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For five months starting Friday, 68.9 million mobile customers of Smart, Talk 'N Text and Sun Cellular may get unlimited access to open-source encyclopedia Wikipedia, as Smart and Wikimedia Foundation teamed up to bring Wikipedia Zero to the Philippines.
Smart public affairs head Ramon Isberto said this is one way to use technology and mobile communications to drive learning and development.
“Wikipedia Zero is relevant in a country where access to both computer terminals and Internet connectivity is still relatively low, but where almost everyone owns a cellphone. We are excited to bring Wikipedia Zero to the country and help create a way to make learning more accessible to millions of Filipinos,” he said.
In a news release, Smart noted Wikipedia has 500 million visitors a month, and has 30 million articles in 287 languages, contributed by a global community of 80,000 volunteers.
Under Wikipedia Zero, Smart, Talk ‘N Text, and Sun Cellular subscribers may access m.wikipedia.org, zero.wikipedia.org, the Wikipedia apps and Wikimedia sites on their cell phones without incurring data charges until February 3, 2015.
“Smart’s emphasis on education is aligned with Wikimedia’s global mission, driven locally by Wikimedia Philippines,” said Carolynne Schloeder, head of global mobile partnerships at the Wikimedia Foundation.
Tap and learn
Meanwhile, Filipino Wikipedia editors can take part in Smart’s Tap&Learn: Tablets for Education, Smart's initiative in the mobile education (mEducation) space.
With Tap&Learn, Wikipedia Philippines representatives can help train educators from public elementary and secondary schools on how to use Wikipedia.
"While we all know that students should not simply copy from Wikipedia when doing assignments, we hope that through Wikipedia, teachers can impart to their students the value of using reliable sources, adding proper citations, and using critical thinking when reading anything on the Internet. It would also be great if they can encourage their students to contribute to Wikipedia as well,” said Eugene Alvin Villar, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Philippines. — Joel Locsin/TJD, GMA News