Training at EuroPython 2014 Making your first contribution to OpenStack

OpenStack logo

Last week I ran a 3-hour training on how to get started contributing to OpenStack at EuroPython. The aim was to give a high-level overview of how the contribution process works in the project and guide people through making their first contribution, from account creation to submitting a patch.

Overview

The session starts with an extremely fast overview of OpenStack, geared toward giving the participants an idea of the different components and possible areas for contribution. We then go through creating the accounts, why they're all needed, and how to work with DevStack for the people who have installed it. From there we finally start talking about the contribution process itself, some general points on open-source and OpenStack culture then go through a number of ideas for small tasks suitable for a first contribution. After that it's down to the participants to work on something and prepare a patch. Some people chose to file and triage/confirm bugs. The last part is about making sure the patch matches the community standards, submitting it, and talking about what happens next both to the patch and to the participant as a new member of the community.

Preparing

During the weeks preceding the event, I ran two pilot workshops with small groups (less than 10 people) in my local hackerspace, in preparation for the big one in Berlin. That was absolutely invaluable in terms of making the material more understandable and refining the content for items I didn't think of covering initially (e.g. screen, openrc files) and topics that could use more in-depth explanations (e.g. how to find your first task), timings, and generally getting a feel for what's reasonably achievable within a 3-hour intro workshop.

Delivering

I think it went well, despite some issues at the beginning due to lack of Internet connectivity (always a problem during hands-on workshops!). About 70 people had signed up to attend (a.k.a. about 7 times too many), thankfully other members of the OpenStack community stepped up and offered their help as mentors - thanks again everyone! In the end, about half the participants showed up in the morning, and we lost another dozen to the Internet woes. The people who stayed were mostly enthusiastic and seemed happy with the experience. According to the session etherpad, at least 5 new contributors uploaded a first patch :) Three are merged so far.

Distributing the slides early proved popular and useful. For an interactive workshop with lots of links and references it's really helpful for people to go back on something they missed or want to check again.

Issues

The start of the workshop is a bit lecture-heavy and could be titled "Things I Desperately Wish I Knew When Starting Out," and although there's some quizzes/discussions/demoing I'd love to make it more interactive in the future.

The information requested in order to join the Foundation tends to surprise people, I think because people come at it from the perspective of "I want to submit a patch" rather than "I am preparing to join a Foundation." At the hackerspace sessions in particular (maybe because it was easier to have candid discussions in such a small group), people weren't impressed with being forced to state an affiliation. The lack of obvious answer for volunteers gave the impression that the project cares more about contributions from companies. "Tog" might make an appearance in the company stats in the future :-)

On the sign-up form, the "Statement of Interest" is intimidating and confusing for some people (I certainly remember being uncertain over mine and what was appropriate, back when I was new and joining the Foundation was optional!). I worked around this after the initial session by offering suggestions/tips for both these fields, and spoke a bit more about their purpose.

A few people suggested I simply tell people to sign up for all these accounts in advance so there's more time during the workshop to work on the contribution itself. It's an option, though a number of people still hit non-obvious issues with Gerrit that are difficult to debug (some we opened bugs for, others we added to the etherpad). During one of the pilot sessions at the hackerspace, 6 of the 7 participants had errors when running git review -s  - I'm still not sure why, as it Worked On My Machine (tm) just fine at the same time.


Overall, I'm glad I did this! It was interesting to extract all this information from my brain, wiki pages and docs and attempt to make it as consumable as possible. It's really exciting when people come back later to say they've made a contribution and that the session helped to make the process less scary and more comprehensible. Thanks to all the participants who took the time to offer feedback as well! I hope I can continue to improve on this.

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Evolving Open-Source Night Open-Source Night - June

The monthly Open-Source night experiment continues. On Wednesday, June 19th we had the June edition of Open-Source Night. Rory gave us a slightly-longer-than-15-minutes talk on OpenStreetMap, and the kind of contributions the project welcomes (data data data, really!). I was the only one to volunteer for a lightning talk, in stark contrast with the last event where we had multiple ones both by people attending open-source night and network people who happened to be visiting the hackerspace at the time.

Rather than doing an on-topic talk about an open-source project, I did a meta-talk about Open-Source Night itself and different ways in which it could evolve.

I make no secret that I don't think open-source night works very well in its current format. My goal (and measure for success) is to help people actually get started contributing.

