IT-Cafe Berlin

(Ulrike Schmidt) #1

What brought me to OpenTechSchool is a social entrepreneural project/idea called IT Cafe. Duana thought it has many parallels to Hackership and connected me with Ben. Ben told me, what kind of projects OTS supports in which ways. The last test will be the opinion of the OTS people.

I have been experimenting with the idea for some weeks in the very supportive Supermarkt. It is like “A Taste of Hackership”. The main difference to Hackership is that the roles of coach and learner are not fixed, you can be either or neither, depending on the topic. You can come and go depending on your time. There is a “standard menu” currently from Mo-Fr from 15:00 - 18:00 that depends on my IT knowledge, and there are “daily specials” depending on who else is there. So far you just have to buy something at the Supermarkt bar, everything else is free.

I have a collection of as yet untested ideas about how to make it sustainable in the long run. The question is which of those would work and which would be supported by OTS to which extent. I would love to make it an OTS project since I feel a little overwhelmed by the task and I want it to be a “OpenSource Franchise” anyway.

Some of my funding ideas in short:

  • sponsoring and crowdfunding (in general, of specific resources/teachers, projects etc.)
  • crowdsourced OpenSource projects: people can suggest and fund projects that others can work on for learning
  • snowball system: learn once, teach twice
  • marketplace that accepts Euro and additional currencies like a Tauschring/LETS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_exchange_trading_system)

The LETS idea would allow for a lot of services around the cafe that support women in tech among other things. So people could offer child care, help with homework or hacking for kids in exchange for help with their learning or coding project. I also want to include making things like in the School of MA.

And there is some loose relationship already that as far as I know is not directly connected with @rachel: “A Taste of Hackership #5” took place at the Supermarkt. At this event Mario Behling, the organizer of http://meshcon.net/ (which is about hacking knitting machines) came round. Another one of the organizers, Victoria from http://etiberlin.wordpress.com/, shares the space with one of the School of MA coaches, So Kanno.

This knitting machine hacking will probably included in the IT Cafe/Supermarkt concept: there is a LifeThek where in future one will be able to also borrow such a knitting machine and I will learn how to instruct people who want to use it. During the MeshCon there will be a fashion show at the Supermarkt. At least that is the plan currently.

The Supermarkt is very supportive of all kinds of experiments. From middle of July to middle of August we can use it as a playground in an even more extended way. There will be no events and no bar, except for some drinks, but the place will be open we can organize something if we want. Ela from the Supermarkt suggested that.

Of course this the time in summer when everyone is busy with Hackership and School of MA. But it might be a place for those who were not allowed into these programs this time or simply could not afford it timewise or financially.

Would this be according to OTS values? And would people be interested in helping? If long term projects are only sustainable with some kind of not for profit social entrepreneurship, is it not a topic that could be handled in OTS as a type of “social hacking”? A very much extended view of tech?

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