Supporting Free and Open Source Software
Over the past several years I have watched educational leaders talk about technology literacy, 21st century skills, ISTE standards (formerly the NETS) and STEM. As a parent and community member I remain unimpressed with what my local school districts are offering in the way of computer science education. As an employee of a school district I see little that makes me think meaningful change is coming any time soon. The following are examples:
Example High School Courses Offered 2013-14:
All the offerings from the business department should have been taught prior to high school. Keyboarding is a skill that should be started no later than 1st grade. In fact, keyboarding as currently defined by most schools is more a 20th century skill than 21st century skill. Touch interfaces and keyboard variants make qwerty keyboarding less important. The technology department has some good courses, but there is a lack of systems administration, network administration and programming courses. Programming should be introduced at the middle school level and integrated in to other curricular areas in high school. Imagine using R to process statistical data for social studies, biology, physics, chemistry or other courses. Imagine engaging in real world data analysis that educates students while having a real world impact students can see.
A Possible Solution:
A community based group that focuses on providing students with opportunities to learn real-world computer science skills. This fall I started reaching out to people in my local community who run computer related user groups to discuss building such a group. Two efforts could provide a framework for building a local group in Rochester: Codeacademy and CoderDojo. My goal for 2014 is to get such a community group organized and functional by July of 2014. The next steps will be to:
The only item on the list that gives me a reason to pause is the potential requirement for a legal entity to be created. I have no legal experience in this arena so I have no idea what to expect.