There is an incredible power with the simple act of doing. People have a tendency to complain about the world, but there are only a few that refuse to simply accept it as it is and reach out to change it.
The Gift, The Anarchy
This video with the Red Pill Analytics guys, Stewart and Kevin, was a great opportunity to talk about something that is very important to folks like Jeremy Harms, (@EmeraldCube) and I. Jeremy is very active in the Atlanta area with his Code Crew events, introducing technology to locations that may not have the resources to offer this type of opportunity to the community. I also wanted to introduce it to my own community a while back and started working with my own resources at RMOUG as a Special Interest Group, (SIG), partnering up with Devoxx4Kids and Raspberypi.org. It’s incredibly rewarding as a teacher/coach/volunteer and really offers kids something they may not be able to get anywhere else.
Herding Cats and Future Technical Geniuses
I finished a great class this last Saturday, partnered up with Tuliva and Devoxx4kids. We had a really great time and productive, too! The kids learned about programming, development jobs and then I had them code two games, first a dice game and then Pass the Pigs, all in Python. Of the 20+ kids, over 85% finished their games and were able to play the games themselves or with one of the other attendees!
They just did a really great job and I was really thrilled with how the class did! Tuliva offered us a great venue to hold the class and their guys did a wonderful job ensuring everyone was up and running, (after we found out the Raspberry Pi’s didn’t like the VGA to HDMI converters for the monitors!)
I have no doubt that giving back and helping to focus the future of technology is what inspired Jeremy Harms of Vine City Code Crew. Schools don’t have the resources and it’s up to us to give back and build up technology for young people in the world.
Forty-one out of fifty states in the US still don’t require technical courses to graduate from high school and of those that do, a large majority of those classes are based on Office Technology vs. logical thinking or high technology, such as basic programming classes. One of the motivators for me was when I went to my children’s new high school and found out their pride in their multiple computer labs, all loaded with Windows 2000, how they would teach Microsoft Office programs and how to format a USB drive. This is not technology and when I asked about programming classes, I was told they did have them in the district, but kids needed to go offsite and attend the vocational school, called Bowman. This is both frustrating and depressing when we think that the only ones going into Tech out of high school are those that can’t make it in traditional high school.
So how can you get involved? There are a number of initiatives local and national you can reach out to.
- Check Meetup to find groups local to your area that work with kids, like Girls who Code, Devoxx4Kids, Black Girls Who Code and others!
- Join your local user groups to see if they already a STEM/STEAM program and if they don’t, see about starting one. I knew nothing when I started mine, just figured out as I went- trust me, genius is about 70% initiative!
- Reach out to local schools and see if they have a computer program or even one after school that they need help with.
- Start blogging and posting videos of projects you’re doing with your Raspberry Pi or other physical computing. Raspberry Pi found me on Twitter and my blog and reached out to me through these forums to become part of Maker Faires to present on youth education for STEAM.
- Ask your employer if they have any volunteer opportunities in the community for tech education. I gained the ongoing coaching spot with Oracle Education Foundation by reaching out to Jake Kuramoto from Oracle App Labs who was aware of need for coaches with my skills.
So, reach out and be the change you want to see in the world. If we don’t do it, who will?