Note: if you were at my deep dive on contributing to open-source and planning on attending the next open-source night, please do come!! This all just means that I think there are things that can be improved :)

Reminder: The current format

We're currently meeting on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. The event usually starts with two 15 minutes talk, ideally one on the life of open-source (e.g. licences, version control, IRC, using the command-line...) and one on how to contribute to a specific project. Then there's a number of 5-minutes-long-or-less lightning talks where people can introduce the project they will be working on during the evening. Then people break into groups or independently work on an open-source project of their choice.

Or that's the idea anyway. The talks usually work well and are inspiring, though they tend to run overtime and then people have trouble sitting at a table and doing things.

The future

These are my thoughts and ideas as to where open-source night might go in the future. These are not plans. I would like to hear feedback from interested people - attendees, would-be attendees, other organisers and thoughtful passerbys.

Topics: General open-source vs Project-specific

I see value in both topics, but perhaps attendees and would-be attendees favour one or the other, both, or neither? I haven't really heard much on this, what people find most useful. I think the project specific talks at least are interesting for both newcomers and established contributors, to see how other projects do things.

I believe 15 minutes is a good amount of time to get an overview, get inspired and get ideas. And not get too bored if already familiar with the topic.

I could see the value and how efficient it would be to focus on one project for a full session and guide people through contributing to it. However I can also see how it could be offputting to people not particularly interested in the project (e.g. "I don't use that distro, why should I bother attending?"). Perhaps as separate, off-shoot events if people are interested in leading that kind of session (get in touch!).

Topics: All kind of contributions vs Focusing on code

At the moment, I try really hard to emphasise (and encourage speakers to do the same) all the kinds of contributions that can be made - and are well needed! - even though my own experience lies in code-based contributions. Maybe I should give up on being inclusive and focus on what I know best, rather than try to be all things to all people? Code-focused open-source events could go from learning to program to fixing a bug.

Initially I was hoping people would step up to talk and encourage people to join their area of interest (I think we have e.g. experienced open-source translators around...) but that hasn't happened.

This is actually a point where someone came up to me after the talk and said straight off they really liked the breadth of contributions demoed during the talks, in particular mentioning last month's talk by Guilherme on OpenMandriva that did a great job showing how someone can help, in a multitude of ways, even if they're not all that confident in their coding skills.

Format: More course-like?

A couple of days before the June OSS Night I was pointed to this article on a really, really interesting summer course on learning to program the open-source way. That's a really cool concept. Should we entertain the thought of doing something similar during open-source night? e.g. A session on learning how to use version control with exercises, very workshop like, one month, some other topic the next one, etc.?

Probably not, but something to consider as a separate course with a shorter timeline. A course with one session a month will lose people and have little momentum. Is this the kind of things people have an interest in learning?

Format: Doing vs Listening/Talking

My goal with this event is still to get people started contributing. I'm not interested in organising a monthly night of talks. Finding speakers is stressful. If the talks aren't followed by some contributing action, to me the event is failing and I'm not interested in continuing to organise it. There are plenty of events around Dublin already where people can meet, talk tech and shoot the breeze.

With regard to open-source related talks, I think that's already handled well by the ILUG folks, who are now keen to set them up regularly again under the new chairmanship :) And we can join forces if that's the most attractive part of the event to folks. If your main interest is in having a regular night of open-source talks, get in touch and I'll be happy to help you have this in Tog. I'd attend with pleasure anyway, I'm just not interested in organising it and go speaker-hunting every 3 weeks.

I still believe we can make something really cool happen by putting in the same room people experienced in open-source together with newcomers interested in contributing. So I'm not giving up yet!

There's of course also the timeframe issue: with or without talks, an evening of maybe 3 hours is not a lot of time to accomplish something. Maybe we could (also/instead?) have events on Saturdays? And/or week-end workshops, Friday eve to Sunday?

HOWEVER, in any case an evening is still enough time to accomplish something, get started, get the momentum going, get unblocked and finish your contribution later at the week-end, in your own time.

You: Why are you here anyway*? ;)

* Or why weren't you? :) I'm just as interested in the answer to that!

Are you interested in learning how to contribute? Interested in helping and mentoring newcomers? What were you hoping this evening would be about?

I then invited people to have a productive discussion with me about this should they wish to, somewhat contradicting my own doing vs talking rant :-)

Please feel free and welcome to continue the discussion in the comments or by email, I would love to pick more brains and exchange ideas about this.

