"How do you level the playing field and create a more diverse workforce in the field of technology? The answer is simple, you create the change yourself."

Michael Bratsch, a teacher at Franklin Middle School, knows that the work needed to get the results won’t be easy, but it’s necessary. He’s committed to making sure that all his students have access and opportunity to explore any career they choose, including those in technology. With that goal in mind, he started the Futureboys & Girls after-school club that teaches students leadership values using an open framework.

Students learn to develop creative projects by contributing individual concepts and collaborating to bring them to life. This process shows the students that good ideas can come from anywhere—and that sharing those ideas improves them exponentially. The same principles that are the foundation of the open source community.

We first encountered Mr. B, as he’s affectionately known, and the Futureboys & Girls as part of Red Hat’s CO.LAB program, late last year. CO.LAB is part of Red Hat’s Open Source Stories, the activation seeks to inspire people everywhere to embrace open source in their own work and communities. The students excelled in the curriculum and we wanted to know more about the club.

In his own words, "The concept of open source is one of the powerful ways they are making the world a better place and future jobs more sustainable.  I personally call it "building on success through collaboration" because I saw the power of open source first hand when my students helped each other build circuits and came up with their own creative ideas on how to design and make the projects fit their specific needs. Giving students a real-life experience in the field of technology and open source opens their mind to endless possibilities."

As part of Red Hat’s Open Source Stories, we’re launching an article series - Like Rockets - that chronicles the Futureboys & Girls as they created their school’s new song. This three-part series examines how the club created a sense of community while they developed the song, how the club kept the momentum going after the first song was released and the club’s experience with our CO.LAB program.

Open Source Stories celebrates how community, meritocracy and a free exchange of ideas can unlock potential across a range of disciplines. Open source is changing the world in many different ways - from technology innovation and management advancements to innovations across sectors. We have long understood the power of collaboration to produce amazing results. With Open Source Stories, we’re showing what people can do when they make things in the open. Because when we share, we thrive.

Read the full article series and share it with others using the hashtag #opensourcestories to help us shine a light on ways open innovation is changing the world.

 

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