We at the OpenTechSchool are coming from the tech-industry and are tech-savvy people, who started this whole movement because we felt technology is tought wrong as it is done today. We never really thought further than tech until Sam made the great Video of us for his “Year of Open Source”-Project and raised said question in the corresponding blog post. In it Sams asks whether the way we organise ourself and our learning materials in combination with the very personal and including way of real-life events could be transfered to other topics and subjects. Sure, we saw the idea of the OpenStartupSchool here in Berlin (on which we are still waiting for anything to happen) but as this rather close to us and focusses on a similar audience, we really didn’t see this as going much further. Not until Sam brought up that this sounds like a great learning technique for learning languages.
Now, I tried different approaches on languages myself and only very few successfully and I definitely do not have the experience nor knowledge to judge whether it might be a usable or smart approach but I can tell you, I’d be willing to try it out. All we did for our workshops is design the learning material in a way, we would have liked our own material would have been: clear, precise and hands-on, learn-while-you-approaches. I don’t want to learn a theory and then do ten exercises to get it (as I know myself: I won’t get it that way). What I need to do, is do it and have someone at the side, knowing where I am and what I can tackle and correct the mistakes I do. And over time I become more interested in learning more and get the theories right in order to not only understand what I am doing but also to get better at something I enjoy doing. So, yes, that sounds like a great approach to learn a language to be honest. Count me in (as a learner).
Who’s willing to try?
And as we are mostly tech people, we won’t be able to do that ourself. But we always defined ourself and what we do as a blueprint to others to copy us. Sure, we mostly meant doing your own OpenTechSchool in your city or region, but I guess this is also true for any other topic. We are just not - ourself - equipped and experienced in doing it for other topics. But we for sure are able to provide and help with the infrastructure, like Github, as well as our vast network of open-minded and supportive people from the community. And we were thinking about creating learning material for new OTS contributors, like on how to do learners material and how to contribute to things, anyways. Those could also be used to educate non-tech-people on how to use the infrastructure to start other initiatives with similar goals.
But again, what it needs is people experienced in the field to lead such an initiative. What do you think, would that be something worth trying? Any idea what topics and areas this might be easily to apply to? And maybe you know someone, who’s willing to try…