Education

How to teach hacking in school and open up education

open education

Whatever you may have heard about hackers, the truth is they do something really, really well: discover. Hackers are motivated, resourceful, and creative. They get deeply into how things work, to the point that they know how to take control of them and change them into something else. This lets them re-think even big ideas because they can really dig to the bottom of how things function.

Furthermore, they aren't afraid to make the same mistake twice just out of a kind of scientific curiosity, to see if that mistake always has the same results. That's why hackers don't see failure as a mistake or a waste of time because every failure means something and something new to be learned. And these are all traits any society needs in order to make progress. Which is why we need to get it into schools. » Read more

25 Comments

Hacking computer science education at Khan Academy

an online, free student education

The following literary transduction is based on a lecture by John Resig given at the Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction, and Creativity (MAGIC). » Read more

1 Comment

In search of a flexible, open education management system

Open source education management system

Watching gibbons play is like nothing else on earth: they show astounding flexibility, speed, and grace as they swing, run, and jump. These long-armed primates are found in forested areas of Southeast Asia and move by swinging and leaping from tree to tree. Their sense of fun is almost tangible in the air around them. Although lofty, these attributes are what the Gibbon project, an education management system, aspires to bring to schools and colleges. » Read more

10 Comments

Golden opportunity for public libraries to meet digital needs of women

learning open source at the library

Women use the Internet 17% more than their male counterparts yet are underrepresented in programming and open source. Public libraries (and public schools) have a critical role to play with improving the dearth of diversity in coding and open source.

Over the holidays, I completely lost my unlimited home Internet access, which caused me to reflect on life for those without unlimited home Internet access at all. When I finally had my Internet access restored and retrieved the messages about Opensource.com's Youth in Open Source Week (was held January 13- 17) and Women in Open Source Week (this week, January 27 - February 7), I felt like banging my head. » Read more

5 Comments

Open source events grow at the university

open source university

Catherine Dumas is a PhD student in the College of Computing and Information (CCI) at the University at Albany at the State University of New York (SUNY). She teaches two undergraduate courses, one in the Computer Science department and one in the Informatics Department.

Aside from her PhD work and teaching, Catherine is very involved in encouraging men and women to pursue their dreams in the field. She does this by staying active in the student chapter of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) and in the activites going on at the College of Computing and Information Women in Technology (CCIWiT) group. Open source software is also a topic she's passionate about, and for the past three years she has helped organize the annual Open Source Festival at SUNY.

Read more in this interview.

» Read more

1 Comment

A review of the Printrbot 3D printer

3D printer revolution

If you're looking around for 3D printers that are both inexpensive and open source friendly, the Printrbot Simple Kit will probably catch your attention.

This Kit sells for close to $300, and for our team required a full-day of DIY assembly, though skilled makers might be able to put it together in four hours or so. Our team was made up of three PhDs and two R&D engineers, and it took us close to eight hours to complete the assembly, which of course included some philosophical and licensing discussions and a couple of trips to the hardware store. It was indeed a lot of fun! » Read more

5 Comments

Can open middleware revolutionize education?

developing possibilities in education with open source

"It is a miracle that curiosity escapes formal education." These words by Albert Einstein reflect a lot about the current state of education. It also captures the need for overhauling the fabric of our school system. Society needs technology solutions that extract the best out of all the stakeholders in educationstudents, teachers, and parents. And we need enterprises that revolutionize the learning ecosystem. inBloom is one such company that utilizes and integrates massive amounts of data to change the landscape of the education sector.

I talked to Vincent Mayers, open source community manager at inBloom, to learn how the company is changing school systems and how open source technologies aid in its mission.

Read more in this interview. » Read more

11 Comments

Coding adventures and contributing to open source with CodeCombat

open source game CodeCombat

When I founded my first startup in 2008, I was a programming newbie. A degree in economics from Oberlin College hadn’t prepared me for a career writing production-ready code. Despite my best efforts at slapping together crude HTML and CSS Django templates, my ability to contribute to our codebase was limited at best. So I started slowly teaching myself to code with online tutorials and lessons. After many disheartening starts and stops, I realized why I was having problems sticking with it: code lessons and videos felt like school to me, and I had no interest in returning to the classroom.

What we built next was CodeCombat, a game that teaches kids and students to code. Players use spells (JavaScript) to control their forces in a battle against Ogre enemies. And, on January 8 this year, we open sourced the entire project: servers, art, and all. You can literally clone our repo and have a working version of the game on your local machine in minutes. » Read more

3 Comments

Four projects for parents to teach their kids about open hardware and electronics

open hardware and eletronics for kids

Kids are quick learners and have great imaginations. When pursuing an electronic or hardware project with a kid, the most important thing to keep in mind is: keep things playful. As long as their hands are in gunk and they are taking things apart, or there's the possibility of blowing something up, kids will stay interested. As soon as the activity starts to seem like work, they switch off.

Here are four fun and easy projects for teaching kids more about electronics and hardware in a couple hours or an afternoon. Then, they may be on to the Arduino board or Raspberry Pi before you know it! Note: For kids between 4 - 8 years old, more adult supervision may be required.

First, I'll share with you three excellent businesses where you can purchase open hardware tools, kits, and electronics for these projects and more. » Read more

4 Comments

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

2 Comments