[Ambassadors] musings on education outreach

Prakhar Agarwal prakhar.jiit at gmail.com
Wed Aug 27 00:41:11 UTC 2008

On Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 5:33 AM, inode0 <inode0 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Ok, here comes a rather not well thought out collection of ideas
> for ways that ambassadors can reach out to the academic world. It
> is a bit rushed since I wanted to get it out before the meeting
> this evening.
> I want to thank Máirín Duffy for kindly spending a lot of time
> sharing her thoughts on this subject, at least some of which are
> included below. Thanks to others too who have discussed this with
> me in the past, some of their ideas may be contained here as well.
> I think it is fair to say up front that this discussion really isn't
> a counteroffer of any sort to the plan outlined by Jack previously.
> That plan is designed around a set of goals that have merit and should
> be pursued in my opinion. Those goals are not entirely clear to me but
> surely overlap with some of the goals I have in mind. Let's think of
> this discussion as more one about what *other* stuff we might like to
> do.
> Goal #1: Awareness
> Before anyone can participate they need to be aware of the project.
> So we start with marketing. While activities like talks to the CS
> Club or to the school's LUG reach some students, they unfortunately
> miss the vast majority of people we need to reach to raise awareness
> of what Fedora has to offer.
> One key group I want to focus on are students from non-technical
> areas. We have ways to reach kids in Computer Science and Engineering
> programs. We need to reach out to kids in Design schools, in Business
> schools, in Marketing programs, and elsewhere. It is really easy for
> us to see how someone studying graphic design could find a niche in
> the Fedora project, it isn't easy for them to see that without our
> help. Lots of young people want to be involved, but they need others
> to help them get started.
> I'm open to all suggestions about how to effectively do this, I don't
> pretend to have the answer. One idea is to unleash a poster campaign
> directed at various need areas within the Fedora project for ambassadors
> to distribute to places where these students will see them. This sort of
> campaign has its limitations and would need to be carefully crafted so
> those whose eye we catch know where to go and what to do to have it be
> more than "oh, that looks cool" and on to the next poster.
> Perhaps we could give talks to the art club or to a marketing class?
> I'm afraid most of us aren't very well equipped to do that today but
> with some help from people currently working in those areas we could
> be trained a bit in the language and tools enough to give an effective
> pitch I think.
> While we are promoting Fedora and what it stands for we can think about
> doing that through some non-Fedora vehicles. Google's Summer of Code
> projects are something we could advertise and promote. Getting faculty
> member mentors, many already exist, also gives us a way to penetrate
> the consciousness of the faculty. Doing what we can to promote both
> mentoring by faculty/staff and facilitating the pairing of students
> with mentors might be another thing we could consider.
> Goal #2: Participation
> After awareness participation is key. It seems to me that the single
> biggest barrier here is being intimidated. Even within the college
> geek crowd this is a problem. I can't hack KDE so I'll use Fedora
> but not go any further. We need to get across to potential contributors
> the vast number of ways they can contribute without being an expert at
> writing code.
> Mentoring, Fedora mentoring, is critical to engaging new contributors
> in areas where they can feel useful quickly. Jon is working on this
> with the bug tracking folks, I'm sure others are also in other areas.
> For this community we should find some areas with fairly low technical
> barriers to new contributors. Bug triaging, documentation, marketing,
> art, and what else?
> The university I work at provides several opportunities for booths as
> well where technology is on display. Getting a small Fedora booth at
> these events would really be great. Ambassadors can chat with students
> and others who stop, find their areas of interest, show them sub-projects
> where those interests might fit into the Fedora project, and sign them
> up with accounts on the spot.
> While all of the above has a university focus we should definitely also
> spend time with high schools and even middle schools where there are
> opportunities to do so. We have unbelievable contributors currently in
> high school who mostly seem to find us by accident. While I can toss out
> some suggestions for things we might try with these schools I'd really
> like to hear from someone like Ian, if he wouldn't mind, about how he
> thinks that Fedora could be presented in high schools to engage more
> students.
> I realize that what I have written is far from a plan of action. It is
> more a stew of ideas. At some point a plan of action is necessary. For
> now I'm happy to throw more into the stew and see what we end up with
> for supper.
Hi there!
Thanks for starting such a crucial discussion. I'm also willing to promote
Fedora in my area. Until now I have only evangelized Fedora on a
person-by-person basis. But now I want to address a gathering(something like
a student group). For this very purpose, I'm going to announce the formation
of a LUG very shortly in my university. I might also involve some
experienced Fedora guys to come in and be a part of this inaugural session.
I'm particularly interested in eliciting about *what exactly* to demonstrate
to the audience so that they get hooked onto it instantly. I'm open to
suggestions and further discussions regarding the same.

Prakhar Agarwal
Fedora Ambassador-Delhi, India
Linux User# 474643
prakhar at fedoraproject.org
prakhar at linuxmail.org
GPG key: 8BC6532F
"Life is the greatest teacher"
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