While we’re here, let’s fix computer science education: DjangoCon keynote and resources

My keynote today is done, the resources list is here and the slides are below. I wrote slightly different text to address our experience here in the US, but a mostly-complete transcript of the talk is here.

A ton of people came up to me after the talk and we started talking about all the ways that we might be able to solve problems. I created a mailing list for our first few discussions. If you are a person that doesn’t like google groups, contact me, as I of course can set up something that’s outside of that infrastructure if we have enough people who’d prefer a different place to have this conversation.

We have a plan to contact teachers in our local communities, and ask them what they need that we as open source software developers could help them with. And we all agreed that want to build things, but we’re pausing for a minute to ask the teachers around us what they need first.

For some background, the key bits of reading you should do to get up to speed are the following:

And, finally, here’s the storify from the talk.

2 thoughts on While we’re here, let’s fix computer science education: DjangoCon keynote and resources

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  1. I’m a CS teacher. I teach python using a development environment created by my husband (marriage between is developers and teachers works!) called Calico (calicoproject.org). My students love it, and I love it because it minimizes the issues with syntax and puts the focus on problem solving. Plus, you aren’t limited to Python.

    I agree with much of what you say. I actually start teaching web design in 6th grade. We do HTML and CSS. We learn about clients and servers. My 7th graders learn Scratch, and my 8th graders do data visualization.

    I am an advocate of open source, but MIcrosoft looms large at many schools. I love CSTA as an organization, but when I went to the conference last year, every other session was about some MS product to use for teaching CS. Thankfully, I have the freedom to create my own curriculum and choose my own tools, but it’s hard to find like-minded teachers around.

    I say to parents who question me about the fact that I don’t teach keyboarding or word processing that I’m not teaching my students to be future secretaries; I’m teaching students to be future leaders and entrepreneurs, to go out and solve the world’s problems, many of which need the power of computing to fix.

    I’m somewhat baffled by educational leaders’ lack of understanding of the importance of computing to the success of students, even in my own school, which is at least allowing me to develop a CS program.

    I would love to help in any way I can, and I’m always looking for ways to educate people around me about CS education issues.

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