For some time now I had been juggling with the idea of teaching, in some way I felt that there were things that I have had to learn on my own because I couldn’t find the resources here in Ecuador. It is a bit unfortunate that technology in general is taught in a very basic way and people just assume they don’t know how to do stuff, thinking that only computer geeks can do it. Don’t get me wrong, we are not living in trees eating bananas, but most people’s knowledge on computers extends only to Microsoft office. I thought about tutoring high school kids on how to use adobe software (photoshop, illustrator, indesign, etc), but I was too occupied with work and school. One day I pitched the idea to a friend and she also liked it, we decided it had to be some sort of workshop during the weekends since we both have full-time jobs.
We thought about a concrete theme that could be taught during the whole workshop, and I remembered when I first started applying to college that some applications asked me to submit a portfolio. I had no idea how to make one, neither did I know how to present the little amount of projects I actually had at the time. We decided then to make a crash course on self-promotion, all the tools anyone would need to build a portfolio in three different mediums: paper, website and blog.
From that idea, we decided to call the class: Folioshop (portfolio workshop). Our initial target was high school seniors who wanted to apply to art or design schools, we talked to some one from the school we graduated from and sent a bunch of posters to other schools. We also campaigned for a month via Facebook and twitter, and got up to 650 followers in that very little time. The problem we initially hit was that high school students were apparently not that interested in having to wake up early on Saturdays, and we realized a bit too late that we should have focused on an older crowd. All in all we still got 7 girls to come, with very different reasons to learn but very eager (we did get at least one who was applying to college). The experience of teaching has been every bit as rewarding as I thought it would be, and in a way it was probably better to start with a very small class so that I could gain confidence.
To make the class a little more fun and memorable, we decided to have a little contest: they all have to finish at least the home page of their site designed in Adobe Muse and published unto a demo site by this Wednesday, who ever gets the most votes on Facebook and in class will win a bamboo connect. We also had a bit of merchandising, we made sketchbooks and mousepads with our branding and gave them to everyone on the first day. I really hope everyone is learning a lot of new things and that they are enjoying the class as much as I do. We are still half way through, and next class I’m going to introduce them to blogging! I will have them do some guest posts talking about their projects so that they can learn how a real blog works and hopefully they will get excited and start a blog of their own.