Thoughts after YRS2011

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This year's Young Rewired State was enormous fun. I have a diary-style write-up of my week following seven teens at Osmosoft over at The H. Some post-event thoughts that there wasn't room for in the piece: - I'm a little uncomfortable with the focus in judging the projects being as commercial as it is. "Most likely to be bought" is a good category, and so is "Most likely to annoy a government official", but I would really like also to see one judge be an academic computer scientist and a category for "Most likely to advance computer science" or something like that. Surely we want at least a few of the nation's talented young coders to put their undoubted intelligence and energy behind rigorously inventing the technical basis of the future and not just encourage quick-and-dirty hacks (as fun and useful as those are). - The low number of girls is depressing. Out of dozens of kids, I counted only four at the presentations. I'm told that they sign up but then drop out. I have a couple of suggestions for this. One is to let kids - all kids - sign up in pairs as well as singly. My theory is that girls (and their parents) will be more comfortable if they have a friend with them, and also that they're less likely to drop out if it means letting someone else down. I will note that all of the four were on teams that won prizes and one was a repeat winner, - Along those lines, someone suggested to me that parents might be uncomfortable sending their 15yo daughter off to spend a week in an office with five or six teenaged boys and a bunch of 19+yo male mentors. That's probably less of a worry to parents who've spent a lot of time around geeky kids, but I think a drive to recruit female mentors and ensure that these are widely distributed throughout the centers might help. - The wonderful teacher (who didn't make it into the H piece) who Tweets as @pixelh8 and got a bunch of 10yos to learn programming by using lots of simple metaphors, moving the group outside, and alternating bursts of coding with play breaks, says, "[We need to] tell them they *can*." This blog still - because I can't figure out why it's doing it - eats all non-spam comments. But if you have thoughts on this topic, let me know (blog with a trackback, flag me as @wendyg on Twitter, or email that ID at I can't believe that in 2011 it isn't possible to do better. wg

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This page contains a single entry by Wendy M. Grossman published on August 11, 2011 12:35 PM.

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