Django challenge

To avoid the talk being entirely meta (and in case people didn't care that much about all the blah blah blah and more about the doing!), I issued a challenge to attendees as well: this evening, run the Django unit tests suite. If that's something you're set up for, it'll take 2 minutes. If you're familiar with the concept but don't have all the dependencies set up yet it'll take 20 minutes. If this is all new to you it might take 2 hours, but what you learn you'll be able to reuse when you start working on a project you care about in the future, and it means it'll take less long then.

One person took me up on it and it took them 10 minutes. This shows how possible it is to actually get the ball rolling during open-source night, get people to realise they're not that far away from a first contribution.

I feel I should give the disclaimer that since the last time I talked about how to contribute to Django, the Django folks added to their docs a tutorial on how to make your first contribution, which just makes the project that little bit more awesome (and this challenge, easier to solve!)

Next Open-Source Night: July

So next month. That'll be on the 17th of July. Are you interested in giving a talk? :)

If no one volunteers we'll have a session similar to the first event except with more lightning talks. Lightning talks don't have to be prepared, there's no need for slides or anything you don't fancy. It's as simple as chatting about what you plan on doing or would like to do during the evening, inviting others to join you if they'd like.

It can be like:

"Hello, I'm Chris, a contributor to AwesomeProject which is a project that does this and that and also that thing. At the moment we're looking for help in $area1, $area2, $area41, if you think that's cool and you'd like to help, I'll be sitting at that table over here, come and chat with me. Maybe I can help you find a good first task. Otherwise I'll be working on the defroglirnator for the project -- er if you have any experience in that area I'd love to chat to you too."

or maybe

"Hey, I'm J. Bloggs, I've been using Wordpress for a few years, I think it's an awesome project and I'd like to start giving back. Tonight my plan is to figure out the new contributor process - if you're interested too, we can do this together. Come and chat with me."

It doesn't matter if there is no existing contributor to the specific project in the room. Since there are people familiar with the way open-source projects and communities usually tick, they will be able to help you if you get stuck.


Ok, that's it! I'm hoping to also have the time to find a few good first tasks in a new project, maybe LibreOffice. If not, then we can figure it out together on the day :)

I'm very much looking forward to hearing your thoughts, suggestions and ideas about all this, and perhaps also see you on the 17th.

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Open-Source Night #2: March 2013

On Wednesday the 20th, we had the 2nd edition of Open-Source Night in Tog. I think it went well. Once again there was about a dozen attendees, many of whom have never contributed to open-source before. A third of them were also in Tog for the first time. It might be too early to matter but there was also very little overlap with the audience from last time.

Talks

We started the evening with 2 talks, meant to be about 15 minutes long each. Mark started the evening telling us about open-source licences and the philosophy they encapsulate/were born from. Then I walked through how one would go about contributing to Django, basically clicking through the Django website and explaining different tasks the project needs help with, particularly for bug fixing contributions.

After this, we had 2 lightning talks that were meant to last 2 to 5 minutes, to give people a chance to talk about a project they contribute to and get people to join in. This time the talks were more about ideas, which is fine, but both also ran overtime, which is less cool. I'm not sure if either found additional contributors/would-be contributors out of it for the evening.

Hands-on

The second part of the evening, the part that should be hands-on, didn't go so well. After the talks (which lasted for 1h30 instead of 45mins) and a tour of the hackerspace for the new people, most continued chatting instead of sitting down and getting things done. This especially saddened me for the ones who had never contributed before. The goal of the event is to help newcomers get started contributing, when they have experienced people at hand to ask questions to.

Next time

I'm not sure how to improve this next time and help attendees get started actually doing stuff. Running overtime for the talks really hurt for the rest of the evening, which is already such a short time to accomplish something. An idea: after my talk I was asked "How long would it take for someone to start from nothing to being able to run the Django unit test suite?" and maybe this kind of well-defined, self-contained task would be good to help people get started. It's not a contribution yet, but it's a first, necessary step toward it (for code contributions in any case), and it could be fun to try and mix this with some sort of open badge.

Somewhat related announcement: open-source night won't happen on April 17th next month but probably on April 24th instead. Check the tog.ie calendar for confirmation. If you're interested in speaking on a topic relating to the life of open-source or a project in particular, please get in touch :)

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Open-Source Night: Event #1 February 20th

On Wednesday, Tog hosted the first monthly Open-Source Night.

It's an event I'd been wanting to organise for a while, with an eye on it being hands-on and slanted toward helping interested people get started in open-source, but I wasn't sure what format would work best. I'm still not sure, but in the spirit of release early, release often, I thought I'd give it a shot for a few months and iterate.

