Institute for the Future, a non-profit research organization based in Palo Alto, recently launched The Digital Open: An Innovation Expo for Global Youth in partnership with Sun Microsystems and Boing Boing:
Project organizers are soliciting free and open technology projects designed by kids ages 17 and under in eight categories, ranging from the environment, media, and community, to the more traditional open source domains of software and hardware. The prizes for the Open include a laptop and an MP3 player, but the biggest reward for each category winner is that they (and their project) will be featured on Boing Boing Video. The Open’s panel of 23 judges includes Dale Dougherty (Publisher, MAKE), David-Michel Davies (Executive Director, Webby Awards), Graham Hill (Founder, Treehugger), Xeni Jardin (Boing Boing/NPR/Wired), and Lawrence Lessig (Stanford Law School/Creative Commons).
Although the project has generated online buzz (see their mentions on Planet Green and Boing Boing), organizers have found reaching their target age group to be a challenge. Because we see this effort to educate youth about open source, how it applies to their lives, and how they can contribute as a natural extension of our efforts to address critical societal issues, locally and globally, ASTC (through its IGLO and C3 networks) is working with Digital Open organizers to expand the scope of the project to include science center audiences.
Over the coming weeks, organizers of the Open hope to connect with as many science and technology summer programs as possible. If your center is running summer programs and would be interested in hearing more about how you can participate in Digital Open this year, you can contact Mathias Crawford, Research Manager at Institute for the Future, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-347-463-7800. Although we realize that, for many of you, this year’s project deadline (August 15) comes too soon for major programmatic involvement or partnerships, we hope that this will lay the groundwork for more extensive cooperation during Digital Open 2010.