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

Steven Pickles thatpixguy at gmail.com
Thu Oct 31 13:52:26 EST 2013

Sorry to be all AOL, but that's awesome Jackson.


On 31 October 2013 13:07, Jackson Doak <noskcaj at ubuntu.com> wrote:

> 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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