Teaching Drupal

Professional Article
April 7, 2013

A couple of days ago, while I was scrolling down on my Facebook wall, I've noticed a shared article about a local project "UpGreat: IT & Business" (organized by AIESEC). I contacted the coordinator of the project and after some discussions I got the full picture of the project:

This project was for high-school students that want to know more things about IT & Business, it also would include such workshops as: WordPress, Java, Android, etc.

So I thought that a Drupal workshop would fit perfectly in this context. Except for the Drupal Global Training Day that we've organized last year with Propeople, there are basically no events which target newcomers, and newcomers are very important for the existence and growth of local & international Drupal Community.

I'm actually not aware of how many people really got involved into Drupal after our Drupal Global Training Day (around 200 people came for 3 sessions then) but I think we have to keep targeting the newcomers to achieve some results.

High-school students are much different nowadays, I used to know HTML 4.01 & Pascal when I was in 12th grade (18 y.o.), but now most of the guys know more than 1 programming language, some know up to 5 languages and bunch of technologies, other guys already did some web-projects, etc. So all-in-all everyone was pretty much into IT, which is great!

I've started the 3h workshop with a small game which explains the advantages of Open Source, Contribution and the Community:

I've grouped people in 5 groups, which were acting as some sort of web-developing companies. Then I gave each group a project to develop: online e-commerce site, web agency website, online magazine, meetup-sort-of-website and a university website. Each project had some requirements: to be mobile-responsive, to have a Facebook log-in, Twitter log-in, to have a dynamic calendar, etc. The point was that they had to illustrate those futures in a drawing on separate sticky-notes. There were some common features between those projects and that was the whole point.

Then I collected those features, and gave them another type of project (shuffled same types between the groups). Again I've asked each group to create some features and I've allowed them to re-use some of the features that they have already developed. Each team was lacking 2-3 features and I've explained them that they will have to create those features from the scratch - and that's how proprietary software based companies work. But there's an alternative, what if we could share our work between us (use modules from my pile, where I had features of all of those 5 groups) and instantly fulfill our lacking features - and that's how Open Source based companies work, they simply contribute. Also we can make those features much better and secure as we can combine same features (pile up sticky-notes) into one powerful feature.

And from that point I've started to talk about Drupal, that it's an Open Source project (content management framework) developed by thousands of people. I've talked about Drupal community and that it's the most important thing about Drupal. We've talked about Drupal from both technical and non-technical points, about the companies, about events, about modules, themes, distributions and slowly passed to content-types and fields, users and roles, etc.

After explaining them the AMP Stack and why do they need one to run Drupal locally, we did a demo install and played around with Drupal 7 for a while: created content, changed some settings, created content-types, fields, user roles and users, themes, permissions, etc.

All-in-all it was lots of fun and hopefully I got them inspired about Drupal and our community.

I will probably have to do more workshops and get other people inspired as well, that's when "One lyceum, one university" project will kick-in (more details later).

Anyhow, we're a Romanian-speaking country, if anyone would like to re-use my slides, feel free (thou' you can find Romanian strings inside). It's a Google Drive Presentation and you can find it HERE and tips HERE.

If you have some free-time, check for local IT projects or some other projects where you think this will be appropriate and do a workshop about Drupal, we DO need passionate newcomers.

PS. Also it took me around 30 min for the activity and ~165 min (2:45) for the demo, explanations and theory/stories. Aaaand, I actually started with this video: 

"Monster (Drupal Remix feat. A.Hughes and D.Stagg)" from Schipul - The Web Marketing Co. on Vimeo.


Feel free to ask any question / or share any suggestion!