MANILA, Philippines - Wireless services leader Smart Communications Inc. has entered into a partnership with the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia to provide unlimited access to the crowd-sourced knowledge provider.
Smart and Wikimedia Foundation’s partnership would allow the 68.9 million subscribers of Smart, Talk ’N Text and Sun Cellular to access Wikipedia through their mobile devices without any data charge.
“We have always looked for and promoted ways to use technology and mobile communications to drive learning and consequently, 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 cell phone.
We are excited to bring Wikipedia Zero to the country and help create a way to make learning more accessible to millions of Filipinos,” said Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) Spokesman Ramon R. Isberto.
Wikipedia is the world’s largest online encyclopedia, visited by 500 million people each month, according to Comscore. Wikipedia contains more than 30 million articles in 287 languages, contributed by a global community of 80,000 volunteers.
Under Wikipedia Zero, from September 5 this year to February 3, 2015, all Smart, Talk ’N Text, and Sun Cellular subscribers who will access m.wikipedia.org, zero.wikipedia.org, the Wikipedia apps (available for iOS and Android devices), or any other Wikimedia sites on their cell phone, can do so without incurring data charges. “Smart has been a terrific supporter of Wikimedia, and now we’re very happy to formalize our relationship with Wikipedia Zero,” said Carolynne Schloeder, head of global mobile partnerships at the Wikimedia Foundation.
“Smart’s emphasis on education is aligned with Wikimedia’s global mission, driven locally by Wikimedia Philippines.”
In addition to the free use of Wikipedia by Smart subscribers, Filipino Wikipedia editors are also participating in Smart’s Tap&Learn: Tablets for Education, the telco leader’s latest initiative in the mobile education (mEducation) space, where mobile technologies are utilized to enhance the learning experience of partner-communities.
Through Smart’s Tap&Learn, Wikipedia Philippines representatives are helping train educators from public elementary and secondary schools across the country on how to use Wikipedia to enhance the learning experience of their students, and for their own professional development.
“With the Tap&Learn program, Wikimedia Philippines is very excited to partner with Smart in training teachers in using Wikipedia as one of the tools they can use in their profession,” said Eugene Alvin Villar, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Philippines.
“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,” he said.