Fwd: [Steve Hargadon] Google Announces Open Source Contest for High School Students

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Steve Hargadon

Nov 29, 2007, 12:44:14 AM11/29/07
to k12ope...@googlegroups.com
We've got to get Google involved in next year's K12 Open Minds conference!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Steve Hargadon <st...@hargadon.com>
Date: Nov 28, 2007 9:28 PM
Subject: [Steve Hargadon] Google Announces Open Source Contest for
High School Students
To: st...@hargadon.com

You're going to have to excuse me for gushing, but Google continues
to win my loyalty because of their just plain willingness to work on
good things. There hasn't been this much commitment to a "way" of
being since two other guys built a company out of a Bay Area garage.

Yesterday Google announce their "Highly Open Participation Contest," a
follow-on to their amazing "Summer of Code" program for college
students--but this time for high school or "pre-university" students.
From their announcement on the Google Code blog they described their
"new effort to get pre-university students involved in all aspects of
open source development, from fixing bugs to writing documentation and
doing user experience research:"
While we're very excited about many aspects of the contest, the best
part is that everyone can participate. Contestants must meet the
eligibility requirements, but anyone interested in helping out can
simply suggest a task to be included in the contest. Our contestants
have a chance to win t-shirts, cash prizes, and a visit the Googleplex
for a day of technical talks, delicious food and a photo with our very
own Stan T. Rex.

Want to learn more? Check out the contest FAQs and tell your favorite
pre-college students to pick a task or two to complete. You can always
visit our discussion group to get help or share your thoughts.I've
been talking about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in K12 schools
for a few years now, and it has been disappointing to me that so few
of the individuals or companies committed to FOSS or benefiting from
it seemed to be interested in helping promote its use for educational
purposes in K-12 schools. I'll frequently ask my audiences of
educational technologists why Apache, MySQL, PHP, and/or Python--all
current building blocks of the Web, and which can be obtained for free
and run on older computers--aren't being taught in schools. You'd be
amazed at the answers, from the understandable "they don't have a
marketing or support budget" to the fascinating "if we knew how to use
them we'd be working for a Silicon Valley company" (not sure that's
very representative, but it has been said). Given the choice to either
teach "Free" programs that don't require high-end hardware (and that
are likely to lead to actual employment if wanted), or to teach
expensive, proprietary programs that require faster computers (and
that don't often build employable skills), I'm always surprised at how
little FOSS is taught in schools.

It's also interesting to note that many of the Free and Open Source
programmers I've talked with in my EdTechLive audio interview series
got started programming in their early teens. I don't think that's
unusual, and I think we often forget how significantly engaged a young
person can be. So, some major kudos to Google for starting this
program. Now, the next step will be to see if we can get the students
to come and present at next year's K12 Open Minds conference!

Posted By Steve Hargadon to Steve Hargadon at 11/28/2007 08:44:00 PM

Steve Hargadon

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