Scratch

How computer science teachers can better reach their students

open source learning

Mr. James Allen

Imagine being a high school freshman walking down the halls of your new school on the very first day. You somehow make it to first period without becoming epically lost in the unfamiliar halls. Finally, the bell rings, signaling that you've officially made it through your first high school class. Taking a look at your schedule, you see your next class is Exploring Computer Science. You think: "Wow, computers! This should be fun!"

For me, this idea and feeling of fun didn't end of that first day. It continued throughout the year as a student of Mr. Allen's Exploring Computer Science class.

I first met Mr. James Allen at an Akron Linux User Group meetup this past summer. He had learned that a future student of his (me) was presenting on Scratch and the Raspberry Pi and took the time to see my presentation (about an hour drive!). That's a dedicated teacher. That's Mr. Allen. » Read more

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Open source programs to get more kids to code

open source coding

At OSCON this year, Regina ten Bruggencate and Kim Spiritus gave a talk called How To Get More Kids To Code. I got in late (I was waiting in line to get a free signed copy of The Art of Community by Jono Bacon) so I missed the beginning of this session, but came in as they were demoing Scratch. This is a website where kids can play little games (available in 40 languages) and then click the 'See inside' button to see the code behind the game in a kid friendly way. It’s a great way to get kids to see code and learn not just programming, but the concepts of open source.

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Student programming with Scratch and The Finch

open education in schools

The growing shortage of qualified programmers, computer scientists and software engineers is gathering significant attention in the media and popular press. Recent efforts from the non-profit organization Code.org have helped shine light on the problem—software is the defining industry of the 21st Century and the pool of skilled talent is slim. Conversely, for students who pursue software development the opportunity for employment is colossal: By the year 2020, it is estimated that there will be one million more programming jobs than available students.

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The Dave and Gunnar Show: Episode 10, Go Ugly Early

The Dave and Gunnar Show podcast

The Dave and Gunnar Show is a new podcast series talking about government, open source, and a sprinkling of Red Hat projects. I recently discovered it and thought the opensource.com audience might enjoy it too. What do you think?

Episode 10, Go Ugly Early particulary struck me. Give it a listen: » Read more

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Teaching children how to code

kid universe

Coding is the language of the future, with the power to create and modify the computer programs and websites that increasingly shape our day-to-day lives. While millions of people in the United States spend hours each day engaged with interactive technologies, relatively few truly understand how they work; and fewer take an active role in developing software and websites.

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Growing the next generation of open source hackers

favoring open source

As a parent of three (children aged: 10, 7, and 5), I'm eager to share with my kids the values that attracted me to open source and the hacker ethos: sharing and building great things together, taking control of your environment, and embracing technology as a means of expression, rather than as media to be consumed. In other words: » Read more

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Hershey Kisses, a pumpkin, and MaKey MaKey create an open source Halloween

MaKey MaKey pumpkin

We've been anxiously awaiting our chance to mess with a MaKey MaKey after we wrote this post, and we finally got our hands on one just in time for Halloween. MaKey MaKey's are based off Arduino, and you plug them into your computer with a USB cord. Basically you can alligator clip anything that conducts electricity and to make anything into a key. » Read more

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OpenCourseWare All Grown Up: Hal Abelson at the RIT GCCIS Dean's Lecture Series

Share your data

The Rochester Institute of Technology Gollisano College Dean's Lecture Series established in 2003 was "designed to expose 'real world' experts to our students and to provide professional development opportunities for our alumni and community friends." Last year brought Walter Bender of Sugar Labs to speak with the crowd about another world-class FOSS campaign brought to us by the MIT Media Lab. » Read more

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How to teach the next generation of open source with Scratch

Do you ever wish your kids would do something besides play video games on the computer? What if you could get a head start teaching them to be the next generation of open source developers?

Computers are increasingly easy to use, but programming is far more complex--and less accessible. For many of us who now have small children, programming began with BASIC programs on computers that forced you to make them do something by offering nothing but a command line. » Read more

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Games for life: Girl Scouts, games, and the open source way

Two weeks ago, 16 Girl Scouts and their troops' leaders went to RIT for a Scratch-fueled, day-long workshop in game design and development in pursuit of their "Games for Life" interest project. The workshop was the fifth sponsored by RIT's School of Interactive Games and Media, Rochester Women in Computing, and Digital Rochester. » Read more

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