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Theme fund: NGI0 Discovery
Start: 2019-08
End: 2022-10
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Make local events and meetups discoverable

How do you discover what you can learn from the people around you? How do you search what other people in the same region have to offer, like a training course or a debating event?

Openki is an interface between technology and culture. It provides an interactive web platform developed with the goal to remove barriers for universal education for all. The platform makes it simple to organise and manage "peer-to-peer" courses. The platform can be self-hosted, and integrates with OpenStreetMap. At the moment Openki is focused on facilitating learning groups and workshops. The project will improve the tool, so it can be used not only to organise courses (with the collaboration of many different actors, in a more participatory way) but much broader,for bottom-up project initiation, for grassroot organizations and facilitating societal dialogue.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

We all have things we can teach each other and conversely want to learn about. One person may know how to use the latest technology and is willing to teach others how to deal with that, another may know how to fix broken furniture or tools, or give a course on drawing or dealing with dementia. This continuous transfer of knowledge can happen through the internet, where it is relatively easy to connect with people. Or it intrinsically should happen off-line, where we can literally hold someones hand to show them how to paint or play an instrument. In the latter case, the internet just plays the role of intermediary - just like previously a note on the pin board in the local supermarket, village house or library did, just more effective.

We may have something we want to share with the world, but how to we make this information actually discoverable to others in the best possible way? And to people that are within a shared action radius, it makes no sense to offer tennis clinics to people on the other side of the planet.And people might not have decided they want to pursue learning tennis, chess, or yodeling - they are open to discovering new things. Traditional full text search engines have a limited understanding of location and facilitating serendipity, so even a popular blog may not reach the right audience. You need 'hyperlocal' understanding, combined with the right facilities for people to discover things of interest in an organic and diverse offering .

Global commercial platforms like superfically fill part of this need. But obviously by far not all use cases are covered with services like that, and there can be significant privacy implications in using a large commercial platform for such a delicate function. What if the course you are teaching or interested in is about dealing with a severe hereditary disease, in dealing with stalkers or something else that is sensitive? Maybe you don't want to be exposed to profiling and subsequent data transfer to an unknown amount of data brokers around the world - either as a teacher or as a student.

Users should be able to learn freely, and find each other as humans without fear of tracking or retribution. Openki is an open source project that wants to provide a platform for local education, where users can organize and find courses, learning groups and workshops in their area. The platform assigns roles like mentors (experts in their field), hosts (for example venues), organizers and participants and shows which course still needs a venue, whether a group is looking for a venue, or that everything is set for a great course on German literature at the library around the corner tomorrow. Now this project wants to move beyond hosting strictly local education organization and support broader grassroots initiatives, like bottom-up project initiation. This kind of platform fulfills the fundamental need for people to self-organize with technology that empowers instead of extracts.

Run by Verein Kopf

Logo NLnet: abstract logo of four people seen from above Logo NGI Zero: letterlogo shaped like a tag

This project was funded through the NGI0 Discovery Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825322.