[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ore great news from the country’s leading telco!

Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has just entered a partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia and its sister projects.  This collaboration which will be a part of the global Wikipedia Zero program,  gives Smart, Talk ‘N Text and Sun Cellular and their 68.9 million clients unlimited access to Wikipedia, free of data charges from their mobile devices.

Aecordng to Public Affairs Head of Smart, Mon Isberto, “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 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.

Photo shows Jim Ayson, senior manager for Digital Services Innovation at Smart, formalizing the ‘Wikipedia Zero’ partnership with Carolynne Schloeder, head of global mobile partnerships at Wikimedia Foundation.

According to Digital Measurement Specialist Comscore, Wikipedia is the world’s largest online encyclopedia, visited by 500 million people each month, according to Comscore. It has more than 30 million articles in 287 languages, contributed by a global community of 80,000 volunteers.

Starting last September , 2014 and until February , 2014, under Wikipedia Zero, 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 cellphone, can do so without incurring data charges.

Carolynne Schloeder, Wikimedia Foundation’s Head of global mobile partnership explains, “Smart has been a terrific supporter of Wikimedia, and now we’re very happy to formalize our relationship with Wikipedia Zero.  In fact, Smart’s emphasis on education is aligned with Wikimedia’s global mission, driven locally by Wikimedia Philippines.”

In addittion, Pinoy Wikipedia editors are also participating in Smart’s Tap&Learn: Tablets for Education, Smart’s latest initiative in the mobile education (mEducation) space, where mobile technologies are utilized to enhance the learning experience of partner communities.

With Smart’s Tap&Learn, Wikipedia Philippines representatives will train educators from public elementary and secondary schools the use of Wikipedia in enhancing the learning experience of their students, and their own professional development.

According to Alvin Villar, Wikimedia Philippines Chairman of the Board of Trustees, “With the Tap&Learn program, Wikimedia Philippines is eager to join forces with Smart in training educators to use Wikipedia as a tool they can use in their profession.”

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,” Mr. Villar added .