For the first event, about a dozen people showed up. About 7-9 of them had already made some kind of contribution, most people had a clear idea of the project they wanted to contribute to for the evening, and 3 were hesitant and not sure what they wanted to do.

Blackboard with project names

We started with 2 super short talks, an ill-prepared one from myself about what to do tonight: basically find the contributor's guidelines for the project you're interested in and speak to the person next to you for help, since we had such a skewed ratio of experienced contributors. Triona followed with a talk on what she planned to do in the evening with Free Penguin, an open-source sewing pattern for Tux plushes. The maintainer hasn't updated nor responded to emails in years, so it seems it will need to be forked in order to start improving the documentation. Open-source projects aren't all about code! :)

I directed the hesitant project-less people toward Cheryl and the Dreamwidth project, which has an excellent reputation for being friendly to newcomers. Even without an experienced contributor around, I thought figuring things out together would be a fun learning experience. It may not have been that effective though, people were interested and looked around but nothing got accomplished (perhaps that is to be expected for a first couple of hours getting acquainted with a project and open-source?). Then further efforts were thwarted by technical problems (bugzilla down). Cheryl's thoughts abut this is that it's difficult to get into a project one doesn't feel strongly about (a similar downside applies to projects discovered via OpenHatch, as someone else mentioned to me).

There were a couple of serendipitous meetings, like the person wanting to get started with Debian packaging who happened to be sitting besides a Debian Developer.

But overall, I think having encouraged people to come along already having a project in mind made it difficult to form groups and encourage collaboration, because people ended up working on the project they had planned to alone. It may not have been a great experience, particularly for people who didn't know anyone or hadn't been in Tog before.

I also need to become more familiar with projects who have good, specific non-programming-related tasks for newcomers. I had a general idea but wasted time trying to find the details. We had a graphic designer interested in either contributing his design skills, translating or participating in testing efforts but I wasn't able to quickly find a good "Here's a concrete task you can do now" for some of the better known projects. He did discover InkScape and became eager to learn it, so I hope to see him again in Tog in a few weeks for teaching an intro workshop to InkScape :-) (Thanks Borud!!)

Ideas on how to evolve the format for next time:

Choose one project and make it the main focus of the evening, at least at the start. Meaning only one presentation, that is a bit longer (ideally 20 minutes, max 30 -- we still need time to actually do stuff!) and give specific, step-by-step instructions on "this is where you go to find something to work on, this is how you choose a task" and afterwards have the people interested in working on the project do so together - several people to one task can work, to encourage learning together and avoid getting stuck. People are still welcome to work on whatever else they want to of course. This was suggested by Ulrich based on the recent Debian Bug Squashing Parties he attended.

Becky said there was an interest in a GitHub pair programming type of exercise. People upload code on GitHub they never touch again. Working on someone else's code with the help of the author could turn into an instructive experience. It would also be cool to see what a pull request looks like from both sides.

I think we can try both these things for next time, the GitHub pair programming could start after the presentation for people not interested in working on the highlighted project.

Now. The next step is to find a project to highlight and a willing contributor who'd like to present and guide, for the next session on March 20th. Ideas, volunteers? :)

Feedback and general thoughts on evolving the format are warmly welcome as well.

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Interested in open-source? Come to Tog!

Are you an experienced open-source contributor interested in recruiting new people for your project?

Are you a fan of open-source who would be interested in contributing at any level but isn't sure how to?

Come to Tog's first Open-Source Night on February 20th!

These hands-on sessions aim to bring together experienced open-source contributors with people who would like to get started but aren’t sure where to start or would generally benefit from having someone to ask questions to.
[...]
Every month we will start with a couple of people speaking for 5-10 minutes, to introduce the project they are working on, what is the usual path for contributing and where they are currently looking for help. Then we will form groups and work on making a contribution for the rest of the evening.


I'm hoping to make this into a regular monthly event. The current plan is to try it for a few months and see what it becomes. This will heavily depends on who attends so, help me recruit lots of interested people from both side of the contributor spectrum in Dublin :)

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Electro-sewing workshop in Tog

Cheryl will be teaching the first electro-sewing workshop in Tog, on October 21st! Have a look at the Tog post to learn more, including how to sign up. This will likely be followed by more electro-fashion workshops in the future, keep an eye out for them. I'm really looking forward to it, combining technology with artistic fields is bound to result in wonderful projects.

