[Linux-aus] Programs for education, was Re: Special support for women

Jackson Doak noskcaj at ubuntu.com
Thu Oct 31 13:37:30 EST 2013

You have got teens joining FLOSS projects, but possibly not enough,
although that could be since school takes up a fair bit of time. That said,
i've been a contributor to ubuntu for a year now (i'm 14), and i'm pretty
sure i'm not the yougest from australia.

On Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 1:05 PM, Kim Hawtin <kim at hawtin.net.au> wrote:

> I've spent a little time thinking about this thread, the greater issue
> of new folks entering the FLOSS world and especially getting younger
> folks into the field. I'm no wordsmith, so please bear with me.
> On 30/10/13 17:19, Glen Turner wrote:
>  > But I know my merit is the result of considerable investment of
>  > time and energy by many dedicated people (including many people
>  > on this list who have patiently explained things to me).
>  >
>  > Now I am old enough to start paying that education forward
>  > to the next generation.
> Helping get folks a foot in the door feels like the hardest part.
> This is precisely why I've put so much effort into our local user group.
>  From time to time new folks show up, ask heaps of questions, I try to
> direct them to the right forums that should be able to answer their
> questions, then you don't see them again for many months.
> Are we much scarier than we think we are? (Or is it just me?
> Is everyone here thinking, is it just me?)
>  > I would hope that as I do so I give everyone the same opportunity.
>  > But I know that just by being an old, loud, opinionated man that
>  > this won't be true for some young, shy, reserved women --
>  > they're slightly afraid of me, I'm slightly confused by them.
> I know if I stumbled upon LinuxAus/LinuxSA or similar when I was a teen,
> I certainly would not have been able to engage in any meaningful way.
> Meeting and interacting with new people is difficult, still.
> So as much as educating new people who might be interested in FLOSS, our
> community, conferences and user groups, we need to educate ourselves.
> In the broader sense of being able to give them a soft landing. Guide
> them to the communities that can provide them with information for their
> immediate quest. Our part is to start them on their path to discovery of
> the tech and our community.
>  > I've no problems with Linux Australia running special programmes
>  > to help people whom us older folk scare upon first contact.
> Of all the programs that LinuxAus runs, I hope this helps the *whole*
> community educate and support, not just the current of involving more
> women. I hope that it enables a whole new way of thinking about how we
> help new people explore our community and show what it has to offer.
> Women *need* to be a part of that.
> I am unsure of the time lines, but I am aware that there will be a
> MakerFare in Sydney 'soon'.
> I volunteered at the recent MakerFare in Adelaide. I answered questions
> on just about everything on offer on the day. To my eyes there was no
> gender imbalance there, in the parents or kids. Most interestingly there
> were many parents there, looking for ideas that interested their kids.
> It was as much education as entertainment.
> The most frequently asked questions asked of me, about me, by parents;
> "what do you do for a living", "what got you into that" and "what got
> you interested to volunteer for MakerFare". At the time, not something
> I'd really thought about too much.
> Perhaps MakerFare is a venue for education about LinuxAus? Certainly an
> event for folks in LinuxAus to have ones eyes opened about what
> interests kids. Certainly started me thinking about the kinds of things
> I was interested in when I was 'that age' and what set me on the path
> that lead me here.
> So, what am I saying there? Only with ongoing engagement with the
> public, will you get posed the hard questions that we as a community
> haven't thought of. We have to take a look at those questions, the
> feedback and the ongoing relationships with people "outside" the
> community. We need to evaluate and feed it back into how we educate
> ourselves to educate the public about our community. We have to be
> careful that we don't become disabled by those challenges, the need for
> change and not fall into the insular trap of it all being too hard.
> Perhaps we can look to others who have trod this path in recent times?
> I bumped into this TEDx this morning, although I'm sure there is plenty
> of more appropriate material closer to the task at hand;
>    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp9PfqUQ8a4
> For those that don't do flash or youtube;
>   "David Goldberg talks about seven skills that engineers are
>    missing, skills that are essential for them to be effective
>    in the 21st century."
> The key points that young engineers need to learn;
> - Ask questions
> - Labelling patterns
> - Modelling conceptually
> - Decomposing the problems
> - Experimenting in the field
> - Visualising solutions
> - Communicating
> I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to be an engineer. Really the
> 'problem' that we all have overcome, to some degree, is learning how to
> learn. That is the skill we should be able to impart to people joining
> our community.
> Most of the responses I have in conversations with new folk that come
> along to our user group is "I don't know the answer to your specific
> problem, so look in these places, ask on these mail lists and ask on
> these IRC channels..."
> The 'investment' that Glen talks about. Something LinuxAus can do, is
> help provide *paths* to learn. So folks can be educated about paths to
> investment in skills they thing value.
> Its not just about attracting one group or another to the FLOSS
> community. People will take advantage of that help if they see it
> scratches their itch, solves a problem or helps then find the joy in
> discover, or sense of self achievement.
> HTHs.
> regards,
> Kim
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