via Wikimedia Commons. They specialise in Open Educational Resources (OER) so I am going to introduce them to Simon Knight, our in-house expert in this field. They also are interested in joining the fledgling Open Coalition, which is great news.

Accenture were very interested in the work that we are exploring to use Wikipedia (Kiwix version) and MediaWiki Vagrant available within education programmes in YOIs. This fits nicely with some of their skills programs they operate under their CSR programme. A follow-up discussion will take place about this.

Another social enterprise I spoke with currently have a skills and training programme that is set up so that when they deliver training to a corporate client, they deliver, for free, equivalent training for a young person (or the same number of young people). They have asked me to deliver a lunchtime learning session for them in the near future. This I shall also follow up and will share details.

Follow-up[edit | edit source]

I have since followed up with several organisations. Details below:

  • Exchanged emails with Simon Mitchell at Accenture with a view to exploring potential collaboration, related to their skills programme
  • Written to Mark Woodman at FreeFormers.com who showed an interest in me delivering a lunchtime learning session
  • Exchanged correspondence with Julia Bateson from excite-ed.co.uk about some of the work she is doing using Wikipedia as a teaching tool. Also, Julia has kindly put me in touch with Ervell Bailey from Rise UK who work with young offenders
  • Arranged a meeting at the Wikimedia UK office with Fuse School on Friday 29 November to discuss their educational technology work, the potential of sharing their educational videos on Commons an the possibility of their helping to develop the open coalition.
  • The discussions with Fuse School have progressed well. We are jointly developing a pilot to release five of their excellent videos under CC-BY-SA on Commons and add the videos to appropriate articles. We will then examine the numbers and consider whether to complete.
  • A similar, larger scale event was delivered by Stevie on 3 Devember