Come along and sign up to the workshop, learn how to use conductive thread and create a small circuit to make your very own LED flower :)

~ ~ ~

Do you work on something cool, in open-source or open culture or general tech? Would you like to teach a workshop about it, give people a taste of why it is cool and interesting? Please get in touch!

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PyCon Ireland 2011 Another successful event!

Congratulations to Python Ireland and the PyCon Ireland committee for the successful 2nd edition of the conference! If you weren't there, you should feel sad. I would be.

Lots of interesting talks and just like last year, a whole bunch of very friendly and knowledgeable attendees to talk to and share a meal with (or a drink, for lucky people who won several raffles... :o)) (hehe) (I did!)

I sadly missed the first keynote, which I look forward to catching up on on video. I was busy helping out at the registration desk, and discovered I really enjoyed welcoming attendees to the conference. A new hobby!

I don't know how productive in general Sunday was, sprint-wise and code-output wise. The open space format seemed to work well on the other hand! I attended the RSI talk and the buildout tutorial (must look more into Buildout) and spent the rest of the day PRing for Tog, distributing Berocca and talking shop. On Sunday afternoon, together with a fellow Tog member we stealthily stole away a dozen attendees to go and visit the hackerspace, conveniently located right behind the venue. Delegates were returned to the conference unharmed and inspired (I hope!).

And because one cannot ever have enough Python, the usual monthly meetup is on this Wednesday!

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LaTeX workshop in Tog

I'm back for more enabling! (Mwahaha) Seeing there was some interest in LaTeX, the very awesome Triona kindly offered to teach an evening workshop on the topic on September 21st, in Tog. Whether you're interested in starting out with LaTeX, or would like a refresher, join us! The registration information is available on Tog's blog.

- - -

Hello you! Do you know about something cool, relating to open-source or open culture or technology? Would you like to teach a workshop about it? Please get in touch!

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Python/Django Crash Course in Tog

Are you a programmer interested in picking up Python and Django?

Rory is running a crash course in Tog starting this Thursday. There'll be two 2-hours sessions -- the first one about Python, next week about Django.

It's short notice but if you've been meaning to learn Python, now's your chance!

More information, including how to register, over here.

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"Making Your First Contribution To Open-Source" Irish Hackerspaces Week 2011

A CG character in front of a laptop thinking of various open-source projects

I gave my presentation on "making your first open-source contribution" in Tog yesterday evening and I think it went down well; I enjoyed delivering the talk and received positive comments about it afterwards -- although I do need to speak louder. I'm enjoying lightning talks! Now, what to speak about next... :)

The slides are available on Slideshare (or PDF). I also gave a hand-out to give people a chance to check out the links afterwards.

- - -

On another note I think an evening of lightning talks was generally well received, and there is some motivation to run another similar event in 2 months. I'd love to have this be a regular thing. We need to be more strict on time-keeping though; surprisingly it seems people tend to feel bad for not speaking long enough, so they start just talking about random stuff or opening web links of cool things to show off... and interesting or not it feels like it's dragging on, particularly when one knows there's 3 or 4 more talks to go after.

I also got feedback from first time visitors that starting late "because people will be late anyway" makes it very sucky for people who don't know anyone yet, and also less likely that there'll be time to stick around after the talks to chat with the speakers and other attendees. I think we should start right on time next time (and to be fair, the 2 or 3 people who arrived between 7:00pm (announced time) and 7:30pm (actual starting time) were members... Not worth waiting for!!). It'd be nice to start on time and then encourage people to stay with drinks and cookies, or otherwise we need to find a social butterfly that is good at integrating people. :-)

Writing this down now, so that I can remember it in 2 months. Any other comments on the evening from people who were there, or general suggestions and tips on organising lightning talks?

(Irish Hackerspaces Week isn't over yet! Check out our other events.)

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Irish Hackerspaces Week 2011

This week is Irish Hackerspaces Week (the link is for the Dublin events). On Thursday we will have the first ever Lightning Talks night in the space and I hope it will be successful -- I think it would be awesome to have a few short talks every month where members and visitors show off their projects or something cool they've learnt.

This Thursday I'll be giving one of the talks (10 minutes!), on "making your first contribution to open-source." I've had conversations with people who weren't sure where to start, and with this talk I'd be delighted if I can help at least one give it a shot. :)

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GTUG July meet-up: Google APIs & panel on hackerspaces and formal education

Yesterday evening Google kindly hosted the GTUG meet-up, which I don't usually attend but considering some of my fellow hackerspace members were speaking on the panel I had to go and *cough*heckle*cough* support.

