Something for your kids who code

One of the streams at the ULearn conference this week focused on robotics, and promoting students to become engaged with programming and technical design. Another workshop is being run by a friend of mine, Jim Tittsler, looking at the use of Scratch with kids. Each of these, and I’m sure there are others happening as well, are encouraging to see happening, as one of the big opportunities that exists for many of our students in schools today is to become involved in the ICT industry at this level. We all like to use the new and fun applications that come along, but someone has to be designing and building this stuff.

So it was with interest that I read this morning about the Google Code-In 2010, a contest to introduce pre-university students to the many kinds of contributions that make open source software development possible. It starts on November 22, 2010, and students worldwide are invited to produce a variety of open source code, documentation, training materials and user experience research for the organizations participating this year. These tasks include:

  1. Code: Tasks related to writing or refactoring code
  2. Documentation: Tasks related to creating/editing documents
  3. Outreach: Tasks related to community management and outreach/marketing
  4. Quality Assurance: Tasks related to testing and ensuring code is of high quality
  5. Research: Tasks related to studying a problem and recommending solutions
  6. Training: Tasks related to helping others learn more
  7. Translation: Tasks related to localization
  8. User Interface: Tasks related to user experience research or user interface design and interaction

More details will be released soon, and you can keep in touch by going to the Google Open Source Blog and subscribing to the contest announcement list for updates. With term 4 starting next week this could provide some added stimulus for those looking for that extra “something” to introduce to their students, particularly those who may have been working on this sort of thing through the year – here’s a chance to take it to another level.

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