After a very impressive first week of campaigning, I’d like to take a moment to get a bit deeper into one aspect of this campaign that I particularly care about…
The best opportunity for me to do so, is to personally thank Ingeborg, Herbert and Dorothea, for choosing the “Help 10 students learn to map” pledge. This is a very special pledge to me.
Open mapping is a team sport.
First of all, it’s an opportunity for us to give back to the OpenStreetMap community, where most of the data we use to make our maps comes from. OpenStreetMap, or OSM, is a world map that follows the Wikipedia model, that means that anyone can contribute to it. By teaching Armenian students how to map with it, we hope to grow the local number of capable hands behind this communal effort to map the entire planet, starting from our own doorsteps. We believe it’s fun, but also very useful because often the quality of the data in this part of the world is not always …the best.
So why do workshops?
Because I had a lot of fun doing something similar back in 2012, when I co-created and ran a robotics workshops in Yerevan, at the TUMO Center, an amazing state-of-the-art technology and art center that offers free after-school education to Armenian kids.
I worked for a year in TUMO’s IT team before that, but teaching had by far been the best part of my experience there. It exceeded the excitement of opening day, or even the feeling of making history, as TUMO was still a construction site when I joined. Those classes were special, the kids were awesome, and bumping into them randomly in the streets – when I manage to recognise them – always brings me joy. It is indeed one of the fondest memory of my time in Armenia.
Those students showed me great potential, and eagerness to learn, so it just feels right to offer some more students the opportunity to learn something new.
But who’s going to attend our new workshops?
Good question, we are still discussing with various organisations, we already have informal commitment, and I am positive we’ll have definite answers before the campaign’s end. I’ll be all over the place when it is confirmed and you’ll be the first to know!
What are we hoping the outcome will be?
Whether or not students will decide to stick around open mapping is up to them. If they do, the whole OSM community would have won some more capable mappers. We’ll keep them in the loop, we’d help them grow their skills, we’ll watch them become better than us, who knows, maybe they’ll eventually join us?
Or maybe they’ll just keep it all as a hobby? Or none of the above? It doesn’t matter really. But I can surely promise we’ll do our best to offer a good quality experience for them all. As long as we’ll have the opportunity to expose them to something new, interesting, and potentially useful, that’ll be all the reward we are hoping for.
And all of that, I really believe is worth our investment.
You probably already backed us, so what could you do now?
Well, the pledge is still right there, if you think you or someone you know may be interested in contributing towards these workshops, now you know a little more about why I believe it matters; it would be awesome if you could share this message with them, to give us the opportunity to reach more students.
Thank you in advance!
PS: If you have another four minutes, here’s a fun montage with a taste of those robotics classes.