OTS was born in April of 2012 in Berlin. The first local RailsGirls event — a free tech workshop with freshly created learning materials dedicated to an audience of women of all ages and backgrounds during a both thrilling and cosy weekend — had just taken place, and had created much admiration and enthusiasm in its wake.
Why not expand the concept to all tech topics people might possibly want to learn and open the events to an audience of all genders and experience levels? The challenge couldn’t be greater. Since then, hundreds of people have joined OTS as coaches, learners, organizers, and sponsors, in Berlin, Stockholm, and soon: even in more new cities (yours!).
OpenTechSchool is a movement aiming to offer free tech education. Our events are open to technology enthusiasts of all genders, backgrounds, and experience levels, willing to coach or learn in a friendly environment. Our learning materials are shared and collectively improved by the online community and anyone is welcome to use it to organize new OTS chapters anywhere in the world.
OpenTechSchool is best described through our core values.
All OTS discussions, training materials, and blueprints are openly accessible through our website so that anyone can find them and contribute to their development. Furthermore, for OTS, openness also means sharing: our coaches share their skills and time, and our learners share their own knowledge with the community, both by presenting their achievements during the beginners meetup and by later becoming coaches themselves.
Empowerment is something which we hope to provide everyone involved. Encouraging people to coach, whatever their skill or experience level, lets them see how rewarding and valuable teaching others is. By encouraging learners to become coaches themselves, we hope to create a sustainable movement of skilled and confident individuals who are eager to help others. Leaving the framework of workshop organization open to adaptation is done to empower others, providing a framework for them to rally their own communities and to organize similar initiatives.
We believe the best way to learn is by doing it hands-on, and feel that visible progress is the best motivation to continue learning. That is why our workshops are focused on practical exercises and provide a hands-on learning experience. We bring people together to learn in small groups, supported by coaches who keep an eye on individual progress. Our workshops aim to reach a certain goal of the learning process while also providing a roadmap on how to continue afterwards.
We aim to provide a safe learning environment in which no one feels shy asking any question. Teaching only 3-4 people at a time, coaches can move at the pace most suited for their group, rather than moving on too quickly. Learners will be encouraged to share their progress, with the goal of solidifying their knowledge and helping them overcome any fears of speaking in front of others.
OTS is an open, transparent movement with which we want to encourage others to create similar or related projects in their own cities. We hope to inspire you with our successes and let you learn from our mistakes, as well as develop a strong support network for those new to coding, giving them a chance to learn and go on to teach others.
We strongly believe that, in order for education to work, the learner needs to have the best learning experience possible. In order to achieve that, coaches and team members donate their personal time for the greater good of the community and the learners. It is only with this value as your main goal that you can create the experience needed to encourage learners to continue. If you'd do that for your personal gain the quality would simply suffer.
That is why we run OpenTechSchool as a non-profit and operate on the lowest costs possible. Most workshops are run at no cost and are self-organised by the local communities. And while company sponsorship is welcome and makes events and parties more comfortable, it is not required to fund the day-to-day business of OTS, nor will it ever govern the way OTS functions.
In correspondence with our values we release all learning materials, blueprints and any other kind of content under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License: As long as you attribute the work to the OpenTechSchool (usually by mentioning such and providing the link to the original material) and share it under the same licence again, you are free to use, share, copy and modify it - even in a commercial context.