Getting the kids on board: tales from 10 years of schools outreach in technology

A talk from EMF 2016 by hannah dee

On Saturday August 6, 2016 at in Stage B

Within the UK, school computing has changed beyond recognition in the last 10 years. 2012 saw the Royal Society publish the hugely influential “Shut down or restart?” report, which has been followed by a complete curriculum turnaround… in England. What’s followed has been invigorating and challenging, but it’s not been easy. In England, skills gaps are a problem. In other parts of the UK there seems to be more of a “sit back and wait to see how those English people get on” attitude. For the enthusiastic outreach nerd, this is an interesting time: working in after school clubs, one-day sessions, robot open days, summer camps, and tech activity development can be hugely fun and massively rewarding. It can also be utterly frustrating, demoralising, and can sap the life force from your very soul (if you had one to start with).

This talk will describe what works, what doesn’t work, what you (yes you) can do, and why we should take this seriously. What should you do if you’re trying to run a workshop for 40 kids with varying levels of experience? How can you help a group of homeschooling parents teach programming? How can you write something that’s used more than once?

The currently anonymous proposer has a decade+ of experience as a tech person trying to encourage the world that tech is actually fun. This will be a frank talk about real workshops and real kids, with practical advice and a barely concealed undertone of ranty feminism.