Tectonic shift think tank

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This Tectonic Shift Think Tank will bring together an international group of thought leaders and practitioners to identify the transformation opportunities for Mediawiki and related FLOSS technologies for eLearning using free cultural works for Education.

Building on the phenomenal success of the "wiki way" for open content authoring, this group will explore how to make the future happen. We will present concrete proposals to move wiki technology in education from a play pen for connected Web 2.0 junkies to a serious mainstream contender for widening access to education across the world. We will place particular emphasis on the sustainable development of free cultural works for education in support of the realisation of the millennium development goals.


The TSTT will take place at the Commonwealth of Learning in Vancouver:

Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
1055 West Hastings Street, Suite 1200
Vancouver, BC V6E 2E9

Most attendees will stay at the Sandman Suites, in walking distance from COL. See location and directions on Google Maps.


To refine the available technology infrastructure to radically scale up the development of a free curriculum for all levels of education which can be customized, modified and adapted for local needs without restriction. We recognize the dignity of all educators and learners to become equal participants in transforming the digital divide into digital dividends.


  • Place: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Venue: Commonwealth of Learning (COL), 1055 West Hastings Street, 12th Floor - Boardroom.
  • Time: 9am - 5pm each day
  • Dates: 11 - 13 April 2007, from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (lunch will be provided).
  • Weather: Please refer to the following link for information: Weather Network
  • Prerequisites: An open mind, and commitment to education as a common good.
  • Health warning: Be warned that free software and free cultural works will be discussed, and we will not entertain motions for the inclusion of the NC restriction for educational content. If you suffer from hypertension, parental guidance is advised.
  • Who can attend: This is an open meeting and attendance is limited by venue constraints. Places will be confirmed on a first-come, first-serve basis. We will explore the possibilities and feasibility of an audio cast.
  • Facilitators: Wayne Mackintosh and Erik Möller

Brain teasers

  • All you need for the future of eLearning is free content, Mediawiki and Google
  • It's better to have a poor quality educational resource that gives you the freedom to adapt and modify for ongoing quality enhancements than having access to a high quality closed resource.
  • The conventional education model cannot deliver on the overwhelming demand for education in the developing world
  • We can develop superior quality resources using open authoring models when compared to closed content authoring
  • Digital mash-ups provide a glimpse of the future of digital learning in a Web 2.0 world - but with the corresponding risks of widening the divide.
  • We will find innovative solutions to widen access to learning through digital content, especially for learners who do not have access to technology
  • The most advanced technology should be deployed for the most disadvantaged learners
  • Access to ICTs is a fundamental right of knowledge citizens - not an excuse for using old technologies.

Dynamic agenda

This agenda will evolve dynamically using the wiki way.

Day One

  1. Personal visioning proposals - maximum 15 minutes:
    • WikiEducator for development - Mackiwg
    • Mediawiki, Wikimedia projects and Wikieducator - Eloquence
    • PLEs and the interaction among Mediawiki, eXe and WikiEducator - Sandy Britain, New Zealand
    • The interface between eXe and Wikieducator - Brent Simpson, New Zealand
    • Leigh Blackall, Teaching and Learning Online, NZ
    • FLOSS4Edu and Africa's perspective on the future - Nicholas Kimolo
    • Bringing transparency to philanthropy (matching resources to development needs) - Peter Rawsthorne
    • Others to be identified

Day Two

  1. Welcome by Sir John Daniel, President and CEO of COL
  2. Defining high level requirements for a next generation platform ("MediaWiki 2.0"?)
    1. WYSIWYG - authoring interface
    2. Backend storage format and parser
    3. Print support
    4. Content synchronization
    5. Advanced versioning (branches)
    6. eLearning functionality
    7. Semantics and structure
    8. Quality heuristics (Does this mean good heuristics, or heuristics about quality content?)
    9. Quality annotation (Same question as above)

Day Three

  1. Draft a Tectonic Shift Action Plan on WikiEducator
    1. Development strategy: Rewrite, reference implementations, evolution?
    2. Migration path for old software versions
    3. Collaboration strategy and governance
    4. Funding strategy and rough budget estimates
    5. Deliverables and timeframes

Participant List

Confirmed participants

  • Wayne Mackintosh, COL
  • Erik Möller, Open Progress/Wikimedia
  • Paul West, COL
  • Brent Simpson, eXe / CITE, NZ
  • Sandy Britain, Tairawhiti Polytechnic, eXe / CITE, NZ
  • Nicholas Kimolo, Kenya
  • Ken Udas, World Campus, USA
  • Joel Thierstein, Connexions, USA
  • Leigh Blackall, Otago Polytechnic NZ
  • Mike Halm, Lionshare, Penn State University, USA
  • Peter Rawsthorne, Memorial University of Newfoundland, CA
  • Murugan Pal, CK12 FlexBooks for Every Student
  • Maurice Joseph, CK12 FlexBooks for Every Student
  • Brion Vibber, CTO, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Robert Kruhlak, CA
  • Randy Fisher, iCentro Networks
  • Andrew Lachkovics, CA
  • Merrick Schaefer, UNICEF
  • Scott McNeil, Open Education Forum
  • Samuel Klein, Content Coordinator, One Laptop Per Child - Wednesday/Thursday
  • Christine Geith, MSU Global, USA
  • Charles Pritchard, Oregon, USA

Remote participation

All work and discussions will be uploaded on WikiEducator to facilitate remote participation. The following people have requested to participate remotely.

IRC Channel

Notes and comments on the meeting are typed on the #wikieducator channel on irc.freenode.net.


Join here: https://skypecasts.skype.com/skypecasts/skypecast/detailed.html?id_talk=689078

or to dial direct: +99001110003245589


  • Brain Lamb (UBC) - with regret is no longer able to attend.

Requests for participation

You are free to add your names to this list which will be considered on a first come first serve basis. Attendees will be responsible for travel and accommodation. Refreshments will be provided by COL.

  • List your name here

Inputs for discussion

We invite contributions for inclusion in the agenda, particularly for the visioning exercise on Day 1. Remote participants are encouraged to upload their submissions on the Wiki.

  • A copy of Erik's email asking for your crazy ideas

Participants wishlist

In no specific order ...

  • Add your link to a vision for Mediawiki software futures for Wikis serving educational needs here

Workshop questions and outputs

Mailing list for resourcing & implementing NG technology:

Remote presentations