The Open Data Day experience was awesome. I am soooo grateful to the inspirational Herb Lainchbury (Open Data Summit & Open Data Day organizer) and Victoria Councilor Marianne Alto for including our Webmaker group in Victoria’s Open Data Day Hackathon. Also to fellow mentors Scott Leslie and Loren Mullane for volunteering their time and energy – impossible without them.
Marianne introduced two motions last October calling on the City of Victoria to “open up government” by “providing its data for easy observation and use to the people who pay for it – local residents.” As a result, Victoria launched it’s first Open Data Catalogue . It’s no small thing to champion a cause like this, where ‘describing’ and ‘explaining the value of’ Open Data is half the battle. Inspiring.
Open Data Day Victoria was held in City Hall Antechamber, where the main hackathon consisted of about 30 ‘grownup’ hackers. We occupied the chamber side, which was a pretty cool experience for our youth participants (sitting in the Mayor’s chair was fun). Truly inspiring to have the two groups ‘making’ side by side. The Webmaker involvement felt like a recognition of youth in our community, of the importance in inviting their participation and value in to the future of government. Our group was small (approx 9 youth), probably because we didn’t put a lot of effort into promoting this time, but the ratio of learners to mentors worked out perfectly.
Bonus that we were able to demo our Webmaker projects to the adult hackers, councilors and Mayor Dean Fortin in attendance. Mayor Fortin was incredibly good with our group, even letting kids wear his Chain of Office for photos.
Yes, a super-fun great day – thanks again to Herb and Open Data BC for including us, and for the City of Victoria who provided space and a yummy lunch!
Thanks to Scott’s contribution of the Victoria Wiki, as a final-act our hackers added their work by location-theme
Learning Reflections of the “Webmakers Breakfast Club”!
*Trying* to be organized, and *trying* to improve as a DIY teacher, I created this Hacktivity Kit with contribution of ideas from Scott Leslie (who I would have been lost without) and of based on the work, and with feedback from the amazing Laura Hilliger. We kept to the civic-storytelling theme, but for a few reasons were unable to wrap up with discussion on open data, and how it related to our work. I feel disappointed by that, but also believe our Hacktivity could work very well with prepared mentors and learning group of similar strengths & interests. Our group was scattered on both counts.
Even though I try not to … I’ll always think of this group as the ‘Breakfast Club Webmakers‘. We had about NINE youth with completely different reasons for being there: nine different strengths, nine different responses to our Hacktivity. For one ‘Popcorn Maker was too easy’, for another completely uninteresting compared to learning code with Thimble (which I switched him to), one pair of kindred spirits working as a team embraced the entire project, while another struggled to learn the tool almost the entire time.
We also had two young women with an ‘idea’ around a Bucket list for their community. Not only an idea, but a breakdown of their idea into entities, categories, drafts, workflow. The challenge in this for me was *not* to tell them how I thought it should be done, but to encourage discussion among mentors with different backgrounds (CMS, Wiki and Open Government). Scott had them create a Google Doc form, which was so incredibly clever as a a first step in visualizing their project on the web.
I look forward to sequencing in Popcorn Maker, transparency of code in Webmaker X and a few other things to help make Breakfast Club Webmakers hackjams a little easier :)
A credit to our mentors that ALL of these kids left with enthusiasm and pride in what they accomplished.
All in all, a really fun day – learning as always, on all sides and this experience has provided me with a few ideas on Webmaker Victoria’s next steps ( I’ll write a separate blog post for that).