Datenschule Launch 🚀

From the beginning of this meta-project, we’ve been keeping up with activities of our friends up north, who have been making great strides since last year in bringing data literacy to public awareness and supporting the School of Data. Yesterday we had our planned lunchtime virtual meeting with the team behind the School of Data initiative in Germany, who shared the latest on, talked about their data literacy projects, building up the team, and the new website they smoothly launched today.

Knowledge Sharing. Community Building. Positive social change. These are the founding goals of the Datenschule. After quick introductions and a recap of progress since the socially innovative project was kick-started with funding selected by the public for the Google Impact Challenge, they told us more about what their vision for enabling NGOs to be more data-literate and -driven means today. A quick introduction to which, their blog post suggests, is this short video:

We talked about the kind of workshop formats that make sense for this audience, relaying our experience with recent expeditions, and discussed the kind of longer engagements/projects that they are planning to work on. You can find out more about some of these on their projects page, and we heard about some very exciting collaborations up ahead! The goal of building capacity to do data-driven work in partner institutions is something that we fully share. The multiplier effects of open data, paralleling and accelerated by those of open source, are something we are all keen to promote - an important value proposition of a School of Data.

Quite a bit of the short time we had was spent on discussing the materials and learning resources - both our respective experiences and plans to reuse content from, as well as areas that need development and fresh content. A concern was expressed that workshop materials and results are collected sensibly and reliably. I had to admit that, while we have been putting stuff here and there, we have no learning management system or longer-term plan in place yet.

We then discussed several areas where a cooperation would make sense between our projects, something we can always use your input on:

(1) Collaborate on (translating to) German/English-language data literacy materials based on School of Data courses, publishing and pushing them through different channels. I’m enthusiastic about projects like the OGD Handbook and ready for the challenge of writing good blog posts, data science notebooks and so on. The next level may be doing more interactive projects, MOOCs and video/screencasts.

(2) Start joint calls for workshop coaches, start a shared database of people and skillsets/interests (as we did last year), so that we could quickly assemble teams/backups for upcoming events and projects. Training the trainers is an important area of development for the Datenschule, and something we would really like to be involved in - keeping the Fellowship program and other Open Knowledge network learning initiatives in mind.

(3) Get involved in each other’s plans and events. They will send out invites to upcoming events we are supporting in Switzerland, including Hack for Ageing Well (St. Gallen) and Jugend Hackt (Zürich); and we will look for ways to get the Datenschule involved and promoted to participants. Likewise they can get us plugged into upcoming conferences - such as csv,conf,v2 and a “data summit” coming up next spring.

Many thanks to Knut, Moritz and @Juan-Juan for the energising conversation - bis bald wieder :sunny: - and please reach out with ideas and feedback to us or directly to the Datenschule.