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Giving back, the workshop way (kernelmag.com)
28 points by dchs 1816 days ago | hide | past | web | 10 comments | favorite

I ran two-hour workshops for designers in 2010. Fifteen in all, free to attend, with about 50% non-designer attendance.


Workshops are a lot of work -- I'd spend 8-16 hours prepping for a two-hour one -- but they're one of the most asked-for types of local events in Austin:

  Presentations by my peers		95	92%
  Panel discussions by my peers		74	72%
  Hands-on workshops			73	71%
  Presentations by companies		60	58%
  "Field trips" to related industries	57	55%
  Happy hours				51	50%
  Social/networking lunches		42	41%
  Panel discussions by companies	42	41%
  Other					 2	 2%
I'm happy to answer questions based on the workshops I held, you can reply to this or email me (contact information in my profile).

Hi vitovito,

Thats amazing you ran so many workshops for free. You have my ut most respect as I know how much wok is involved in that!

I'd be interested in any information you could share on how you prepared for all the workshops and what format they took. One thing thats being discussed in Newcastle is weekly workshops, which sounds like _alot_ of work. Are there any short cuts that dont sacrifice the quality of the workshop?

If you want to continue this discussion on twitter I am:


Of of course here is fine too:-)


"What surprised me was how long it took to write the course material. I had planned to spend two days doing this, but it took me closer to five."

Yes, good resources take a long time to produce (I'm a teacher by profession). The article does not state the format of the workshop but I'm guessing one working day, so a five to one ratio isn't so bad.

Anyone any feelings about swapping workshop materials? In the UK there are some grassroots teacher websites where people upload materials and then share in what else is there.

Hi Keith,

Yes, you are right, it was a one day workshop. Your comment re swapping resources got me thinking. Prhaps an organisation could help advrtise and run any workshops, then after x amount of time the workshop material becomes public through the organisation.

That wasy the workshop runner gets to make the most of their material, but the material is also spread as far and wide as possible.

Would you mind linking me to any websites for sharing teahing material?

If you wish to take this converstion onto twitter I can be found at:



Hello Richard

I teach basic Maths in the UK. A lot of us use


You upload a worksheet or game (granular level, something like 10 or 20 minutes of class time) and the moderator checks it over and classifies it by the level/type. Then it appears as a pdf.

If you upload a lot, you can ask for access to the editable versions of other files. This sort of addresses the 'free ride' problem.

At present, the site is a lot of work for one teacher, but she is recruiting moderators to spread the QA load.

A more commercial example is that run by the Times Educational Supplement (TES, trade paper of teachers over here).


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Thats really handy, thanks.

Makes me think there might be a similar format that would work to encourage and make easier running workshops.

Really helpfull,


I like the article. I'm kind of at that point in my software development career where I have gained enough confidence in my abilities using particular technologies and frameworks that I feel perhaps it's time to start "giving back." I always immediately turn to blog posts as the way to help... I never think to run a workshop. I've enjoyed sharing my knowledge with the few friends and family that have "tech" interests.

Hmm... any people in the DC area want to meet up and talk about Grails?

Hi loeschg.

Thanks so much for your comment. Actually, what your wrote perfectly sums up a point I was trying to get across in the article. I too have reached the point where I want to start giving my knowledge back.

Sharing knowledge is something that's immensely rewarding, whatever form that takes: a chat in a bar, a blog post or a workshop. But, the workshop is by far the most bit of "sharing knowledge" I've ever done.

I wish you good luck finding people to chat about Grails in DC. I'm based in the UK, but if you ever wanna chat over twitter then please gimmie a shout :-)



In Miami via the group I run RefreshMiami we organize workshops like this every so often. We as experienced techies forget that sometimes that initial learning is hard for others or not as common sense as we think.

Hi brianbreslin,

When I first started this workshop adventure I was worried that there wouldn't be enough demand for it. In fact quite the opposite. I guess, like you say, I'd forgotten that initial learning is hard for others :-)

I'd be interested to know how you go about organising the workshops at RefreshMiami. One thing I'm painfully aware of is the amount of effort I had to put into the organise the workshop. So any tips on making that easier, and on running semi-regular workshops would be massively apreciated.

Anytime you want to chat on twitter:




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