Google Storage and Predictions API

The first part of the evening was a talk by Martin Omander on 2 Google APIs:

  • the Storage API

Figure out what you're good at so that you can focus on that (don't build your own telescope, use other people's tools). The Storage API is what Google use themselves, therefore they have people on pager to make sure it stays up so you don't have to. Libraries such as Boto work with it.

  • the Predictions API

You feed it training data, over 3 steps: upload, train, predict. It can do categorisation (for e.g. language recognition), or return a number (e.g. real estate valuation). Input data can be text or numbers.

Hackerspaces and formal education

The juicy part of the evening was the panel, despite starting with a very biased intro from the moderator against education in favour of hackerspaces. Asking the panelists to choose a side might have also contributed to limit the discussion.

A blurry picture of the panel

2 interesting topics straight from the panelists' introductions:

  • To work around the lack of decent sysadmins around, John Looney from Google has created a short graduate program, where they train people for 5 months and then hire them.
  • James Whelton is a startup founder that is currently working on "Coder Dojo", a project to bring programming and computing to kids. I had a quick chat with James after the panel and they are bringing this to Ireland, starting in Cork: it seems their process is to find mentors in a city, get the group started running events/workshops/classes on a Saturday afternoon and then they move on to the next city. I'm not quite sure it's a sustainable way to build a momentum but I will be following this very very closely, and perhaps mentor when they come to Dublin. Not entirely sure where to get the freshest source of info: Twitter account here, All Ireland (?) blog over there.

Someone mentioned Sugata Mitra's talk on learning without teachers again, I have to make the time to watch this.

A couple of interesting points:

  • Hackerspaces as part of formal education, as a society, or part of the University -- someone brought up the problem of evaluation and how to grade work that would come out of such a setting; a panelist remarked that academia has been doing that for decades, with PhDs!
  • If going the society way, be careful to build a community. It should help with getting momentum.

Although there was a nice flow when only the panel and moderator were speaking, I was disappointed with how the audience involvement and back and forth with the panel was handled. Some questions were completely ignored after being asked without giving a chance to the panel to answer, and people talking were encouraged to speak faster or less as we were running out of time. I would have preferred less questions explored more fully, rather than a rush of comments and unresolved question marks.

Everybody would agree there is much more to be discussed on the topic :) Thanks to the organisers for setting this up!

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Successful origami workshop

The origami workshop in Tog on Friday night was a success \o/

Turn-out was great despite a couple of late cancellations, another Tog member with strong origami powers stopped by to help out if needed, and everybody seemed to be having fun, and I think everybody learnt something new -- I certainly did, though I could bear to be told again how to do some of the shapes we built!

 

People came with varied levels of origami skills, and of maturity :-)

I need to start bringing a real camera to these event, my phone don't do them justice. I'm really enjoying these beginner friendly workshops on different topics. If you're around Dublin and have some interesting technological or artistic skills you'd like to share over an evening or week-end afternoon, please get in touch with me!

See also:

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Squishy Circuits Workshop: A success!

The Squishy Circuits workshop organised in Tog yesterday was a success! Many thanks to awesome teacher Triona for showing us how to make a mess, I mean, have a lot of fun with conductive dough and learn a few basics of electricity and electronics :) Triona also shared tips on teaching the material, especially to kids.

Picture of a group of people during the workshop

Thanks a lot also to all our attendees for making the event such a success (and for helping clean up afterwards :-))! Notably this was a very kid-friendly event, and I hope we can have more of these in the hackerspace -- show first-hand the next generation of could-be scientists how fun and interesting science and technology are!

A tiny sample of the afternoon's creations:

(Update: You can see more pictures over at the Tog website)

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Squishy Circuits workshop! Having fun learning about electronics by playing with conductive dough

On July 2nd, I will be facilitating a workshop on Squishy circuits, kindly hosted by Tog and taught by Tríona O’Connell.

Squishy circuits are a great way to demonstrate electrical circuits to kids (and adults!). It consists of a conductive dough and an insulating dough that are used in the building of circuits, along with batteries and more usual electrical components like motors and LEDs. During the workshop, we will make some batches of both types of dough, and afterwards we’ll see some useful demos you can use to teach with it, and also have some hands-on fun building circuits.

For more information, including how to register, see the Tog announcement.


If you're around Dublin and knowledgeable about some cool open project for which you would like to share the love with that kind of event, please get in touch with me! I would love to have more of these workshops in Tog! See my About page for contact info.

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