Last Saturday while lots of people were working on issues in the tracker as part of PBF, I was giving a talk to computer science teachers in San Antonio, Texas at the CS/IT symposium. It was a great coincidence that PBF was going on at the same time since so many students were making important contributions by fixing bugs and creating documentation and my talk a was all about how encouraging their students to participate in free and open source software projects would help them learn computer science.
It was a great event, and it was great to meet so many passionate teachers. I was stunned to learn that the number of college computer science majors in the United States has been declining. Well, I hope Joomla! can help do something about that, whether through GHOP or just by having a community that is welcoming to students. It was also fun for me to combine my interest in pedagogy with my interest in Joomla! :).
My session had a full house with lots of knowlegable people. The focus of my talk was on how participating in a real project, with hundreds of thousands of users and in which you have to work in a collaborative manner can teach things that are hard to get out of even the best book. It was so hard to chose, but I highlighted two GHOP projects, Marieke van der Tuin's Digg module and Michael Casha's Narellan Rural Fire Brigade website and the report he wrote on it. I said that I thought these were reasonable kinds of projects for high schools students to undertake. I also talked about how Miarieke and Michael have become such important contributors to Joomla!.
So why am I posting this in the bug squad blog? Well, we do have a lot of high school and college students in th JBS and we would love to have more. So, come on and join us.
Here are the slides from my presentation. Thanks to the Computer Science Teacher's Association for inviting me to speak and Leslie Hawthorn from Google for putting them in touch with me.