If this summer is anything to go by the mentor community is a force to be reckoned with. Over 50,000 projects created, 58,000 participants, and almost 1,700 maker parties prove this to be true. One thing that we didn’t do so well was letting our mentors know how they could get swag for party.
We did however blog about the request process and it’s listed on the event guides page. Once you get to the swag request information however it’s overly not clear what you need to do. The process could also have done with being a little more streamlined, and automated. This is something we might be able to learn from the Mozilla Reps who have a very well-defined swag request system that has been tried and tested to its limits.
Despite this however there are hundreds of amazing event roundups scattered across the world wild web. Every event is different, and everyone has a different viewpoint and way of expressing themselves. This means that there is a huge wealth of reusable experience, and knowledge out there we need to tap into.
“The Biggest Challenge is planning for people you don’t know.”
You may remember that quote from my first post. I bring it up again as it’s a challenge that we’re always going to have, however one solution (even if that’s not quite the right word) I proposed was building out more event guides. Another possibility is to do a better job of making the existing content discoverable, and tagging it to make it searchable.
This is something we can all start doing now however, simply by ensuring we all tag all our event posts, not only with the event name, but the format, any skills put into practice, the concepts implemented/taught, etc…
To accompany our resources and guides for events we have a growing collection of teaching kits and activities. These cover a wide range of topics from becoming a webmaker mentor through to making memes.
Although this repository of knowledge is growing some feel that there is a lack of makes/guides that cover the basics of HTML/CSS. Not only for the learners, but also the mentors. Not so much makes/guides that included these languages (that’s far from the problem) but rather a need for guides on how to introduce aspects of these HTML/CSS.
The quick fix for this issue is to highlight some of the makes/guides that already do this. It’s probably a good idea to also go back through any projects that have been made and create tutorials for them. Why create brand new content, when we have perfectly good content, just not much explanation?
In the longer term its worth mentioning, that you can and should, create new teaching kits whenever you think something is missing. You can even remix existing kits to add more details, or even to localise into your own language.
Speaking of localising. This is one of the biggest asks mentors had when I did my initial round of interviews. Something that was heard loud and clear.
Since I started this series of posts some great work has happened to start tackling the problems found head on. However not all the work is done. Some of it has to come from you. We can’t change the world alone.
It’s the community at large that makes Webmaker such a success, and it’s those people who take the time to not just notice somethings broken, or could be better, but those who do something about it. This is something that you’ll find in every member of our mentor community.