Teaching Kids to Fail


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Doug Johnson at 16:27 on 17 Apr 2015

good talk about this program but I would have liked some way that we could do something in our community. most of the questions reflected that.

This was a talk about a non-profit school program. It was the worst session that I attended of the two days that I have been here (I have either enjoyed or loved the rest as they all were technical and largely practical). More surprisingly, though, there were quite a number of things that were implied throughout the session that I, at the very least, don't agree with: specifically ideologies and viewpoints on issues that are quite, or perhaps entirely, political.

There was probably up to 10 minutes of information (but more like 5) that actually reflected the session description. The rest was about the non-profit school program.

There was no actionable content that was applicable to me as a developer.

Not much content about the actual topic

The talk had more information on the non-profit program than the actual abstract. While I think that the program's goal is good and respectable, it was confusing on what we were supposed to get out of the talk. Figure out the specific goal(s) for the talk.

Using detailed scenarios that you and your teachers in the program have been through with the students may be a good way to tell the story of growth.

I think that this has the potential to be a really great talk - but it wasn't very well targeted for the audience

As mainly developers interested in fixing technical problems this is not the best group to do much about political and money issues.

We DID get a lot out of things like the graphs and percentages related to the way schools teach (woodshop instead of computers!!) - but there wasn't anything actionable other than to make the group feel bad about things we couldn't help :(

I agree with some other comments that detailed personal stories of what and how you teach the kids and how we as developers can either do to start our own, help out with the current one, or apply this to our own life and how we approach things.

Good program and interesting talk, although it would be nice to see information that we could take home to our communities. More focus on the challenges and solutions, instead of the success you are seeing would also help.

Anonymous at 12:50 on 18 Apr 2015

Anonymous at 13:25 on 18 Apr 2015

The topic was very interesting, but the presenter was definitely showing a lot of political bias. Presenter needs to realize that New York and Texas are very different environments, and not everyone here is going to relate to that, and it was a huge turn off to keep hearing a leftist talking point about "being shot for wearing a hoodie". I suspect the same would happen if you went to New York and talked about concealed carry or religious liberty as if everyone there was on the same page as the typical conservative from Texas.
This is a tech conference, with people from all over the world. It's fine, even great, that we can all have different life experiences, and still get a lot out of the technical stuff.

Would have enjoyed hearing more about how WE could actually do something to make a difference in our own communities as well.

Anonymous at 08:57 on 20 Apr 2015

Great speaking ability but felt like I was being frowned upon for being from a "privileged neighborhood" (even though I live in a small, fairly poor suburb of Dallas). Sounds like NY needs to reassess their priorities in regards to what they teach. Not sure why this was a keynote talk as it didn't really relate to PHP, or Texas.

Perhaps change the title of the talk to "Teaching Kids to Fail with ScritEd - a non-profit organization"

I think with a bit of work this talk could be better. From the aspect of describing what ScriptEd is and why it's important, I think it's spot on. It holds up well to this and would be a great marketing presentation for getting buy-in from a school or sponsor.

Where it falls down is on actionable items for how we can do this in our own community. While the curriculum is open source there wasn't anything on the talk about that, it actually came up from the questions being asked. I also agree with the comments on some others, as the motivations expressed work well for NYC but maybe no so much Texas.

I agree with many of the other comments that describe the lack of actionable items. Developers, teachers, mentors, conference organizers are all doers. If we see a problem, we want to know more about how we can help, make the situation better, contribute in our own neighborhoods. The addition of such to the talk would greatly improve the relevance of the talk to this type of audience. However, the presentation was deliver well and the topic of mentoring and teaching kids through failure was very interesting.

I do agree with many of the comments about the lack and misplacement of this talk. But there is a softer side that I think people were not expecting, this to me was more about inspiring others to follow suit. Not about talking ScriptED directly, but in providing a basis, a starting forum for other groups to form in other cities. I think this should have come across more clearly that the goal was to inspire. Still though more content in how others could do the same would have been more helpful. In my own city we have a similar program for low rating schools as well as one targeted specifically to girls. This talk for me was more of a "call to arms... keyboards" that we can all make a difference. That message just should have been more defined.

I attended a session at MinneBar in Minnesota the previous week entitled "Kids, Code, and Diversity" that was very similar to this presentation. That talk had an advantage over this particular talk: it was delivered by Minnesotans to Minnesotans, by a panel, about a number of programs in Minnesota that are out there trying to tackle the same issues that ScriptEd is working on in New York.

I think the goals and achievements of the ScriptEd program are admirable and worth highlighting in any community, and I would agree with others that providing actionable ways developers can get involved would improve the overall quality of the talk. Development conference attendees are generally looking to get better at their craft, to network with the community, and to figure out how they can get involved, so a talk that doesn't offer those opportunities might fall short. Toward that end, figuring out a way to tailor your talk so that it is applicable to the audience will be helpful both for the goals of your organization and your audience.

I come from a K-12 education background. For 15 years before leaving that industry, I toiled in the IT trenches of an under-funded school district while trying to provide our students with the best technology that we could both provide and afford. The problems that Maurya described and provided a solution to are more universal than what is found in the boroughs of New York. Great job on describing the issues lower-income students face. Yes, failure is not as simple a fix as a respawn and try again!

I look forward to seeing a local branch of ScriptEd in my school district! Keep up the great work, Maurya!

To those who wonder what they can do locally to help kids who want to learn programming and kids who need to learn how to successfully fail, I recommend taking a look at CoderDojo (https://coderdojo.com/) and volunteering at a local CoderDojo or starting your own. Perhaps after working within CoderDojo, we can figure out how to bring the joys of programming to our underprivileged students in our local schools, too.